Building something in baseball almost always requires using young players. Baker has taken his share of hits over the years for not having patience with youngsters, but he feels the charge is unwarranted. “ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not that I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like young players,” Baker said. “A lot of years, I never had many quality young players to work with. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s different here. There are a lot of very good young players in this organization, and many of them are going to have the chance to grow this season and I believe contribute to our team.”
“My feeling with young players is that I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think you should put them in a position where they are overmatched in the major leagues,” Baker said. “You can ruin a kid that way, and lose him forever. You have to be careful about their confidence level. You have to make sure they can be put into positions where they can succeed.”
Which is why Bruce was sent to Triple-A. While Baker believes Bruce will eventually become a superstar, he thought the 21-year-old was still vulnerable to big league pitching, as he struck out 11 times and walked just once in 43 plate appearances in exhibition play while posting rate statistics of .262/.279/.286.