It is very constructive to have dialogue, conversation, and to present varying viewpoints. With that in mind, each week I am going to ask a question of our knowledgeable staff and post their responses below. I will also be weighing in with my thoughts. I then ask you, the reader, to offer your opinion and tell us what you think.
George Springer (Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports)
Do you agree with the Astros’ decision to keep George Springer in AAA through the playoffs?
I don’t have a problem with it. What’s the hurry? This team is going nowhere and subjecting Springer to the losing environment could actually have a negative effect on him. Let him enjoy some success with a winning team at AAA. Just about everyone else has already been called up and most of the Astros’ farm teams keep on winning anyway. That says a lot about the depth in the system.
Before the season started Jeff Luhnow told me that the plan was to have Springer spend a full year at each level, much like the Cardinals were doing with Oscar Taveras. Keeping that in mind, Springer’s performance has put him way ahead of schedule. It’s a nice problem for the Astros to have, but I think Luhnow is doing a tremendous job with the handling of Springer.
Of course the easy answer here is to say, let’s get Springer up to Houston. In fact, on the surface, you could make the argument that the outfielder should have been promoted over a month ago at a minimum.
Springer has clearly had success at every level of the minor leagues, and he certainly deserves to play at the major league level. The Astros are not going anywhere this season, which removes the pressure on Springer to perform and contribute right away as there is no pressure. But at the same time, the environment in Houston is not a winning one. Bo Porter and company are doing everything possible to create a situation that encourages winning and success, but the talent is lacking. Plus, there are so many roles up for grabs, making the Astros a team in flux.
Both in Corpus Christi and now in Oklahoma City, Springer was and is part of a winning team. That experience is quite valuable as he learns how to win and play under pressure. Regardless of whether or not he was promoted in July or he is promoted in the last week of September, Springer’s role with the 2014 Astros is pretty secure.
So in my opinion, I agree with the decision to leave Springer in AAA through the playoffs. Ultimately that experience will mean more to him than potentially 50 more at bats at the major league level this season.
Selfishly, I want to see George Springer in the Astros’ outfield right now. I’ve been considering canceling my MLB.tv subscription, but having the opportunity to watch that guy every night would be worth the $25 a month. With that being said, I feel like he should probably stay in OKC until at least after their playoff run, and maybe not come up until the start of 2014.
Being in a playoff atmosphere can be a great experience for developing prospects. He will be getting meaningful at-bats in high leverage situations. If he’s brought to Houston this season, he will walk right into a train wreck and have very few meaningful opportunities. Losses can really weigh on a young team, and there has to be a certain amount of negativity floating around the clubhouse right now. I really wouldn’t mind seeing him avoid the Harrells of the 2013 Astros and get a fresh start with the 2014 team that should have a little more excitement around it.
Simply put, yes. The Astros are currently in last place by several games and they need to stay that way. The Astros are in a complete rebuild and need another year of last place “rights” (1st pick in Rule 5 draft, most international money, 1st pick in June draft, etc.). Calling up George Springer would no doubt give the Astros a better chance to win, and though it’s nice to see the Astros win, I (and possibly the FO) would prefer to give them a better chance at the first overall pick, rather than pick up a few meaningless wins in a lost season. Besides that reason, the Astros also have several other outfielders that could use regular at-bats for the rest of the season. Some of these outfielders need to prove themselves for the next month and a half to see if they are worth the roster spot on next year’s roster. Of course I’d rather see George Springer out there, but the FO needs as much time as possible to evaluate the other outfielders on this roster.
The Triple A playoffs do have significance to the franchise. I would love him to get MLB seasoning, but at the same time it’s kind of pointless to promote him to one of the worst teams in MLB history. I’d love to see him in MLB, but have no issues with keeping him in the minors. I’m not so concerned with the overall win/loss totals this year. I will be looking for improvements next year, and hope to break the 70-75 win total. If this were 2014, then yes I would have an issue with it. Luhnow has shown how well he can draft and trade. Let’s hope he’s equally as skilled in seasoning his players. I do not expect this regime to be like the old and season their players until they’re 32 years old (slight exaggeration). We’ve already seen many younger players come up, but usually fodder. I expect the stars such as Correa, Appel, Singleton, McCullers, et al to get their shots sooner than later. Springer has notoriously had holes in his swing which have drastically been reduced. I think if not for that he would already be up despite Triple A playoffs.
This day and age of baseball fans wants to see prospects and they want to see them now! But as the flamboyant Stephen A. Smith would scream, “HOWEVA” I admire and agree with the sort-of bold decision to keep a red hot and first ever MiLB 40/40 super prospect George Springer in AAA OKC through their playoffs. Soon to be 24 (9/19), the 2011 first rounder has absolutely earned a crack at ‘the show’ and figures to battle for a starting job in Spring Training next season. The organization continues to experiment in the majors with a group of fellow outfielders like Robbie Grossman, L.J. Hoes, Brandon Barnes and Marc Krauss, as they assess and determine their potential roles in the team’s future plans. But for now It would be more rewarding to see George Springer try and help bring a Pacific Coast League championship to the Redhawks in the coming weeks than to play sporadically while the young Astros continue to tinker and manage their full depth chart for the future.
In a word: Absolutely. In two words: Heck yes! In three words: Don’t doubt Luhnow. In four words… Ok I’ll stop.
George Springer is killing the minor leagues this year and the Astros are being killed by anything and everyone. So why am I not clamoring for his inevitable call-up? Easy. The experience Springer will gain in a playoff chase in AAA is leaps and bounds more beneficial to him than seeing Major League pitching. He will be on a team that’s winning and is enjoying themselves.
The fans, players, and coaches in OKC deserve to have their star player finish out the season with them. Along with that, Springer deserves to reap the rewards of a great season and hopefully finish what he and the RedHawks started by winning the AAA Championship.