The Cardinals have a young, left-handed hitter in his second full year in the majors.
While he showed flashes as a rookie, the kid has been exasperating, hasn’t he? While fans expect him to hit at least in the high 200’s, a prolonged slump takes him down…and causes consternation among Cardinal Nation. There are trade rumors, and many fans can’t wait to make a move to get rid of him. Even though he’s been a terrific minor leaguer and someone the Cardinals have planned for the future with for several years, the impatience of fans and media is palpable.
Sounds like Colby Rasmus, doesn’t it?
But the Cardinals reject the impatience of fans with this hitter, who drops all the way BELOW .200 in mid-July of his second full season. Then, the light bulb goes on. After hitting .187 through July 9, he winds up hitting .299 the rest of the way to finish at .289. Then, he hits .291 with 91 RBI and two years after that leads the league with a .344 mark and with 48 doubles in winning the MVP.
The player was Keith Hernandez.
I was a kid when Cardinal fans wanted to trade him in his second full season of 1976 for Willie Montanez of the Giants. They didn’t. And, as Hernandez helped the Cardinals to the 1982 World Championship, Montanez played his final season in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, hitting just .208.
Watch the talent. Enjoy as it blossoms. Don’t react to a twenty-game stretch, or even a half-season. Sure, you’re frustrated by Rasmus now. But don’t dream of trading him for the next Willie Montanez. Because in three years, he could wind up winning an MVP award for you, and the guy you get could slide backward in a hurry.