Sunday, March 30, 2008

All we need is just a little patience

We live in a world of instant gratification.

We watch on-demand TV and fast-forward through commercials.

We don’t just have high-speed Internet … We have Internet 5,000 times faster than DSL.

A two-minute zapping in the microwave seems like an eternity.

And we want our rookies to produce NOW.

I’ve heard lots of people are bummed that super prospects Cameron Maybin, Evan Longoria and Jay Bruce are starting the season in the minor leagues.

Do they realize Maybin is just 21years old? Or that he’s had only 69 at-bats above the Class-A level?

Or that by keeping Longoria (above) in the minors, the cost-conscious Rays can keep him under contract for an extra season when he’s entering his prime?

Or that Reds manager Dusty Baker hates kids?

OK, maybe that last part isn’t true. But it is true that fantasy players are an impatient bunch. Everybody’s looking for the next David Wright or Jonathan Papelbon or Ryan Braun, a kid who can step into the league and dominate, and post big stats in the process.

We’ve been spoiled these past few years with some awesome rookie talent. Mining those first-year gems has helped a lot of folks win a lot of fantasy titles. But it’s foolish to think every touted rookie will magically morph into an All-Star as soon as he hits the majors. A lot of people laughed at Fausto Carmona when he bombed as the Indians’ rookie closer in 2006 – and you may have noticed what he did last year as a starter.

If you took a flier on Bruce or Maybin or Longoria, don’t do something rash and drop them just because they’re beginning the year as farmhands. There’s a good chance you’ll see all of them contributing in the majors at some point this year – in Maybin’s case perhaps sooner than anyone thought after Alejandro De Aza’s injury Saturday night.

Until then, treat your rookies as luxuries. You can’t really count on them as everyday starters or build your team around a bunch of them, but keep one or two stashed on your bench as an investment. I seriously doubt anybody drafted Braun or Hunter Pence last year with the intention of using them as a full-time starter, but when it became clear those two were ready to produce at the major league level, some prescient owners were ahead of the game and didn’t have to put in a waiver claim or get involved a bidding war.

So be patient for a change. Go get some fast food to pass the time. And give the kids some time to grow up.

Photo by The Associated Press.

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