I made an off-handed comment about the hype over the Dodgers' best hitting prospect a few posts ago. I hold no ill will toward Joc Pederson. In fact, if he was called up today to replace Carl Crawford or Andre Ethier, I wouldn't say a word.
My point was that you never know what you're going to get with prospects, no matter how good they look in the minors.
Part of my viewpoint on this is my age. The longer I am a fan, the less gullible and more cynical I've become. I've lived through Joe Simpson, Mike Marshall, Greg Brock, Jack Perconte, Mike Huff, Rafael Bournigal, Karim Garcia, Wilton Guerrero, Adam Riggs, Delwyn Young, Xavier Paul and a host of others that I've long since forgotten. They tore up Triple A and, at best, put together an average major league career.
The other reason I hesitate over players like Pederson is I live a long way from where the Dodgers' top prospects play. Albuquerque and Chattanooga, and before that, Las Vegas, Jacksonville and San Antonio, are nowhere near me. I don't get the chance to evaluate these players in person.
So, when another of these prime prospect types comes along, I stand with my arms crossed and say, "show me".
Well, Corey from the Tim Wallach blog did show me. In the form of cards. He happens to live where Pederson's name comes up more often than anywhere else outside of Los Angeles-based social media. Corey and Pederson each apply their trade in New Mexico, and apparently, judging by the package I received from Corey, there are stores in New Mexico that you can go to where all they sell are Joc Pederson cards.
How else would you explain this?:
I used to be proud of the seven Joc Pederson cards that I was able to muster before this package arrived at my home. Now, I have about 20 cards of a guy who has never played in the major leagues to this point.
This is very uncomfortable. I guess I'm collecting prospects now?
Since I try to avoid cards of players until they reach the majors, a couple of things I noted with these cards that prospect collectors already know or brush off:
1. The helmets. I can't get used to those helmets.
2. Player-collecting of minor leaguers is odd just because some of them aren't fully developed yet and you can see their body types and even their faces change over just a couple of years. This reminds me of how close these guys are to high school and it weirds me right out.
3. I don't collect "minor league only" cards unless it's a complete set issued by a team or a league. The Heritage minors set looks nice, but I can't get over that every player in it is a minor leaguer and I'd have a difficult time spending money on that.
4. The repetition of images would drive me to drink if I was a player collector.
5. I can't get over how accustomed I am to someone's first name being "Joc".
For the record, I hope Pederson has an exceptional career with the Dodgers, and that fans aren't demanding he be traded four years from now (but they probably will no matter how well Pederson is doing).
But even after more than doubling my Joc Pederson collection, I'm not ready to guarantee anything about his career.
That's because I remember Bobby Mitchell. And Billy Ashley. And Antonio Perez ...