Great story. Lots of potential. Uncertain future.
Are the Mariners finally going to have an exciting phenom that takes Major League Baseball by storm and inspires the team to turn the corner? Or, will this be yet another “hot” prospect that fails to live up to expectations?
Jerry Brewer of The Seattle Times wrote an interesting piece about Elias, suggesting that the Mariners are being a little impatient. He argues that the Mariners may repeat the Brandon Maurer experiment, and that players such as Justin Smoak could have benefited from more time in the minors. There are more that fit into this scenario. Brewer wrote:
Jesus Montero needed more time in the minors, especially because the Mariners tried to make him a catcher initially. Dustin Ackley needed more time. So did Mike Zunino, Brad Miller, Nick Franklin and even Kyle Seager, who eventually figured it out.
Brewer may be on to something. Or, it could be that these players just aren’t stars. Did Maurer struggle last year because he was rushed or because he is just not good enough?
This is the problem that plagues player evaluation. Brewer also notes:
We live in a world obsessed with potential. Few can live today without dreaming of a more glorious tomorrow.
True words from Brewer, but we just don’t know how Elias will handle the pressure. If he can’t handle it now, then when exactly will he be more poised? The same question could be applied to Taijuan Walker and James Paxton. Could some additional seasoning in the minors be helpful? Possibly, but at some point players need to make the jump. Elias has not pitched above Double-A, but he is also 25 years old. He isn’t getting any younger. Should the Mariners send him to Tacoma and bring him up when he is 27?
Truthfully, we aren’t sure what we want sometimes. There are situations where we see the need to be patient. However, we are obsessed with the future, as Brewer wisely points out. We want to see players like Taijuan Walker now, and see if he really has the “stuff” to be an ace.
Elias is a risk, but life is all about taking chances. Maybe this one actually will pay off.