Mark R. Pachankis
Where will Carlos Correa finish the season?
Based on the history of how Luhnow and company seem to operate, you have to believe that they feel no rush whatsoever to promote Correa to the next level until they're sure he's completely ready for it. Given that, the question mostly has to be "when do you think Correa will be ready to move to AA?"
AAA, after all, is extremely unlikely. There's basically no history with Luhnow moving guys up multiple levels in the same season. He likes to take things slow, so you have to assume it will either be A+ Lancaster or AA Corpus Christi.
I'm leaning towards him spending the entire season in Lancaster, though it's far from a slam dunk. His age, his recent minor injury trouble, and Luhnow's tendency to move guys more slowly than you might expect, all play a role in this.
As well, I don't think it's said enough that Luhnow really likes all the teams to be competitive, and if there's too much movement, it's hard to keep them all winning. If you move Correa up, who takes his place in Lancaster at shortstop? Chan Moon? And then who take's Moon's place in Quad Cities? That's not to mention that you have Fontana and Mier already splitting playing time at shortstop in AA. It would certainly be easiest to just leave Correa in Lancaster, and it would most certainly help that team win more games and compete in the playoffs, which Luhnow values as part of prospect development.
As for Correa himself, his performance has been quite solid, especially considering his age, but he hasn't been on fire either. Currently, he's hitting .300/.366/.463 with two homers, two triples and three doubles. These are very good numbers, but in the California League, they're not quite as impressive. If he had been making California Leauge pitching look utterly overmatched, it would be one thing, but he's had his share of struggles this year in a small sample size.
With Correa, you never know. It's clear the front office is very high on him, and you could argue that that fact works in his favor of being promoted to AA this year. However, the fact that he's already in A-Advanced full season ball despite being 19 years old is already the big indication of the front office's love for him, and anything higher would be pushing it a bit. It could go either way, but I'm leaning towards him staying with Lancaster all season, like he did with Quad Cities last year. I sure wouldn't mind being proven wrong though.
Luhnow says it was his mistake sending Appel to Lancaster without a proper spring training.
We didn't get a question about this as much as a comment, so rather than an answer, I'd just like to give my own perspective, and hopefully spur some discussion.
I think he's drawn a lot of criticism for this, and I have to admit that, on some level, it's at least partially deserved (it was a mistake, after all, and that can't just be glossed over). However, it's important to remember that he's human, and we all make mistakes.
MLB GMs will make more mistakes than some other professions as well, because job is just that difficult; this man is balancing preparing for the draft with scouting the opposition, scouting internationally, and player transactions, promotions, demotions, performance, coaching and health across nearly ten different levels of competition, from the Majors, all six minor league affiliates (don't forget that two of them haven't even started playing yet), extended spring training, the Gulf Coast League, the Dominican Summer League and so on. To not expect some missteps and miscalculations would simply be exceedingly unrealistic.
So, yes, this was a mistake. No getting around it. But it can and has been corrected, and instead of trying to dodge the issue, shift the blame or play it down, he's come out and said, publicly, yes, this was definitely a mistake and it's one that he, and no one else, is responsible for. In an industry full of clichés and spin and secrecy, I can't help but respect that.
Are you okay with Jeff Luhnow? Does he get a pass, or do you think this mistake is too egregious for some reason?