Waiting for the kids ...

June, 26, 2009
6/26/09
1:53
PM ET
In response to a Padres fan asking if the club has advanced its prospects too quickly, Paul DePodesta makes an example of Chase Headley:
    Headley was a very different case. He had a full year in HA Lake Elsinore, a full year in AA San Antonio and nearly 300 pa's in AAA Portland. That's not really an accelerated progression. In fact, what was keeping him down in AAA more than anything was the fact that he was learning a new defensive position.

    --snip--

    Remember, regardless of the preparation they receive in the minors, young players will almost always struggle early on in the Majors, often for two or three seasons, before hitting their stride. Adrian Gonzalez hit .229/.272/.401 in 2004 and 2005 combined for the Texas Rangers, and there are countless other examples. Just like any other job, there's only so much you can do to prepare before actually doing the job.

First a question, then a comment ...

Question: Have you ever seen "high Class A" -- also sometimes described as "fast A" or "advanced A" -- abbreviated as "HA"? I hadn't, until now. It's a handy shorthand, for sure, and I wonder if I can get away with it. I also wonder if there's a corresponding "LA" for lower Class A, and "SSA" for short-season Class A.

Comment: Well, yes ... but how long should we expect these struggles of young players to last, really? "Two or three seasons" sounds awfully vague, to me. Adrian Gonzalez did struggle in his first two seasons ... but on the other hand, that was only 206 plate appearances, and he was 22 and 23 at the time. Meanwhile Chase Headley's now been struggling for 619 plate appearances, at 24 and 25.

Granted, Headley's not been struggling like Gonzalez did; Headley's actually been a league-average hitter over these last two seasons. But considering his position (left field) and his former prospect status (top), he's not really doing what he's supposed to.

I'm sure DePodesta has run the numbers. I'd just like to know what "almost always struggle early on" means, and what "often for two or three seasons" means. Because I sure would like to know if Kevin Kouzmanoff's ever going to be as good as I thought he'd be. And there sure have been a lot of players over the years who show their talents shortly after arriving in the majors.

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