I believe that this is an important question for Royals management to be considering. I don’t know if any analysis has been done, but with the exception of the quick September reality tour, I’ve never liked calling up rookies after the month of May. Here is my logic. If a player is called up mid-season and any kind of struggles or kinks appear, then there isn’t time to work these out and solidify the improvements before the season ends. This puts the player and their position in limbo going into the following season. Often, waiting a couple of months seems akin to washing away an entire season. Kyle Isbel is a good example of a player who benefited from starting out the season in MLB. He had time to fail, go down, and come back to success.
Conversely, if a guy comes up late and posts a couple of good months, the season ends about the time the league is ready to adjust to him. He then is a bit complacent in the off-season and starts next season thinking the road is smoother than it’s probably going to be. Let’s throw Ryan O’Hearn into this enigma. There are guys who come up late and never struggle, but they are the one’s who were probably going to do so regardless of the hand they were dealt.
I greatly prefer that every player gets a chance to work maximum time on new challenges before shutting it down for the fall and winter. I see playing Carlos Santana in hopes that he becomes "trade-able" as just too small of a potential return for its opportunity costs. I can’t see him as likely being traded except for the the scenario where he plays solid ball all the way to the trade deadline. Multiple contending teams probably won’t have first baggers go down early in the season. I much more value giving Nick Pratto and/or MJ Melendez the best opportunities to succeed over seeing if Santana can salvage a half-season of a bad contract.
As a fan, I think it’s great to have opening day with a new face or two in the lineup when rebuilding is on the menu. Then, it’s nice after some mathematics have been occurring for a few weeks to get an interest bump from having another touted prospect or two arrive. It seems like 2022 is a season where it is in the interest of both players and fans to get the key guys up before Memorial Day. Does anyone else believe that the timing of promotions matters, and especially for the Royals this season?