This article is part of our Minor League Barometer series.
Prospecting can be difficult, to say the least. Development is not linear, even for the elite prospects. One can look at Forrest Whitley's early struggles at Triple-A this season, for instance. Or how about the rise and fall of Seuly Matias, the 20-year-old big bopper in the Royals system? Matias clubbed 31 home runs at Low-A as a teenager last year, coming from virtual anonymity to make many of the prospect lists. However, he hit just .231 and fanned 134 times in 94 games. Still, this was ignored because "he was young". In 2019, Matias has recorded only four home runs in 33 games at High-A and is struggling to make much contact by hitting .164 with 59 strikeouts. That's not to say last year was a fluke, or that Matias is never going to be a phenom to follow again. More so that it's easy to jump to conclusions from a good week, month or even year. Stringing together multiple solid seasons as the competition stiffens is clearly much better than riding the wave of a small sample size or even one solid year. It's also important to analyze the entirety of a player's skill set before declaring him a future star.
In the end, there's still a lot of guesswork in predicting which prospects will pan out. That goes for any sport, not just baseball. But at least baseball usually gives several years of minor league experience from which to draw conclusions. Make sure to use