It happens every year to almost every team. General managers are scared to death by the possibility of it happening, but the potential for greatness is too good to pass up. It's a double-edged sword. It's bitter sweet. It's a whole bunch of cliches.
It's calling up a young prospect when you're not quite sure he is ready.
You remember names like Craig Hansen and Cla Meredith? Both former Red Sox that showed a lot of promise in the minor leagues. Their success was too good, actually, and when they got called to the big leagues they responded like a scared turtle going into its shell. And, well, they got shelled. It was too early for those too and the Red Sox never saw anything good out of them.
They were pitchers, though. Being a pitcher at the Triple-A level and making the jump to the major leagues is like traveling to a whole new world. The same with hitting; it's a much different task facing Enrique Gonzalez one night and Johan Santana the next.
But what about when it comes to defense?
This all sparked in my head when thinking about Jose Iglesias, the defensive whiz, the future shortstop of the Red Sox, the One. You know this guy. The one scouts think could win a Gold Glove (for whatever that is worth) if he was playing in the big leagues today.
Now I'm not jumping the gun here. I love Marco Scutaro, the current Red Sox shortstop. I think he's fantastic in every aspect of the game and I want him in Boston right now. But what if he got hurt and would miss the rest of the season? Do you call up Jose?
I'm in the boat that no matter what the players' defense is like, it's going to stay true from A ball to the MLB. Bringing up Jose now we'd see the same Jose in the field. That's great, but we're not just worried about defense when it comes to Iglesias. We need to think about the whole package.
Iglesias could come up and start hitting right off the bat. As great as that would be, it would be highly unlikely. Not just because people think he needs time to develop his skills at the plate, but because -- for anyone -- that's just a really tough jump. Odds are he's going to struggle and probably struggle badly. When that happens, it's not just an issue at the plate. It could effect his whole game.
Let's take Jose out of this equation, though, and answer the original question. This is thrown out to you, Red Sox fans:
When defense is your concern, can you bring up a prospect too quickly? What are the implications of it all? Do you think the good defense will stick, or is there really a difference between playing great defense in the minors versus the big leagues?