Sunday, March 4, 2012

Prospect makeup

Sorry, this isn't a hard hitting expose on the beauty routines of our minor league players. Instead, I wanted to talk a little bit about an often overlooked aspect in the development of prospects. While pitchers' fastballs are measured to the tenth of a mile per hour and runners' times to first down to the hundredth of a second, it's hard to measure what may be the most important quick twitch reaction: the one that triggers between the ears.

Prospect lore is riddled with tales of can't miss studs who can't handle the pressure. I'm not going to call out by name the guys I'm questioning in this post, but there are a couple of our top prospects that I really wonder if they have their head on straight. I can't help but question the maturity of a kid whose public twitter posts are mostly cryptic, passive-aggressive, whining about his girlfriend.

Then we read stories like this one over at The Grand Old Game. In this short post about DDJ, we're confronted by this question: "how much heart does he have for the game?"

I know they're just kids, but they're kids the Astros have invested a lot of money in. These are the prospects we're hoping will lead the resurgence of Houston baseball. They could have enormous arm strength or bat strength, but do they have the mental strength necessary to be the player we all project them to be?


Denny Ingles said...

It does worry me.

Anonymous said...

I feel for these kids. Ten years ago, a 19 year old in A ball could get his heart broken and nobody would ever hear about it. Now, the minute a prospect gets some hype, he's expected to have a twitter account and all the other things famous people have. There's no precedent on how to regulate it, so the organization is probably oblivious. There's also no way for the prospect to realize what he's doing. He thinks that's what twitter is for; sharing your thoughts. I think eventually we will learn that we need to cut celebrities some slack, and f course people will realize earlier on that you need to filter what you put on public forums. Hopefully Folty will be no worse for the wear and it won't affect his development as a player, but I feel sorry that he's unwittingly embarrassing himself.

Terence said...

Forget the prospect question for a minute. There's a certain Astro playing at the MLB level, and his twitter account makes me wonder how Jeff Luhnow possibly employs this guy. In the past we had to believe reporters when they talked about high character guys and good locker room types. Twitter is in many ways opening the doors of the locker room for us to see for ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I've seen the same things from some Astros prospects in Lancaster the past few years, guys who moped around the field as though they had been forced to play (don't want to name any names, like Jay Austin or Jonathan Villar).....Think it would be a good idea for the Astros organization, from the GM down through minor league coordinators and managers/coaches, to remind the kids that some one is watching EVERY DAY.....and the day they go Joe Cool and dog it, there may be a scout in the stands that says to himself, "no one my team will ever take a slug like that"....It's tough to wash off that stink once the word starts to get around.