In the NFL, there is an old adage: a draft class cannot be properly graded until three seasons have passed. Being creatures that crave instant gratification, it can be hard for fans to be patient for the success of prospective stars.
Baseball fans are a different breed. The game is entirely predicated on patience, and Pirates' fans, perhaps better than anyone, have learned that patience is, indeed, a virtue. More importantly, with high school players often being drafted in the first round, even three years isn't enough time to "wait and see."
In 2010, the big question was "who will the Pirates take with the second overall pick?" Bryce Harper was the undisputed number one pick; he was considered a once-in-a-generation player. So, intrigued eyes were led to The Pirates who seemed to be deciding between two high schoolers: Taillon and Manny Machado. As we all know, Huntingdon and co. ultimately decided on Taillon, the large-framed flame-thrower. Baltimore happily claimed their consolation prize in Machado, a slick fielding shortstop with high upside at the plate.
Fast forward to 2014.
As we head into Spring Training, Baltimore's Manny Machado is returning to baseball activities after a gnarly knee injury ended his sterling 2013 rookie campaign.
Machado is already an all-star and a defensive dynamo, albeit at 3B instead of SS. Taillon, as we know, was recently named the 27th best prospect in baseball by Keith Law. I saw it pointed out in a number of places that this would make Taillon the top prospect in a number of other organizations. It seems the Pirates have a wealth of riches.
Going into the 2014 season, however, which would you rather have under contract today? It's hard to know where these two will be come 2016, but today, would you rather have the hot, young all-star at 3B recovering from a blown-out knee? Or the high upside yet unproven AAA pitcher?
Let's play a little arm-chair GM. Both will likely be stars in this league, but which would be a better compliment to this young and deep organization?