Earlier this afternoon Rob Neyer posted this little dandy over at FoxSports.com which includes a recount of statements by Doug Melvin taking umbrage with a certain unnamed prospect guru who, Melvin feels, has vastly underrated the talents of one Ryan Scooter Gennett.
Personally, this episode reminded me distinctly of the recent Baseball Prospectus event at Miller Park, where a panel including Joe Hamrahi, Jason Parks, Mike Ferrin, Nick Faleris and others, were posed the question Brewers fans have been asking for years: "Why do you guys hate Brewers prospects?"
Parks' answer, in particular, stuck with me. He stood by by how he rated the players, and largely said his opinions of them are unchanged, but he added a very important caveat.
"What we do," he said, "is for page clicks. Teams know a lot more about these players than we do."
As fans, we invest a lot in what the national media perceptions are of our team, because we see them as being outside our bubble of fanhood. If they corroborate our positive impressions of our team, that's a validation to us that we're not just blindly cheering for laundry, hoping for the best (which we are, and I'd have it no other way). But it's important to remember that national media--whether they be a television sports network, or a coalition of serious, dedicated amateur scouts--are still in the business of being a media outlet.
So were the pundits wrong to think so lightly of the Brewers farm systems of the past few years? Well, no, not really at all. But the Brewers still developed a handful of solid major league players out of it. Because teams know more about this than any of us do.