Tuesday, September 08, 2009
The Before And After
First came this comment: "He reminds me of Derek Jeter," Our Former General Manager Jim Bowden said at the time, "except those were Ian Desmond plays, not Derek Jeter plays."
Then came this one: "We put him over his head," said Bob Boone, the Nationals' vice president of player development. "We knew we were putting him over his head, but with what we saw defensively -- especially that spring before -- we said, 'Ah, let's give it a try.' "
Player's response: "I know I can play," Ian Desmond said. "There's no doubt. But over the last few years, my confidence has been up and down."
Upon Mike Rizzo taking charge as first the Interim General Manager of Our Washington Nationals :"...I am not one to rush players through the system. I think he should master a level before he moves. That’s not to say if you master a level, you can’t skip the next level. But, we feel that with where we are at here on The Big League Level, it gives us a little bit more time to really develop our players in the correct time frame.”
And finally this thought from Mark Scialabba--Assistant Director of Player Development: “Ian is a very exciting player. You look at him and you think—Big Leaguer. He is very exciting. He has plus range both ways. He has an outstanding arm and amongst all the managers throughout the leagues and Baseball America--they have rated his arm tops during the past few years--Carolina League, Eastern League. He’s a guy whose bat has taken some time to develop. He’s hit some rough patches. Earlier in his career, we promoted him too quickly and he struggled. For a young kid that was in Big League Camp and people are throwing out names like Derek Jeter—you get a lot of pressure put on you."
The before and after is really quite striking in those comments. Whereas JimBo would rush unproven but talented prospects through our Minor League System to make a splash, the overall effect was usually a negative one for the youngster. Now, under new management, there is a different mindset approach. Harnessing talent is one thing, but building confidence--the mental aspects of the game--is considered more important.
With that in mind--Ian Desmond promoted for the first time to The Big Leagues and to be in uniform for Our Washington Nationals at Nationals Park when The Philadelphia Phillies come to The Nation's Capital this evening. Deemed nearly ready now--five years after those "Derek Jeter" comments by Bowden during Washington's very first Spring Training ever in Viera--distracted and hindered his career. The bar set so high for the then 19-Year Old Teenager, pressure would not allow him to succeed.
Before, Ian Desmond was far from ready. After realizing their mistake in advancing him before his time--Our Washington Nationals left the young man alone and did not give up on him.
And to Ian's great credit he did not give up on himself. He overcame the hype, settled in while improving his batting skills and tweaking his defensive capabilities. Desmond will begin to show this evening whether he's developed far enough to be a Major League Player on a full-time basis in 2010.
The only position player called up from AAA Syracuse to Washington after the conclusion of The Chief's season yesterday. Ross Detwiler, Marco Estrada, Logan Kensing and Zack Segovia brought on board to add pitching depth to a fairly depleted staff. Syracuse Chief's Manager Tim Foli also added to the Major League Coaching Staff to help out over the final few weeks of 2009.