St. Louis Cardinals: Taking the emotion out of prospects

ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 13: Carson Kelly
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 13: Carson Kelly /

The St. Louis Cardinals decision to send down Carson Kelly was the right move, but some fans disagree. With no emotion involved, it becomes clear. What do you think?

In light of recent news that the St. Louis Cardinals have sent down Carson Kelly, I have had to often remind myself about an important sentiment many fans struggle with at times. That sentiment is taking your love for the idea of what the prospect is or may become out of looking at decisions a team makes.

This is obviously an extremely important part of what general managers must do, but for fans, this can be a difficult.

I am obviously not alone in my love of following players from the draft to the MLB and reading about them as they rise throughout the system. When a prospect is either called up, and then does poorly and the romanticized view of that prospect is distorted, it is hard for me to admit that a prospect needs more seasoning.

CINCINNATI, OH – SEPTEMBER 10: Oscar Taveras /

The greatest example of this, for me, was good ole’ Oscar Taveras. I followed him throughout the minors and drooled as he posted a career .320/.376/.516 slash line. He also continually ranked #1 on the Cardinals top prospect lists. Even though he had two injury plagued years at AAA, it was hard for me to ignore my feeling in my gut the St. Louis Cardinals were wasting his talent with him fermenting at AAA.

When he was finally called up, the city of St. Louis instantly fell in love with his infectious smile and the magic of his first game’s home run. I was right along with them, drunk on the idea of what he could become and how great the coming years would be. But then after his magical first game, Taveras hit a ghastly .239/.278/.312 slash line for just under half the season.

My intoxication with the idea of what Taveras would become led me to defend his stat line. I was obviously not alone in my intoxication of the idea of what Taveras would become and not what he was. He stayed in the majors for half the season, even with the poor results. Hardly a small sample size.

I am in no way faulting Mozeliak. This issue of infusing too much emotion with reality is a simple fact of how humans work psychologically. A magic switch to turn off emotion doesn’t exist. It is a skill that takes talent, a talent Mozeliak has proved to have.

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This brings me back to Carson Kelly. I can only applaud Mo on his decision to send Kelly to AAA to start the year. When you look at the numbers, he obviously has things to work on. With a .100 batting average and a .367 OPS after 30 at bats, he needs to get his offense back on track. Fermenting on the bench behind Yadi will do nothing to help that.

This by no means implies Kelly, who has long been referred to as the “heir apparent” to Yadi and is widely recognized as a top two catching prospect in baseball, is a bust. It just means he is not ready yet. The best place for him to get ready is AAA.

Regardless if you believe Kelly should be traded soon instead of getting old at AAA while we wait until Yadi’s contract is done, it is undeniable that we, as fans of the St. Louis Cardinals, need to applaud Mozeliak for his decision to send Kelly back to AAA.

Mozeliak did what we should all try and do. Take emotion and love for the idea of what a prospect could become and look at the truth of the situation. Accept what’s best for both the player and organization. For those of you who are in the trade Kelly camp, a horrible spring is going to do nothing but hurt his trade value and regaining his hitting form at the AAA level will allow the Cardinals to sell higher if they choose to do so.

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So, before you get mad at Mo, or at Kelly, or when this undoubtedly happens again with another one of your favorite prospects, take a deep breath, step back, look at the facts. Realize that sometimes the best move for an organization and prospect is to keep a player in the minors or move on from them.