The Major League Baseball draft is a wonderful thing for thousands of dreams. Having your name called by a team to have the chance to play professional baseball must be a dream come true. But with 50 rounds plus compensation picks often have huge number of players chosen, as was true in the 2011 draft that saw 1530 young men selected to play professional baseball. But for many people the dream is over just as it begins.
When looking at prospects the fan shouldn’t want to rush them through the farm system because of a supposed need on the big league club or the words of a scout. If you see a 21 year old guy tear up a low level in the minor league ranking does not mean he should go straight to the majors. Prospects are just that, there is nothing that says a prospect will turn into an All-Star. For no matter the amount of talent a player has it may not translate to increased competition in the minors or something may change in the player either physically or mentally that may stop the progression to the majors.
Texas Rangers fans should be apt to remember that just because someone has a lot of talent doesn’t mean that they are ready when the fan base is. Young players like Martin Perez, Mike Olt and Jurickson Profar should not be pushed into the majors. If a player excels AA ball it doesn’t mean that they are ready to start in the majors. The player should be allowed to move along at the pace that would give them the best chance to make the majors.
With even the most talented players there is always the chance that they won’t make it to become a regular in the majors. Recent examples of this are Kasey Kiker, Michael Main and Drew Meyer. All three were first round draft picks that have yet to live up to the potential that let them be picked so high. Perhaps it is the system of scouting that can allow such dramatic failure to occur or perhaps it is just the amount of pressure that is put on these guys to perform.
Rangers fans need to look no farther than fan favorite Josh Hamilton to see what can occur to even the best of players. In his autobiography he stated that his downward spiral in the minor leagues began with an off the field injury. While Hamilton was able to pull his career out of the abyss that his drug and alcohol use others are not so lucky.
The minor leagues can be brutal, the daily grind and the life of traveling on bases can wear people down. Not to mention being face to face with athletes that are of the same caliber that you are. It is easy for fans to sit back and demand that prospect X be moved up, but it is the time in the minors that prepares players for the harsh reality of the major leagues.
Fans should be content that while their number one prospect may not be ready for the majors today if he is given the ability to grow his confidence and ability when he is ready to move up they will be able to live up to the fans expectations. If you really want to see how good or bad your favorite prospect is doing I suggest going out and seeing a minor league game.