Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Youth League

I can't say for sure if its better for pitchers to cut their teeth on big league pitching at a young age or to season them as much as possible in the minor leagues. Jeremy Bonderman suffered two years of growing pains at a very young age before finally getting it together the final 2 months of last season and has not looked back. Jimmy Gobble was brought to the Royals in the middle of a fading pennant race as a highly touted prospect and has steadily declined to the point of irrelevance at the ripe age of 23. Pick your poison.

The Royals are proceeding with the "youth shall burn" strategy, and in fact our young pitchers have provided the most promising moments in this most dreadful of seasons. Today was one of those days, though, when you remember why you questioned the strategy of bringing up all of your young pitchers to learn their trade in the major league crucible:

Bautista: 2.1 IP, 5ER, 5H, 5BB, 0K. Left game with "right shoulder stiffness".
Sisco: 1IP, 0R, 0H, 3BB, 2K
Burgos: 0.1IP, 5H, 5R (4ER), 0K, 1HR

The current staff is comprised of ALL of our best organizational pitching prospects, and most of them have no business being here:

-- Bautista wasn't ready when the season started.
-- Sisco is only on the roster as a Rule V, and never spent a day above high A before this season. -- Burgos and Nunez have collectively spent 4 weeks in AA.
-- Greinke is only 21. Well, there are exceptions...

Its shameful. Its ridiculous. Sure, its exciting to see young players show flashes of brilliance, but more often than not they're going to wilt from intense in-game pressure pitching against the best baseball players in the world. Take Andy Sisco. The Royals have to keep him on the roster, of course, and they'd be crazy to give him up. He's a great talent with a wonderful upside. And when the Royals were using him in mop-up, he excelled. But because the Royals have no other reliable arms in the bullpen they've been relying on him FAR too much, and not surprisingly he hasn't performed nearly as well in his last few outings: he has 8 walks in his last 4.2 innings. The Royals are so damn desperate for decent arms that they put all of the pressure on pitchers who shouldn't have any pressure on them at this stage in their careers. Abomination!

The Royals need some veteran pitchers to ease the constant pressure. Where they come from, I don't know. I and Allard Baird are open to suggestions.


At 8:31 PM, Blogger slowcurve said...

I understand the comments about Sisco and Rule 5. I believe we will have to figure out what to do with our fireballing high-A prospect Edison Volquez very shortly.

I think the Royals are much more capable of playing better than they have. They've lost a TON of close games this year!

How much does Matt Stairs make per season? The thoughts of him replacing Hidalgo are intriguing, but Buck/John Hart never throw in the towel and admit they made a lousy move.


The Texas Rangers Guy

At 10:09 PM, Blogger Joe Bazinet said...

I agree with your main point. I was shocked to see Nunez get called up with guys like Carrasco, Field, and Camp sitting in AAA.

I would be inclined to include Howell among KC's best pitching prospects though.

At 3:07 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

Stairsie signed for a cool million bucks this year, meaning he'd be owed about $500,000 in July.

At 11:53 AM, Blogger Craig Brown said...

I see your point about the dangers of burning out our young arms...

But I don't see any "pressure." What's the difference between a 90 loss, 100 loss or even a 110 loss season? As long as management let's these young players know a clunker outing here or there isn't going to effect their standing in the organization, I can't be opposed to letting them pitch.

Now if we thought we were going to contend and started turning the ball over to Sisco, Burgos, etc., then I'd have a problem.

Although the Nunez callup is a head scratcher...


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