Link Dump: Hyped prospects, Strasburg, Harper, revisiting Girardi’s hiring

As Mo sits, Toronto walks off in the 14th
Game 57: Avoiding the sweep

Some Sunday morning links for your reading, including a few draft related with the draft upcoming tomorrow.

Here is a good draft piece at ESPN by Jerry Crasnick examining some of the biggest hyped prospects ever.  Even back in 1989 and 1990, when the baseball draft was a blip on the radar, I remember the hype surrounding Ben McDonald and Todd Van Poppel.  If they were coming out today, I’m sure it would be pretty Strasburg-esque.  Also some interesting “what ifs” in there as both Mark Prior and Bo Jackson were drafted by the Yankees but did not sign.  With the careers they ended up having, it’s fun to wonder how much differently things could have turned out.

The Stephen Strasburg hype is hitting new levels as his first start is upon us this week.  A town in Virginia is looking to change its name to Stephen Strasburg.  It’s going to be tough to live up to the hype, yet I have a feeling that he will come as close as possible to meet expectations.

This article on Bryce Harper, while a few weeks old, is a very good read.  I still cannot believe the way his character is being attacked.  He’s 17 years old.  He can’t even legally buy a scratch ticket yet.  Everyone who is saying bad things about him, including calling him “just a bad, bad guy” needs to take a long look in the mirror and remember what they were doing as 17 year olds.  Even though he doesn’t have the underdog status that so many people love, I’m really going to root for this kid.

In the way back machine, it’s interesting to read Keith Law’s piece when the Yankees hired Joe Girardi and how he thought they made a good call.  Of note is the fact that while Joe Torre hadn’t developed much starting pitching in his time with the Yankees, Girardi in his one year with the Marlins got solid seasons out of Anibal Sanchez and Scott Olsen, as well as Josh Johnson.  Johnson clearly has moved into ace status, but Sanchez and Olsen haven’t done much since.  Is that because Girardi was good developing them, or that he overworked them and they’ve battled injuries since?  It’s an interesting question to ask when thinking about the future of Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain under Girardi’s watch.  That being said, if overwork was an issue with the Marlins pitchers, I think that Girardi has likely learned from that, and the Yankees have a much better infrastructure in place to handle these young guys.

As Mo sits, Toronto walks off in the 14th
Game 57: Avoiding the sweep
  • Carlosologist

    Wow, if Prior had signed with the Yanks, I’m pretty sure he would be in the rotation and not be broken. He would be the first example of the Joba Rules.

    • ledavidisrael

      Im not sure about that. I think the Joba Rules came as a reaction to the over worked arms of Prior and Wood.

      But you could wonder if he would have been good enough to pitch a full season in the AL east. Which would decrease his MLB IP and possibly help him avoid injury. But its a stretch.

      • Rick in Boston

        It’s always been my impression that the Joba Rules were in place because Torre was killing bullpen pitchers by running them out there so often (Proctor, Quantrill, Gordon). But it’s also logical that the workloads of Prior/Wood came into consideration in combination with Torre’s bullpen issues.

      • Andy In Sunny Daytona

        The “Joba Rules” came as a reaction to Joe Torre wearing out any reliever in his circle of trust and the overworked arms of Prior and Wood.

    • A.D.

      Probably would have been traded

  • Angelo

    That article on Bryce Harper was very good. Some of those scouts are probably just trying to make his stock fall a bit by saying he’s a bad guy, so they can get a shot at drafting him.

    • Pete

      i’m generally not a big fan of conspiracy theories, but there is a ridiculously high chance of that being completely accurate. There is no way you get (and keep) a job as a major league scout if you think a 17 year old kid who has in all likelihood done nothing more than rub you the wrong way (no, not that wrong way) – after all, how much time can you have actually spent with him – with his talent shouldn’t be drafted #1 overall based on character issues.

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Yeah I’ll third this opinion, I’ve been thinking this is the case for a little while. I don’t think all these people are completely lying or are in some conspiracy – I do think there’s some kernel of truth here and these scouts probably do think the kid’s a dick – but we also have to keep in mind that the people who are dinging him are also people who would benefit from him dropping in the draft and would benefit from making their draft picks look better in comparison (not that they now look better than Harper, but better than they did in comparison to Harper before everyone was convinced he was clubhouse poison).

