Shortstop Oneil Cruz became an internet sensation during the summer of 2021, thanks to clips of him tattooing doubles at 113 miles an hour off the bat and nailing runners at home plate with rocket throws from the outfield.
In the internet age, it’s possible to track the career of prospects from the draft (or international signing) day until the moment they hit the show. With pages of data on minor league players available with the press of a button, YouTube videos ready to show highlight-reel plays that otherwise would’ve happened in anonymity and a rumbling hype building on social media like a distant tsunami wave as big-name players climb through the minor leagues, the casual fan has a grasp of their team’s prospects like never before.
With that wealth of information comes a drawback. Expectations for young players have been turned completely upside down as every moment of their athletic careers goes under the microscope.
As the Pirates continue to rebuild their entire organization through the draft, it’s crucial to keep reasonable expectations. That’s not to say one should embrace mediocrity and blindly excuse poor play: merely that not every player is a future Hall of Famer. In the same breath, not every error a player makes means they’re destined to be DFA’d.