The Post-Gazette's story on Nate McLouth is a very nice article that's often almost touching, and McLouth's breakout has been great to watch, but seeing Dave Littlefield be proven wrong over and over and over is getting a bit exhausting, isn't it? This happens with near-mathematical certainty -- every year, at least one player Littlefield passed over, traded for nothing or hid away makes a big splash. It's as certain as another Chris Snelling injury, or an Elijah Dukes arrest, or a losing season in Baltimore. In fact, I suspect Littlefield might have been able to save his career by poisoning all his starting players and replacing them with the ones he was sure he didn't like. He was the talent anti-evaluator.
First there was Craig Wilson, stuck behind inferior talents for years, going nuts in April 2004. Then Bronson Arroyo, dumped for nothing, becoming a useful starter in 2004, then emerging as one of the better pitchers in the National League in 2006. Then Chris Young, traded for nothing before impressing with Texas in 2005 and then settling in as a good #2 starter in San Diego. Then Chris Shelton, lost in the Rule 5 draft, breaking out with the Tigers in early 2006. Then Ian Snell, dogged by questions about his attitude and his height, becoming one of the Pirates' better starters in 2006. Then Freddy Sanchez, stuck behind the mediocre Joe Randa, winning a batting title in 2006. Then Oliver Perez rediscovering his form for the Mets in 2007. Now McLouth and Ryan Doumit.
One wonders who the Littlefield mistake will be next year. It'd wise to sign J.J. Davis to a minor league contract, I know that much.