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Friday, June 26, 2009
Waiting for the kids ...

In response to a Padres fan asking if the club has advanced its prospects too quickly, Paul DePodesta makes an example of Chase Headley:

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.