Name a prospect we kept down too long who when called up did so well, you said to yourself, I wish we had called this guy up earlier?
I can't think of any off hand. Maybe HanRam? He was in Portland at age 21 and was traded to Florida and had a great rookie year.
There were a few that did well right out of the box, but then fizzled (Weiland, Gabbard, Middy...), but none of these guys spent too long in the minors or ended up proving themselves to be top notch ML players.
Should we have brought up Youk earlier and benched or not gotten Millar in 2004?
Brandon Moss got a couple short looks at age 24 & 25 before going to Pittsburgh where he struggled for years. He'd never have gotten a chance to struggle that long with the Sox. It took him until 29 to do well.
Papelbon came up at 24-25, but he wasn't sure if he was a starter or closer at that time and was not that great on the farm.
Lester came up at age 22-23 and battled cancer. Should he have come up earlier?
Pedey had just 250 ABs in Portland and 600+ in Pawtucket, before coming to Boston at age 22-23. He struggled in 2006 and the first part of 2007. Nobody thought we took too much time with him, in fact the early argument was we rushed him.
Ellsbury skipped through the minors as fast as anybody and considering his first full professional season was in 2006, he was with the Sox late 2007. We fast-tracked the one that needed to be.
Buchholz came up at age 22-23. Should he have come up earlier?
Would Bowden, Lars Anderson or Kalish have made it to the bigs had we not slowed their growth by keeping them down too long?
How about Middlebrooks? Iggy? Rizzo? Reddick? Did we mess them up?
Of course a team in playoff contention most of the time cannot afford to hand a FT job to a marginal prospect or even a top prospect very often. We haven't had any Trout's or Harper's around here recently.
I think we do just about right with our kids. By holding off bringing them up, we gain prime years of team control- not developmental years on the big stage.
One could even make an argument that the one guy we fast-tracked and it worked (Ellsbury) would have given us more production had we waited until 2009 (age 25).
Yes, he helped us win a ring in 2007, but he was benched in 2008. His 2014 season is better than his 2008 season and this is the year of the pitcher.