The Perils Of Prospects

The Royals oft-repeated “embarrassment of riches” in prospects took a hit today as it was reported that Double A lefty pitcher John Lamb will require Tommy John surgery—ESPN Story.

I don’t know much of anything about Lamb, but his numbers in the minors are impressive and he’s part of the bountiful crop of young players working their way up to Kansas City to join Eric Hosmer, Danny Duffy, Alex Gordon, Billy Butler and the rising minor leaguer Mike Moustakas and a few others in returning the Royals to glory.

It may happen and it may not. But the way in which the Royals have been compared to another club that took years and years of losing and turned it into a vast array of young prospects to become a powerhouse—the Rays—is short-sighted and missing the reality about player development: sometimes they don’t make it; sometimes they take years to find their niche; sometimes they get hurt as Lamb has.

Ranking prospects and focusing on the draft is something to kill time and manufacture stuff to write about I suppose, but does it really matter which prospect is ranked #1 in all of minor league baseball on Keith Law’s list? Who’s ranked #25?

Is it truly relevant to most people which team takes what player in the draft to the point where mock drafts are being constructed as if this is the NFL/NBA?

To a man it takes years for a drafted/signed player to make it to the big leagues. I feel as if I’m being sold something with the attention being paid to the draft—something I’m not interested in buying.

With prospects, we won’t know until we know. As the injury to Lamb shows, there are a myriad of things that can happen to sabotage even the most hyped players whether they’re non-prospects or potential stars.

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