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There's No Such Thing as a Pitching Prospect

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There's no such thing as a pitching prospect. So says the good people over at Baseball Prospectus. And the Dodgers' Edwin Jackson is almost the posterboy for their theory. Less than two years ago, Jackson was 19 and one of the most highly touted prospects in the game. Today he is 21, still young, but struggling mightily. On Thursday, Jackson was battered for seven runs in five innings against the Cleveland Indians. He's now given up 14 runs in 14 1/3 innings in spring training and seems destined for Las Vegas.

It's time baseball teams start realizing that pitching prospects just take a really long time to develop, especially lefthanders. It is foolish to rely on them. It is foolish to expect much from them. Not that the Dodgers were actually expecting much from Jackson, but his ineffectiveness has left them in a bit of a bind.

Jeff Weaver, Derek Lowe, Odalis Perez, and Scott Erickson are assured of rotation spots. But with Brad Penny coming back slowly, Wilson Alverez dealing with a weak arm, and Kaz Ishii now a Met, the fifth spot in the Dodgers rotation is shaping up to be a battle between Elmer Dessens, Ryan Rupe, D.J. Houlton, and Buddy Carlyle. That's putting an awful lot of faith in the pitcher-friendly confines of Dodger Stadium.