Originally Posted by mdccclxix
Yet, everyone generally agrees he's #2 behind Billy Hamilton, do you think this is correct? I had a hard time with that pick.
I think Hamilton is a clear #1 and Stephenson is a clear #2. Although, for me, Stephenson actually has the higher floor. Stephenson, barring injury, is going to pitch in the bigs. Don't know what he will develop into, but his arm is too good to be a guy who can't cut it. Other things beyond having a blazing fastball will determine his eventual level of usefulness, but at 95-97, he will have some kind of a role.
Hamilton is the ultimate wildcard. He has a chance to be a special player. His impact could be such that he lifts a good team to greatness. If you saw the Future's Game and you saw the play where, with Billy on third, the opposing pitcher got all out of sync on a routine grounder to the mound and ended up throwing it down the right field line...that is Billy Hamilton. He will do things that no one else in the major leagues does. I am a tough sell and I saw it for a season. At the end of the year, in a conversation with DeShields, I said "despite what the stats may say, Hamilton was the MVP of the league this year if you are truly measuring the value he brought to his team." Delino agreed there was no doubt about it. This is a guy who hit .278 with three homers.
At the same time, the reality is that you can't steal first base. You have to hit enough to justify your spot in the lineup. There is a chance that he will never do that. If he gets there and can never break .220, you can't use him. I think he will be a special player, but the reality is, his bat is not so impressive that you can say for sure that he will hit until he actually does it.
Our number one prospect from one year ago hit .212 in the bigs in 2012 and ended up back in the minors. If he does that again in 2013, he is going to be looked at as an entirely different kind of prospect. My point is, with hitters, you don't know until it plays out.
I remember, in 2000, a manager telling me that 20 year old Double-A outfielder Corey Patterson would be a total superstar and win multiple MVPs. Corey Patterson. The same year in the same league, Sean Burroughs, age 20, was thought by everyone to be a total lock to be a future all-star. He was hitting .290 in Double-A at age 20. Got to the bigs and couldn't hit.