The level of interest for top prospects across Major League Baseball is sky high these days. Between social media, the outstanding work of prospect writers at various outlets, keeper fantasy baseball leagues, and the immediate stardom of recent guys like Mike Trout, Yasiel Puig, and Bryce Harper, the pressure on these prospects when they arrive in the big leagues is immense.
The impatience that accompanies this pressure, however, is borderline absurd. Just because a couple guys had an impact right away we apparently expect every elite prospect to provide big production right away. The transition process is accelerated, the development is apparently done with.
Consider Oscar Tavaras, sent back to Triple-A this week. General manager John Mazeliak arguably took a shot at Tavares when he said the following:
“He could have made the decision a lot harder. But he didn’t.”
Maybe this comment is harmless, but it still seems a bit impatient; Tavaras only played 11 games, after all.
That same pressure fell on Pirates’ prospect Gregory Polanco when he was finally called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates this week. Four games into his big league career, things are going well for him (.381 batting average). That is a huge credit to the 22-year old. On Friday night he came up especially large, delivering five hits and a game-winning home run.
Normally big league teams give rookies the silent treatment when they hit their first career home run, but the Pirates couldn’t help themselves. They did this instead:
Polanco is one slump away from people unfairly wringing their hands and wondering about his impact, but for now, he has responded to the immense pressure placed upon him. As the next big thing for a Pirates team that is grasping to stay in the race this season, that pressure isn’t going anywhere.
Hopefully this young man remains up to the task.