Friday, June 08, 2007

Young Players Scare Me

I watched the Rule 4 draft yesterday on ESPN 2 and it made me realize two things. First, the baseball draft isn’t quite as exciting as the NFL or NBA drafts. For the most part, nobody has heard of most of the people being drafted. Of course, there is a small group of people who follow HS and college baseball players, but overall, the players being drafted are a mystery.

The second thing I realized is a little difficult to talk about. Quite honestly, it’s a little embarrassing. Even so, the truth is that young players scare me. I never really realized it before, but I don’t like the idea of playing young, unproven players.

For instance, Felix Pie’s potential excites me, but I’m more comfortable slowly working him into the line-up than I am handing him the starting CF job. Let him pinch hit, pinch run, or go into the game as a late inning defensive replacement. Ease him into the line-up. After he proves himself in limited duty, then consider giving him the starting job.

I’m not saying that the way I feel is right. In fact, as I said, I’m a little embarrassed to feel this way. Until yesterday, I didn’t think I felt this way. But when I think about how I would like to see the Cubs build their team, I want a proven veteran at every position.

If every team followed my ideas, players like Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder, and Tim Linecum would be the budding superstars that they are. They would be either riding the pines or making a name for themselves in AAA. Obviously, not a good idea.

My head knows that teams need to play their prospects to and give them a chance to shine. My head also knows that from a business standpoint, every team needs good, inexpensive players to keep their payroll in check. But my heart is afraid of young players. What if they don’t pan out? I know, I know. I’m trying…

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