By Tal Venada, Sports Talk Philly Contributor
In six weeks, Dave Dombrowki, president of baseball operations, will finish reevaluating the Philadelphia Phillies rotation. And if --if-- an in-house candidate doesn’t claim the fourth slot, he’ll acquire, perhaps, a salary-dumped arm from an out-of-contention franchise.
Reality Trumps Velocity:
Competing on the highest plateau requires maximum effort including preparation, mental strength, and a pitcher’s good luck because each level is more psychologically demanding. To illustrate this game speed, Joe Wilson, a college senior, isn’t batting; but Freddie Freeman is with Ronald Acuna Jr. on second base.
IN OTHER WORDS:
“I remember going from rookie ball to A, to double A, then to triple A. At every level it seemed like the game was faster. The bigger the situation, the more the game speeds up. That's all mental. It messes people up.” - Derek Jeter
According to a retired American League general manager, a player makes an impact in or after his third year. So, 30 starts equals one season, and the ceiling would be 105 for 3.5 campaigns. Plus the hurler’s development then represents his status for even the starting staff’s bottom rung. Ergo, not a small achievement!
The Phillies faithful and other major league supporters expect a player to make an immediate impact, and they are especially critical of top prospects. In summers long-ago, stars spent a season at each level and were ready for the majors. But then there were 16 clubs, not 30.
Even though the number of teams nearly doubled, the top talent did not. Basically, many high school and college athletes participate in multiple sports, and they may prefer another or a faster rise to the professional ranks. Translation: It forces MLB organizations to fill roster spots with players receiving on-the-job-development.