The Future Moves On

With Spring Training now nearly half over, teams are slowing starting to make personnel decisions that affect the players. Those going to be on the Major League roster will start to need more playing time as they build stamina towards Opening Day. The extended playing time for starters means less time for others. All of the players in camp have skills and will be playing the season at some level so they too will need extended playing time. For this reason, teams will begin reassigning players to their minor league camps so that they can work with their starters to build the stamina necessary to be prepared. The Arizona Diamondbacks began making these decisions today when they sent nine players to their minor league facilities. One of those reassigned was 2005 first round draft pick and first overall pick Justin Upton. Upton is a 19 year-old kid just one year removed from worrying about who to take to the homecoming dance or whether his parents would let him take the car out for his date. No one should have expected that Justin Upton would come into Spring Training before starting his second year of professional baseball and crack the 25-man roster. Well no one except Justin Upton.

The Diamondbacks coaching staff and veteran Major League players all sang the praises of unlimited potential when describing the bright young star in the Diamondbacks farm system. They talked of his attitude and the way he handled himself both on and off the field. They spoke of his speed and his plate discipline and how bright his future looks. All of their comments ended the same, “but he is only 19”. That is of course the frustration for young people in general. No matter how old they are there is always someone out there to remind them of the opportunities that would be theirs when they get “just a little older”. It is the one challenge facing Upton that no amount of hard work or talent can overcome. He can’t make himself older. So for now he is moving his gear out of the Diamondbacks clubhouse and setting up residence in the minor league facilities to get ready for the challenges he will face in the California League playing for the Visalia Oaks. One thing seems certain, Justin Upton represents the future of the Diamondbacks and the future seems to come quicker than any of us anticipates.

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