First of all, this post is predicated on the assumption the Pirates will use the top pick in this June’s draft on Anthony Rendon. I know everyone on this list isn’t sold on that scenario, but please resist the temptation to hijack the thread with another name.
So again, assuming the choice is Rendon, where do you think he starts off in the minors and how long before he shows up in Pittsburgh?
I’ve argued in other threads that he could/should be in Pittsburgh within a year of being drafted. And while a lot of posters in this forum think that’s too aggressive, I’ve seen analyses from several knowledgeable scouts that such a timetable is feasible.
If I’m the Pirate brain trust, I try to get him signed within a month of being drafted — even if I have to start negotiations with Scott Boras before the draft. Then I start the kid in AA, with an eye toward having him start 2012 in AAA and playing in Pittsburgh by June. Failing that, I start him in AA ball next April, then move him to AAA by June and maybe make him a September call-up.
I certainly understand the importance of waiting to start someone’s arbitration clock, but in Rendon’s case he’s part of a core of position players — Alvarez, Walker, Tabata, Cutch — the rest of whom are in the Majors already. The sooner he gets up to the Show and starts meshing with his teammates, the better.
I also understand it’s not generally a good idea to rush a kid through the minors, but Rendon is an unusually polished prospect. The very things you keep a kid in the minors to learn — pitch recognition, patience, mechanics — are already his strengths.
You think Rendon couldn’t walk out there right now and produce as well as Tabata, Walker and Alvarez did when they came up a year ago? You bet he could. So why delay the inevitable just because of some arcane formula?
Draft him, let his get his feet wet in the minors, then get him into the lineup and usher in the new era sooner rather than later, I say.