Some coach once said something like the best thing about freshmen is that they soon become sophomores, or something like that.
Some baseball managers feel the same way about rookies. They will do whatever they can to not play a rookie or a young player and only want to play the ones who are superstars.
I think we are seeing that with Terry Francona. The only time he wants to play a rookie is if the veteran(s) he has at his disposal are not helping him to win. The issue becomes that you rely on veterans and only give the young player a chance if he is your last option.
Such is the case with Tyler Naquin. After a hot spring he played sparingly once he made the club. Let's look at his play time:
- His first start was on April 14th, two weeks into the season. I know we faced a lot of lefthanders but give the kid a chance. And the kid hit in his first full game (3-5) after mostly gathering dust for two weeks
- He started again on April 16th and then started again on April 20th.
- From April 20th on he hit in 9 out of 10 games he batted in with the other game getting only one AB. He then went 0-3 before he was sent down.
Basically, as a rookie, Naquin was played in such a way that it was VERY difficult for him to be successful. Yet he succeeded, having a .753 OPS while trying to get his feet on the ground in the majors which was hindered by sporadic play.
The kid was set up to fail and, when he didn't they optioned him to AAA anyway.
Now, all the excuses are flying: he had only one walk, we had enough outfielders without him, he hasn't played enough in AAA to polish his game and, my favorite, by sending him out for a while we will control him another year as he won't have the service time to be a free agent if he plays some in the minors this year.
Hey, we are in Cleveland, we should be playing young players. They are our life blood, not retread free agents who didn't get any other reasonable offers. Byrd, Uribe, Napoli. Don't get me started.
Plus we started with Detweiler as our lefty which cost us one of James Ramsey or Giovanni Soto and Detweiler is now in the minors and Kyle Crockett is now where he should be, in our bullpen. Just bad decision making, once again favoring questionable veterans over younger players
The decision making on this club favors retread veterans over rookies, except in the case where a less experienced player gets a chance (Cody Anderson) and he becomes probably the single most important reason for our mediocre start this year, as the Indians are 0-5 his 5 starts. And the Indians braintrust picked him to start the season in the rotation instead of Trevor Bauer.
As I said before, it is a long season. It just looks so far like most of the player personnel decisions that have been made this season have been the wrong ones. So, instead of having a great start we are mired in mediocre once again. Again, we have until the end of May. If things don't turn around it will become time to question Francona's desire to use veterans and the GM's ability to make the best decisions, despite what his manager wants.