Talent

I’m halfway through The Ticket Out by Michael Sokolove and am thoroughly engaged.

For those of you unfamiliar with the book, it tells the stories of “The Boys of Crenshaw,” baseball players who played on the same L.A. high school team in 1979.  Some in baseball have called this the most talented high school team ever.  Eight players were drafted into professional baseball, and two became MLB All-Stars (most notably Darryl Strawberry).

What I am really enjoying about the book is its tone.  None of the players ends up fulfilling the rose-colored dreams of his childhood, but all of them remain confident that their team was a team to remember, that they played great baseball, that they had what it took.  If only it had took.

The book brings up the age-old question about MLB: do the best best players really get there? Or is it the players who fit the bill, who “look like a ballplayer,” who are considered good clubhouse guys (whatever that means in college towns like Fresno).

I have been thinking about this question constantly for the past two weeks, and it is through this lens that I read the following from the Astros mailbag:

What about Edwin Maysonet? Is the guy ready for the big leagues?
— Juan O., Houston
Maysonet has never been considered a top prospect and is only a career .255 hitter in 661 Minor League games. He can play all over the infield, including a terrific shortstop, and he did pretty well with the Astros last year, hitting .290 in 69 at-bats.
The Astros value his versatility and will even try to get him some reps in the outfield this spring. Defensively, management has no doubt he could play in the Majors right now, but at 28 years old he needs to seize the opportunity to prove he can hit well enough to stay on a Major League roster.
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