Lessons learned this postseason
October, 8, 2007
You can stop at the Grand Canyon, or maybe Zion on the off-day drive. And while you're out there on the run from Phoenix to Denver, you can think about where the Texas Rangers might be today had Tom Hicks listened to former Rangers GM Doug Melvin instead of talking heads. Or how the Orioles might actually be relevant if Peter Angelos listened to anyone. Or what the Houston Astros might be with rational ownership. It was Melvin, now the Brewers' GM, who made the point last month that when the Yankees and Red Sox decided to go with young players in the heat of the pennant race, the free-agent market might be devalued, and Brian Cashman and Theo Epstein had built organizations with vast wingspans. But this offseason is about far more than Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury. It is about watching the Indians' organization, for instance, rise like the Trump Towers. And now, it's about watching the Diamondbacks and the Rockies and some of the best young players in the game in this, the Josh Byrnes October, since the current Arizona GM has had a prominent hand in the building of the Indians, Rockies and Red Sox, as well as his own team. The Diamondbacks' best young players -- Stephen Drew, Chris Young, Justin Upton, et al -- are really at the point the Rockies' young rocks were two years ago, when Matt Holliday, Brad Hawpe, Jeff Francis and Garrett Atkins were blossoming without the spotlight. That is, all except Troy Tulowitzki, a fellow rookie with 24 homers and 99 RBIs who is gaining consideration as the best defensive shortstop in the game. Tulowitzki led all major league shortstops in total chances (by 114), double plays and fielding percentage, and an official of one team that closely studies defensive statistics says "the difference between Tulowitzki and the second-place defensive shortstop is greater than the difference between No. 2 and No. 9."