The Torture Of Potential

As we all know, Alex Reyes underwent an MRI today, and the worst happened: a UCL tear and Tommy John surgery resulting in a lost season and possibly decreased velocity when he comes back, meaning there is a chance, when he finally returns, that we’ll never see the dynamo that we saw at the end of last season.

This, my friends, is the torture of potential.

Reyes is different than Aledmys Diaz. Diaz, while we knew he was talented, wasn’t expected to do anything close to what he did (raising expectations that he’ll do the same this year, something I’ve covered in the past but may write more about in the future.)

Reyes, on the other hand, has been watched closely for a while. I myself have partaken in this. I remember drooling over videos of this young fireballer as he worked his way up the system, counting the days until he joined the big league club. I was slightly worried when he failed a drug test, but I ultimately dismissed it as a young kid making a mistake and resumed counting the milliseconds until he joined us.

The thing we’re losing track of here is that many highly touted prospects, whether due to personality issues or injury issues, flame out.

There is, of course, the famous case of Billy Beane, the former Mets prospect who flamed out and didn’t find success until he became a GM.

On a more local note, remember Rick Ankiel?

Ankiel was a two-way player, a rare talent who could pitch and hit. His potential tantalized us. In the end, looking at the stats, he had one good season as a pitcher, and one as a hitter for us, and that was it. Whatever the cause (it’s been a while since I’ve thought of Mr. Ankiel, and I wasn’t as ardent a follower of the Cards then as I am now.) he didn’t realize his full potential like we had hoped or expected.

And that’s the key here. We expect too much of these kids. One of my fellow bloggers said something along the lines of “fans are “reaching for their brown bags now to help them breathe”

We need to back off a little and lower our expectations. Our high expectations had nothing to do with this injury, but putting so much pressure on a 22 year-old isn’t healthy. It needs to be more like it was with Diaz: a pleasant surprise. Hopefully, the injury will help us ease off on Mr. Reyes a little, and when he comes back, we won’t put the world on his shoulders again.

As always, thanks for reading.

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