PATIENCE? SORRY, TIRED OF WAITING

May 22, 2018 - 9:14 am

When 19-year-old Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals slugged his first major league home run the other day against the Padres, in only his second major league at-bat, I'd had enough.

This patience thing is starting to wear thin. 

The Padres keep preaching it even though other teams around the big leagues are bringing their young stars to the Majors -- and having great success doing so. Soto not only is 19, but he'd had only 31 at-bats above Class-A ball before Washington promoted him. Don't know about you, but I don't see a lot of patience there.

I don't see a whole lot in Atlanta, either. Top Braves prospects Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuna, Jr., are both cutting their teeth in big league baseball. The Braves' reward is a surprising top spot in the National League East. Surely the Braves could have played it like the Padres and waited for these two players to develop more. But chances are they'd be nowhere near first place had they done so.

Tyler O'Neal of the St. Louis Cardinals homered in three straight games upon his callup. Another St. Louis youngster, pitcher Jordan Hicks, nearly broke the radar gun the other day, firing a pair of pitches clocked at 105 miles-per-hour.

Here's the thing: every team has young prospects that possess great talent. But not every team is willing to expose them to the potential failures of being an everyday big leaguer. The Padres will tell you that 20-year-old second baseman Luis Urias isn't quite ready. Nor is 19-year-old shortstop Fernando Tatis, Jr.

One day (just be patient) and these two will form a brand new double-play combination for the ages. But why wait? It's not like the guys holding down their spots (Freddy Galivs, SS and Carlos Asauje, 2B) have been doing all that well anyway. Galvis is hitting a weak .234 with just eight extra-base hits and one homer. Asajue, hitting .193 for the Padres, is back down in the minor leagues.

The guess here is that Tatis, Jr., and Urias could be at least as good as those two. And so what if they're not? There's nothing wrong with bringing up a prospect while there's still some season left and then sending him back down if things don't work out.

The Padres are selling all of us on the fact that 2020 and beyond are going to be great seasons. Maybe they will be. But has anybody noticed that the 2018 NL West is just sitting there, waiting to be claimed? Surely, Colorado (the current leader at 27-22) isn't going to run away and hide from anyone.

If these kids can play, then let them play. Tomorrow is never guaranteed.