        • Pete

          well yeah, I agree that they probably do think he’s a dick – but a lot of people think a-rod’s a dick, too, yet in terms of pure scouting, nobody would question his makeup. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bryce’s career, in terms of public perception, mirrors a-rod’s because that’s what talent and hype and expectations and money will do, but in terms of having the makeup to succeed at the major league level – that is to say, the makeup to put in the work to keep himself at his best and in shape and to make adjustments, etc. etc., he isn’t lacking in anything. I’ve been following the kid since he was a freshman in HS, and this is the first time I’ve heard his make-up questioned.

          Might he be cocky? Sure, but most people in that situation would be. Might it be easy to perceive him as an asshole based on tiny glimpses of his character along with a predisposition towards thinking that a super-talented, super-hyped kid should be an asshole? Probably. Does he have the kind of character issues that may interfere with him becoming a great baseball player? No. He’s not lazy, he’s not disinterested, and he’s used to being on the road.

          If he fails, it’ll be because of bad luck or injuries, or just the plain and simple fact that baseball players do bust from time to time. The media commonly associates failings on the field with character issues because we as fans can become so enraged at players for failing (despite it being a game of inherent failure), that the only way we can justify our anger is by calling out the players who have frustrated us for issues of character which likely had nothing to do with the failure.

          But the likelihood of a real major league scout genuinely buying into that kind of narrative is, I would hope, next to nil. You can’t spend that much time around that game and continue to believe that being a good person and being a good baseball player are related.

          • Angelo

            Very well said sir.

          • MikeD

            The “talking down” of Harper reminds me of last year, when out of nowhere, sources, most unnamed, were questioning Strasburg right before the draft. Seems to go with the territory when a player who is labled “can’t miss” is about to sign a huge, huge contract. I think much of it comes from other teams hoping to create some doubt so that Harper might drop a notch or two so they can sign him, or from all teams in general hoping to decrease his signing bonus. Every new record contract drives the prices up for the other teams.

  • bonestock94

    Great read on harper. Imagine that, a 17 year old with the world at his feet acting like a dick sometimes. Look at Lebron, he still acts like a spoiled kid on the court.

  • poster

    You know, I heard the hype on Harper…but actually seeing the numbers, HOLY SHIT, this kid is fucking ubelievable. I mean, DAMN.

  • Tom Zig

    A Straburg-Harper battery…imagine that.

    • Kevin Bacon

      Boras has actually been hyping him up as a corner outfielder lately, which I think he will ultimately become because I wouldn’t want to tire him from being behind the plate either.

      • Nostra-Artist

        True, but he’s so much more valuable behind the dish. You can find slugging RFs almost every off season. But Catchers who can rake? Almost never.

        • Tom Zig

          Catchers who can rake and are reportedly good defensively? Even rarer.

  • Nostra-Artist

    BTW-3 year old articles are still behind the Insider wall? ESPN might want to take a look at that.

  • Jersey

    That cracks me up about Strasburg, VA. I don’t live too far from there (well, 1+ hours).

  • matt damon wayans

    Is there anyone in the history of baseball that was too bad of a person to play it adequately? Not including injuries, has anyone ever been such a jerk that everyone has just been like, “Talent be damned, I don’t want this kid on my team.”

    • Rick in Boston

      Elijah Dukes.

      • Angelo

        I was thinking him. I don’t think he’s signed with a team this season.

  • B-Rando

    I am definitely a Harper fan. “Character issues” are completely moot when referring to a 17 yr old kid. Thought the fact that he wears his eye black like Sting from WCW is a little funny.

  • MikeD

    There is certainly no evidence that Girardi overworks young pitchers with the Yankees. I can’t comment on what he did with the Marlins, but considering how he prepares for games, keeps and studies statistics, I can’t see him being prone to overworking the young arms. It’s also possible he learned from his experience in Florida. We saw he clearly made progress from his first year managing the Yankees to his second. He’s still a young manager, which means I hope he’s also still learning.