I know as a fan of the Pirates, the minor league system is very important to not only being successful at the big league level but sustaining it for the long-term as well. I’m well aware that certain players will get longer looks in camp than others. I believe that most baseball fans are familiar with the same things I am. However, where I think of myself as being different is how and when a player gets cuts from training camp means it’s more important for them to start the process of getting ready for games rather than trying to make a team and getting limited playing time.
This morning, the Pirates cut top pitching prospect Jameson Taillon and of course, Twitter was abuzz with the news and disappointment on maybe he should have been given a longer look. My question to those people is, “Why?”. Let Taillon go back to Minor League Camp and pitch every 5th day as the starter, not in relief and work on the things that will get him to the major leagues quicker. Then you have a guy like Matt Hague who has no chance of making the major league team this year(maybe September or a few injuries) who would be best served going down to get ample playing time.
For a lot of minor league players who will be called up at some point this season, it’s best for them to get to minor league camp as soon as possible but still having some experience in big league camp. Alen Hanson is another guy who was sent down knowing he has no chance to make the major league team and better to get him work on a regular basis now that the games will soon begin. On the flip side of that, you don’t want the guys who will be playing in Pittsburgh this summer to start getting more and more work and being used to playing a full game rather than a couple of innings.
Baseball is a grind, 162 games over 6 months and 7 months if a team is lucky enough to make the playoffs. There will be injuries, there will be guys called up, sent back down, top prospects making debuts and all the while, trying to make sure that every player in the system is developing to the best of their abilities. The cuts sting sometimes but in reality, it could also be the best thing for them in the long run.