When’s right time to bring up prospects?

When’s right time to bring up prospects?
January 27, 2013, 1:00 pm
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It’s likely that at some point this season, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow will be faced with this very tough decision: when should he bring up some of the Astros’ prospects?

The Astros have invested a lot of time and money in their farm system and have a few blue-chippers who will start the season in the minors. Guys like Jonathan Singleton, George Springer and Delino DeShields might all start their seasons in the minors.

So when will the Astros bring them up?

“I think you know when a player is ready,” Luhnow said at FanFest on Saturday. “We would rather make the decision on when to promote somebody like Jonathan Singleton or George Springer or Delino DeShields when they’re ready, not when the team needs a backup middle infielder or there’s an injury to a first baseman. Because we’re really sticking to our strategy to really try to develop our young talent in baseball and win consistently.

“We don’t want to do anything to solve a short-term need and really damage potentially long-term development, especially with those critical players who are going to be a part of our future.”

But say there’s an injury. Say the Astros find themselves in a bind. Say they could simply solve the problem by bringing up one of those young kids.

Not if they’re not ready, Luhow said.

“I’d rather go out and sign a free agent to fill a gap and give the player more development time,” said Luhnow, who was quick to point out that if a player shows they’re ready, he won’t hesitate to bring them up.

See, for the Astros, it’s a philosophy thing. They believe in the system. They think it works and Luhnow said he wants to stick by it. But he also admitted it can be tempting to break his own rules.

“It is tempting because it’s an easy solution and you might sell a couple extra seats and generate some buzz and excitement but I’ve seen it also backfire,” he said, “where you bring up a player and he’s not ready and then you damage his long-term potential and the enthusiasm around the player.”

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