Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dusty likes them young

Photo by Flickr user Scott Ableman used under a Creative Commons license.

By now, you've undoubtedly heard every baseball blogger out there opine about The Deal's glorious debut.

3/3, 2 BB, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB.

You probably couldn't ask for more from someone who had his first legal alcoholic drink (I assume) 6 weeks ago.

So let's recap on the state of the Red's youngsters...

Jay Bruce: Heralded for the better part of the season as the second coming. Did nothing to disprove those claims yesterday.

Joey Votto: Owner of 10 man-jacks, good for second on the team, including 3 in one fateful game.

Edinson Volquez: Current MLB ERA leader at 1.31, on pace to shatter the all-time record for ERA+. Has given up more than 1 run in an outing exactly once (May 18 vs. Cleveland he gave up 2). Has struck out at least as many batters as innings pitched in all but 3 outings, leading to a ridiculous 11 K/9.

Johnny Cueto: Had possibly the most auspicious debut of the bunch, giving up 1 hit in 7 innings while striking out 10. Briefly made Reds fans forget about Homer Bailey.

So those are 4 rookies making a big splash for the Reds, and all I keep hearing about is how Dusty Baker is rookie-phobic.

Now, I admit I haven't followed the MLB very closely for long enough to know the historical merit of such statements, but I don't know if I believe it this year.

He definitely wasn't shy in giving Votto, Volquez, and Cueto prominent roles at the beginning of the season, once they showed that they earned it. The holdup for Bruce had nothing to do with Baker, and as soon as he was called up, Dusty put him directly into the 2-spot, which definitely does not show a lack of confidence in the kid.

He certainly didn't hold back Kerry Wood or Mark Prior in their rookie seasons, either.

Now, maybe these are circumstances in which the young kids are simply too good to hold back anymore, but I also think that possibly we don't cut ole' Dusty enough slack. Yes, during his 10-year stint in San Francisco, he developed exactly one everyday player (Rich Aurilia), but maybe that is a testament to the weakness of their farm system, not his managerial preferences.

One thing is for sure though. In a couple years, these Reds will be something to look out for.