Depodesta And the A's
As I noted before, Paul Depodesta has started up a blog called "It Might be Dangerous... You Go First" and yesterday he wrote about his thoughts and experiences regarding the decision of bringing up a prospect. Here is what a baseball industry expert and insider (and former GM) wrote about how even the most confident prospect need to get his confidence stroked:
There are examples at nearly every level. During spring training of 2003, Nick
Swisher was having a monster camp. After being drafted in 2002 he had finished
the season in High-A ball, and the plan all winter was to start him back there.
Due to his great spring, some people starting pushing for Nick to go to AA even
though he didn't even have a year's worth of minor league at-bats yet (I'm sure
I was one of them). I specifically remember Keith Lieppman, the Farm Director of
the A's, saying, "If he goes to AA and struggles to the point where we have to
send him back to A ball, I won't even know where to begin to pick up the
pieces." Nick Swisher was not a guy who lacked for confidence, by the way. So,
Nick started back in A ball, killed it, moved to AA, and so on.
I'll never forget Keith making that stand, especially considering his experience in player development is second to none. We all want to get our players to the big leagues as quickly as possible, but we also need to be as prudent as possible (and Keith needed to remind us in that situation), because when the players get there we
want to succeed. Not survive. Succeed.
This is basically what I've been writing about sending prospects to Dodd. The Giants apparently agree with me now, as their best prospects has been leapfrogging AA to AAA this season, in order to avoid that park. Now I've found this example.
End the horrors for our hitting prospects NOW!