Cameron: Big leaguers, prospects and uncertainty

From Dave Cameron at FanGraphs on December 10, 2012:

It’s no secret that I don’t think the Kansas City Royals made a very good trade last night. In my view, the price was just too high, and the Royals weren’t in a position where their team needed to give up that kind of future value to improve their chances of winning in 2013. Reasonable folks can disagree, of course. There’s a case to be made that the Royals are closer to contending than I think they are, and if KC can overtake Detroit for the division title, then the reward may justify the cost. Win-now moves can be worth it, and as teams like the Nationals, Orioles, and A’s showed last year, pre-season projections aren’t written on stone tablets and handed down from on high.

But, this morning, I’m not reading many arguments in favor of this trade that come from that angle. Instead, the defense of this trade from the Royals perspective is coming mostly from a different angle.


There is no question that prospects do not always develop into quality Major League players. You can look at any past prospect list and identify dozens of guys who never made any kind of contribution in the big leagues. Remember Joel Guzman? Or Greg Miller? Sean Burroughs? Ruben Mateo? Pablo Ozuna? Roger Salkeld? The list could go on forever. It is easy to rattle off the names of busted prospects who prove that the Royals very well might not have given up any future value in this move. A skeptic could look at the bust rate of even top prospects and determine that projecting guaranteed stardom for any of them was a fool’s errand.

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Originally published: December 10, 2012. Last Updated: December 10, 2012.