Jesse put a post up on the TT top IF prospects and it got me thinking. The Twins seem to take a lot of criticism for not 'developing' elite infielders. But how easy is it to do? It seems like most of the real elite infielders were either:
- highly-drafted, polished college athletes, or
- once in a lifetime guys like Alex Rodriguez.
The third factor, and the push behind this post...
- If you are a great athlete, a great hitter, and a so-so fielder, you'll be pushed prematurely to the outfield in order to speed you ascent to the majors. Or essentially, unless you can both hit and really field the infield well (like A-rod or Joe Mauer) the club will want to max your offensive value by putting you at a less demanding position at one of the corners.
I keep reading that Miguel Sano will outgrow SS and maybe even 3B. Well yeah, in the sense that his hitting prowess will translate to the majors much sooner than his fielding. And if you were a really great hitting prospect, would you care as much about developing you defense at short versus working on hitting, especially considering the unquestioned best player in the game is Albert Pujols? Why work your butt of and spend a couple more years in the minors to become an average SS when you could get to the bigs earlier and be a great defensive 1B? Make sense?
Whereas if you are a light-hitting but good fielding infielder like Jorge Polanco or James Beresford, it might make sense to maximize your defensive value. And if you are a team like the Twins, perhaps it is best to not waste a (low) first round pick on a middle infielder when you could take a better player who happens to be an outfielder. Just develop good fielding infielders (including third base) and hope that every once in a while you'll get one that can actually hit.
And it seems like the Twins have attempted to take flyers on guys like that--Reggie Williams (not sure on that one), Tyler Ladendorf, Niko Goodrum.
At any rate, anybody up for trading a couple-three of these outfield prospects for Jose Reyes?