Let's face it: The times of the San Francisco Giants bringing in big-money players that make an immediate impact are over.
With General Manager Brian Sabean putting an emphasis on the youngsters throughout the entire Giants system, patience from the fans, more than ever, is vital to the team's success.
As we have seen with the Tampa Bay Rays this season, a team can go from completely sucking to the World Series in just a year's time. While the Giants will probably miss the playoffs again next season, there are pieces in place already, and some help on the way, to be optimistic.
You have players like Pablo Sandoval and Emmanuel Burriss coming out of nowhere to all but cement themselves as regulars in 2009. Young relievers like Alex Hinshaw and Sergio Romo were on very few people's radars at the beginning of 2008.
But with all the kids who had solid debuts last season, they are still young and learning the tricks of the trade.
Add to that uber catching prospect Buster Posey, who will be on the fast track over the next year. Most fans are going to look at his $6.2 million signing bonus as the only reason why he should be in the majors, but even though he might be more advanced than most headlining prospects, he still has a lot to learn, and he has said it himself.
When the Giants decided to put an emphasis on youth in 2006, when they drafted Tim Lincecum, it signalled that things may take a little bit.
And that is exactly what is happening.
Madison Bumgarner and Tim Alderson had stellar first-full years at Low-A and High-A, respectively. But both of them are just 19, with Alderson about to turn 20, so expecting big things of them in the same way any time soon, as in during the 2009 season, would be a little too much to ask.
But what these two need, considering their age, is time.
People might compare them to Lincecum, just because all three of them were high-profile pitchers, but Lincecum had three years of college ball at the University of Washington. If Bumgarner and Alderson were in college, they would both be in the middle of the fall semester of the sophomore year.
Before Posey was drafted, the Giants' top hitting prospect was first baseman Angel Villalona. And while it may seem like Big V has been around for years, he is only a 18-year-old kid.
So, the Giants top prospects are: 21, 19, 19, 18.
And you want to rush them why?
All of these guys are younger than I am, and trust me, as a recently turned 22-year-old, I still have a lot to learn. These guys are professionals, yet they are still learning, more so for Villalona, considering he has only been in this country for a little less than three years. So putting so much pressure on them and demanding they need to be rushed is somewhat confusing.
And while people complain about Barry Zito's contract and where it has put the Giants, if the Giants went out and overspent on another free agent or two, where do you think that would put the franchise?
The Giants are doing something right, for the first time in a while. The emphasis on youth will payoff in the next few years, but the fans can't be like Rays fans and just disappear through the tough times and reappear in September of a pennant run.
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