By Jonathan Northrop - AngelsWin.com Contributor
It seems of late that this phrase gets thrown around too quickly, or some variant of "X Player isn't good enough to be a major leaguer" after a relatively short time in the big leagues. Why are we so quick to write off young players (or veterans coming from another club) after a week or two? Or even in longer cases - many good players have taken a year or two to adjust to the major leagues. Actually, some great players were relatively mediocre their first year or so in the big leagues. The vast majority of major leaguers do not appear fully formed, like a Greek God, a superstar from day one. Albert Pujols is the exception, not the rule.
A few specific cases: Take Mike Trout. I've heard comments that he won't be ready until 2013. What do we mean by "ready"? Ready for what? To be a star? Yeah, I can agree with that. But ready to be a solid contributor? Heck, he could be ready for that now, or at least later this year. He probably wouldn't be great this year, but he could hold his own, I think.
Peter Bourjos is another case in point, and more relevant. It may take him a couple years to be a plus offensive player. And he is certainly not going to be a perfectly polished outfielder every game of his life. Or Hank Conger, or Mark Trumbo. And so on.
We could also apply this logic to Vernon Wells. Now I still think that it was a dreadful trade and will be considered one of the worst trades in club history, unless Wells returns to his .290+, 30+ HR form for the next three or four years. But we've only played 10 games! Let's give the guy a chance before we completely write him off as a dud. He's not going to hit .091 and slug .114 all year. He may hit .250 and slug .460, which would be well below his salary, but again, we're talking ten games.
The moral of the story: The year is young! And many players are young an inexperienced and need time to develop. Contrary to what many seem to think, the Angels don't have to win every year. You try to win, but not at any cost, especially not at the cost of long-term success. We cannot expect our young players to come up fully formed and excel in their first at-bat or pitch. In order to optimize their potential, players like Bourjos, Trumbo, Conger, and Chatwood need time to develop. For some that means more time in the minors (Chatwood, for instance), but for others they've proved all they need to prove in the minors and just to play some big league games.