Sunday, April 9, 2017

The problem with potential

Right now, we're suffering from unexpected injuries to young guys. These things happen.
But we currently have at least three guys on the roster who are there for their potential:  Severino, Pineda and Hicks.I think that's a waste of space, or at least a waste in the roles they currently have.

I'm watching the game today, and the Orioles' starter Miley is a great case in point. Michael Kay remarked that his career record is 58-59, but jeepers creepers, that's really weird because he has great stuff. The guy has a 4.18 ERA after well over 100 games as a starter, currently at 30 years old, in the middle of what charitably could be called the prime of almost any player. Boy, what stuff he has. And he's 58-59 with an ERA of 4.18, and the Orioles are still "working" with him.

I don't get it. Pineda is another, very obvious, case. 28 years old, 32-38, 4.03. You can say that 28 isn't very old, but if a pitcher hasn't figured a lot out by 28, he's not going to figure it out. I've said repeatedly that he's a head case who will always be what he is, but we stick with him...well, after all, he's got great stuff.

Severino is still a kid at 23, so maybe I'm being harsh and unfair. He might become a killer starter in the next couple of years. He might not. There's no evidence to support the idea that he will be to date, but you never know. What we do know is that he performed way beyond his starter results as a reliever. There's evidence he could be a truly above average or better reliever in some role. But they'll trot him out as a starter for a few more years, regardless if he never rises above what he is now. He's got great stuff, I guess.

As for Hicks, what can you say? 27 now, and never hit over .256 for a season in the bigs. Not a lot of power on display:  he had 11 HRs that year in 97 games. But they say he's a good fielder, has a good arm, is fast enough on his feet. The problem is, he can't hit, certainly not the way we need him to. Somehow, though, Cashman thinks he's going to "put it all together" at some point as a late bloomer. After all, he has "all the tools." He just has to "figure it out."

Many of us long-time fans sometimes console ourselves with the idea that the experts on the Yankees see what we cannot and know something we couldn't possibly divine. We do it in the face of all of the many, many times we knew the team was making a mistake in a trade or a signing or an assessment where we turned out to be 100% correct. Because we like to hope. That's kind of what being a fan is all about.

It's a great philosophy for a fan, but it's a terrible way to run a ballclub. We knew Pineda was mediocrity on a stick after one season. We can intuit that Severino will likely never be a quality starter, unless mediocre equals quality in your mind. But he could well be a damn fine reliever. And Hicks is what he is:  a .250 hitter if you're lucky, not a lot of power, decent fielder for sure, but not what we need unless he's a bench player. And even then, you might want a .250 player who hits for more power or has a .375 OBP, maybe.

Warren is a pet peeve of mine. He should be starting. He should have always been starting. When he was shuffled to the pen, he was the best starter we had that year at that point. Would he be a great starter? Probably not, but he'd be better than most of what we keep trotting out there. Right now, he shows up irregularly, is kind of mediocre at it, and will never be a starter again in this organization, if anywhere. The obvious move would be to move Sevvy into the pen and put Adam into the rotation, but that won't happen until it's too late to happen, at least for Warren.

Potential is a funny thing. It can turn a decent, useful player into a failure in your mind. It can justify using valuable roster slots that should go to younger players for their year or two to prove that they can perform. It could, theoretically, wreck a guy like Warren in the same way, his opening taken by somebody who will never be better or even as good as he would've been.

When you're talking about young guys, all you can talk about is potential. But when players have had three or four or more seasons, especially, to show what they can do, I think you cut bait if they don't, or put them in a role that their proven abilities show that they're suitable. And you move on to the next maybe.

That means you don't take on guys who you think you can "turn around." You don't keep trotting out guys in roles they aren't showing they're suited for. You stop hanging onto players who aren't giving you what you're looking for, and you send them to an organization that might have better luck or be the next sucker.

There are such things as late bloomers and magical turnarounds. But who has the time? And how many losses do you rack up while you wait for what's likely not to happen?


Anonymous said...


Leinstery said...

The King of Potential.

Local Bargain Jerk said...

We're going to Opening Day at the Stadium tomorrow.

I was excited about it.

I forgot that Pineda was starting.

I'll have to drown my discontent in $12.50-per-cup beers

Joe F said...

Dude that meme was awesome can someone post it as a headline for tommorow's game :)... And I think its time to MOON the FRONT OFFICE.

el duque said...

Somewhere, Maynard G. Krebs just said, "You rang?"

Wezil1 said...

I just saw the 60 Boring Minutes piece on this kid Ohtani. All I could think was: Does any true Yankee fan doubt he will wear a Red Sox uniform in a few years?
He wants to hit AND pitch? Forget it! It isn't in the binder- and we can' t possibly pay him closer money! He's no closer!
Remember what they did to the guy we had who could pitch from either side? They went all the way to Manfred Man to nix the fun that would have been! Then we traded him.

Anonymous said...

After watching the first five sorry-ass excuses for games, I couldn't take it today; I ignored it completely - - just couldn't take the thought of another beat-down from Bucky's Boys - - so, of course, there WOULD naturally be an exciting come-from-behind, late-inning win. Viva Judge! Yo, Dellin! ....but I didn't see it (I don't GET replays from YES, only the original games - - out of market...
Maybe that's the solution: if I ignore all the games, perhaps they will snap out of the funk, and become a 2017 WS TEAM of Destiny (TM)!!!! Naaah - - don't think so.
Perhaps, though, the outcome would have been different if Joey Blue-Binders had put in Judge to pinch-hit, instead of pinch-running (he might be our most agile guard, but if he really played in the NFL, he'd almost have to be a pass-catcher or defender - - or put on even more pounds). Glad they are off the bottom for now, at least, and the blow-j - - errrr, pardon me - - the Blue Jays hold that title. LB (No J)

Alphonso said...

Dear Anonymous,

What you did yesterday was engage the powers of " negative JU-Ju." Of course they will win if you don't watch. I can't tell you how many world series Yankee victories I have missed by doing the same.

But it was well worth it.

The problem is, you do have to be selective. Sometimes, one only needs turn away for a crucial inning, or a crucial at bat.

It takes training, discipline and focus. Like any skill set, negative Ju-Ju requires study and time to get it right.

But " you jumped into the deep end." good for you. Keep it up, and remember:

I am the King.