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Have Prospects Become Way Too Important In Baseball?

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Know this guy? Two years ago he was a projected 20-30 home run hitter.
Know this guy? Two years ago he was a projected 20-30 home run hitter.

Simple question. The answer? Yes.

When the Yankees were close to a deal that would send Jesus Montero among others to the Mariners for Cliff Lee. (sorry for the reminder) Many fans seemed outraged at the idea of trading Montero (.272/.349/.467, 11 HR, 47 RBI so far in AAA) because Montero is a "top prospect" and Montero will likely hit "30-40 home runs in the future." For Montero to hit 30 home runs this season in AAA he would have to go on an absolute mind blowing tear. Montero will likely end up with 25 or less home runs on the season in AAA. Is that bad? Absolutely not.

Montero has been hyped to the point where even suggesting the Yankees should consider trading him can get you cursed out. If Montero can't hit 30-40 home runs in a season off of AAA pitching how will he do it off of MLB pitching? Is the fact that he is being hyped up this much making Yankees fans think of him as this untouchable player that will be the savior of a franchise that doesn't need saving?

I am in no way shape or form saying the Yankees should trade Montero. I am in no way shape or form saying Jesus Montero will not be a very good MLB player. What I am saying is Montero is being over-hyped and if I had a chance to get a likely Cy Young winner for him I'd do the trade no question.

A pitcher that gives you complete games almost every start no problem is worth a lot more to me than a prospect that has never played an MLB game, struggled to find consistensy at the minor league level, and plays a position that is the deepest in the farm system of his team.

A former scout's take after the jump.

I asked the former scout one question: Are prospects hyped to the point where they can be almost more important than winning a championship?

His answer:

"Yes. I remember one example when a top MLB franchise was offered another teams 3rd starter and starting outfielder for a pitcher that was projected to be a back of the rotation starter and a catcher that was not projected to make it past AAA without having to switch positions."

I made sure it wasn't the Yankees, but he would not give the names of the teams or players. He did say that team failed to make the playoffs in a tight race likely because of the lack of the trade due to not being willing to trade a projected back of the rotation starter.

To me, that is enough said.