Monday, March 16, 2009

By Adam Dodge - Senior Writer

Collectively, fans have always shown a great tendency to give up on young players too quickly.

Nick Adenhart made his Major League debut for the Angels in 2008, after several minor league seasons of making hitters look foolish. Much was expected of the young righthander when he joined the big club for three starts last season. Things could not have gone more poorly for the Angels’ top pitching prospect, however, as Adenhart never showed an ability to get ahead of hitters. It seemed as though the pressure was too much. Adenhart allowed twelve earned runs in twelve innings over his three starts before being sent back down to AAA Salt Lake City.

Whereas Adenhart dominated hitters in the PCL before his call-up, he took his struggles in Anaheim back with him to Utah. He finished 2008 with an inflated 5.76 ERA for the Bees and an unflattering 1.71 WHIP.

Angels scouting director Eddie Bane insists that there is still no better pitching prospect in all of baseball. But Angels fans do not seem as optimistic.

Ironically, Adenhart has a chance to make the Major League roster out of Spring Training due to an injury to another righthander, who many fans similarly gave up on just a season ago. Ervin Santana got off to a good start in the big leagues, but struggled mightily in 2007, causing many to question his stuff, ability and mental toughness. The Angels stuck with Santana, who had an All-Star season in 2008, earning him a long-term, big money extension in the off-season.

It would behoove Angels fans to defer to the talent evaluators — and they tend to agree that Adenhart is going to be a fine Major League hurler. With Santana out indefinitely, let’s hope Adenhart proves Eddie Bane and company right, sooner rather than later.

Listen in today as Nick Adenhart takes on the San Francisco Giants at 1 p.m.
Love to hear what you think!


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