Sometimes it is so difficult to take one's own advice.
When the Athletics traded for Daric Barton in 2004, along with Dan Haren and Kiko Calero for Mark Mulder, I could not believe that Oakland copped the Cardinals first round pick in 2003, number 28 overall in the amateur draft.
In 2005, his first full season in the Oakland chain, Barton hit .317-13-89 over 135 games, and even better, he walked 97 times to whiffing 79. In fact, Barton scored in the Top Ten of my Top 250 prospect list that year, at age 19, and again made the Top Ten in 2006 when even though injured he hit .257-2-14 with a .389 OBP, largely based upon that total and the facts that he was 20 and performing at AAA.
I even saw Barton at the AFL over that period, and selected him for a number of my Ultra teams, savoring the time when he would be a starter.
In 2007 Barton debuted in the majors, and based upon the .347-4-8 numbers over 18 games, the savoring morphed into salivating. I activated him in every team I could for use in 2008.
He went .226-9-47 over 140 games, with a paltry .327 OBP. The next year was worse as Barton lost his starting gig, going .269-3-24 over 54 games. By then I had seen him play enough to think Barton could not get around on a fastball, nor could he hit hard and down on the ball, producing those beautiful line drives he had shown as a minor leaguer.
So, I dumped him all around. I did not notice his OBP had raised itself to .372, and glossed over the fact that he was still just 23, thinking in his third year it was time to step it up. I mean, that is the essence of my argument about most players following the path of Paul Konerko instead of Frank Thomas.
Well, I think I blew it. Barton was a tailor made sleeper in my own backyard had I not been so smitten by man-crush.
For this year he is hitting .318-0-7 over 15 games, with a .498 OBP, and leads the league with 15 walks.
Beware the man-crush. Embrace patience, and the discards of others.
And you shall succeed.