Even the next wave of talented baseball prospects are still bad at something

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CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 07: Jo Adell #25 of the American League Futures Team looks on during batting practice prior to the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Progressive Field on Sunday, July 7, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Los Angeles Angels prospect Jo Adell is a great baseball player who struggles with four-way stops. (Getty Images)

CLEVELAND — Well, sure, Gavin Lux is 21 years old and handsome enough and a millionaire and batting .500 in Triple-A and on Sunday played in the Futures Game here, which is fine if all you want out of life is everything.

He can’t make pasta, though.

For that matter, Cincinnati Reds outfielder Taylor Trammell can’t dance. Like, at all. People tell him all the time. And San Diego Padres left-hander MacKenzie Gore can’t sing. And Kansas City Royals right-hander Brady Singer is awful, plain awful, at video games.

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Jo Adell is 20 years old and handsome enough and has twice as many millions as Gavin Lux does and is raking in Double-A and on Sunday played in the Futures Game here, which is cool if you’re into all that.

He goes to pieces at four-way stops, though.

Which makes him so much like the dude who inches and stops, inches and stops, waves the wrong car through, inches and stops, hits the turn signal, gets the windshield wipers instead. ... So much like, I don’t know, us?

So, the conversation in the American and National league clubhouses in the hours before the All-Stars arrived was about having baseball sort of whipped, as much as it can be whipped at 19 or 20 or 21 years old, so being pretty great at that, and then where the personal vulnerabilities lie.

The question -- What are you terrible at that you wish you could be great at? -- brought long, youthful examinations of the ceiling. At a certain age, the answer is, Where do I start? At 19 or 20 or 21 years old, the eyes say, I’m bad at something?

“That’d be basketball,” Seattle Mariners right-hander Justin Dunn said. “Basketball. I’m a baseball rat. That’s all I’ve ever done. And my little brother is so good.”

They are seven years apart. And Justin started losing one-on-one games three years ago when he was 20 and his brother was 13.

“If his shot is falling,” Justin said, “it’s a long, long day.”

Being a prodigy will put you in a major-league clubhouse at, say, 22, even for just a day, but it will not stop you from deleting a Fortnite app in a fit of exasperation.

“My fingers don’t work right,” Singer said. “Nothing works.”

And it will not stop you from lobbying buddies against hanging out at Top Golf.

“I have gotten progressively worse since I was little,” Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Daulton Varsho said. “I guess it just doesn’t go with my swing.”

And it will not stop you from spending many hours in the woods.

“I’m a terrible golfer,” Philadelphia Phillies infielder Alec Bohm said. “The ball, uh, doesn’t go in the air. Either goes way to the right. Or way to the left. And then it’s hard to find.”

Ian Anderson, a right-hander for the Atlanta Braves, played some saxophone in high school. He admitted, “I wasn’t very good.” The enduring thing about the saxophone, of course, is even if it’s bad, it’s still loud. Granted, he said, “I never practiced.”

A few years removed from that experience, Anderson still has greatness in mind.

“I’d like to play an instrument,” he said. “Or be able to sing. You could impress the room, wherever you go.”

The sax is out, though.

“Guitar,” he said. “Or piano. Something smooth.”

CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 07:  Members of the National League Futures Team are seen on the base path during player introductions prior to the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Progressive Field on Sunday, July 7, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Members of the National League Futures Team are seen on the base path during player introductions prior to the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Progressive Field on Sunday, July 7, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Getty Images)

Gore, the Padres lefty from North Carolina, could sing along. But Anderson would have to promise not to listen. Gore is a Kenny Chesney fan who, in conversation, actually sounds a bit like Kenny Chesney. Apparently, right up until the music starts.

“It’d probably be nice to sing a little bit,” Gore said. “That’d be something. When I’m by myself I sing along.”

He videoed himself singing once. Played it back. Watched for a little while. And thought, “That’s not very good.”

Back to the mound. Joey Bart, the San Francisco Giants prospect, would gladly catch him, long as Bart didn’t have to do “anything artistic. Anything artistic. I’m challenged there. Painting, singing, anything. Anything performance-based.”

Put a bat in his hands and fill a big-league stadium, Bart is good to go.

“But,” he said, “in front of 15 people, if I had to do something, I would melt down.”

Diamondbacks outfielder Alek Thomas wishes he was a better bowler. He’s pretty sure he averages about 140 with a straight-on style. He does not own his own ball or bowling shoes. All rental for Alek, a man of the people.

“I love bowling,” he said. “But I’m just not as good as I think I am.”

A common malady. Trammell, the Reds prospect, frequently breaks out in something that feels like dancing.

“Can’t dance,” he insisted. “Can not dance.”

As being a poor dancer is like driving 30 miles with a left turn signal barking, in that often the afflicted is the last to know, Trammell said he gets feedback.

“Every day,” he said. “Every day in the outfield. They’re like, ‘No, that’s not good, man.’ ”

It’s good to have friends. Unless they’re hungry.

Lux, the Dodgers shortstop who is talented and bright and one day headed to LA, earned a nice signing bonus, which is fine because somebody was going to have to pay for the meal service.

Because you know what he really wants to do?

“Make spaghetti and meatballs,” he said. “Got your protein. Your carbs.”

Problem is, he said, “I’m the worst cook ever. I can’t even make mac and cheese.”

His mom tried to teach him some basics.

“Yeah, didn’t go well, obviously,” he said.

Well, he’s hitting .500 since getting to Triple-A Oklahoma City a week ago. That will get him a long way. That and a GrubHub account.

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