By The Baseball Beginnings Guy
November 21, 2010
Time now for another Sunday Baseball Beginnings mailbag. In this issue we tackle…whatever people asked me to.
Dear BB: I still read your articles even though my son has graduated and gone on to college. It is obvious that you enjoy these young players and writing about them. Thanks for good memories.
BB: Thanks for reading. I remember your kid.
Dear BB: Aaron Brown video: Been watching this kid since he was 4. T-Ball: Strong swing – ball usually sailed over outfielder’s heads. Had trouble keeping behind the lead runner. Been working on waiting his turn. Didn’t know about the hips. 14 years of loving baseball. Probably not a fan of public ‘mommy commentary…’
BB: You’re hired!
Dear BB: Could Max Homick generate more power if he used his lower half a little better?
BB: Probably, but the same could be said for just about every kid in America.
Dear BB: I have been reading quite a few of the 2011 infield lists and I always wonder why is it that Mikal Hill is left out or just on the fringe and he seems to always out play these guys in tournaments. I know all this is people’s opinion but it still has me curious.
BB: My policy is if I have never seen the guy, I don’t go on second-hand info. That’s why I haven’t covered him.
Dear BB: What is your take on the Kris Bryant situation. Baseball America was unusually harsh on him prior to the draft. The kid has done nothing but put up numbers. He has had much success off of good pitching. I saw him almost end Kevin Gausman’s career at the Metrodome and take Matt Hobgood deep at Dodger Stadium.
BB: When people don’t get what they want exactly when they want it, or get the answer they want exactly when they want it, they can go smear a guy. Me, I saw Bryant hit a ball 400 feet the opposite way last summer and I was the only scout there.
Dear BB: Shouldn’t Jack Marder’s “Dirt Dog” tag be a noun?
BB: No, it’s an adjective. It’s the type of player he is.
Dear BB: I have a Seth Rosin update for your readers. Seth is totally fine. They shut him down to rest his arm after a long season plus summer. His exit MRI was totally normal and he is already itching to get back. He’ll be in San Francisco for conditioning workouts. He’s also taking classes at the U of Minnesota this fall and volunteering at a local hospital, which Mom and Dad appreciate. He enjoyed his summer in Salem and thought he learned some good things. Topped out his FB at 96 so that was good. He is doing yoga and working out this fall to try to drop 10-15 lbs by spring training. Off to a good start – looks good.
BB: You’re hired!
Dear BB: Was wondering how Jed Bradley shaped up against the other left-handed starters in the 2011 draft. I feel he has everything to be one of the best possible lefties for this upcoming draft and was wondering what you felt.
BB: Loved Bradley. Smooth arm action, full circle and precise through the back, balanced and athletic, online extension and good landings. Ball comes out of his hand very well, feel for breaking ball and change-up, control of all three pitches. He’s not far away.
Dear BB: There was a person who I had an argument with regarding a prospect, and I know he isn’t a scout, though he would argue that he has been around professional baseball. He said that a particular prospect failed in A-ball at age 19, repeating there, so therefore he wasn’t worth keeping, just DFA him, and I argued that at 19, he should still be developing physically and therefore the power he showed in instructional league (I think he hit 6 HR in 60 AB) would eventually translate at higher levels.
I guess you can say I “won” the argument because the two hitters he touted over this prospect stalled out in the lower minors, while this prospect is now a bench player in the majors. But from what I understand from what you wrote, it is possible for a 19 YO to be physically matured, as each player is individual and that’s the art of scouting, trying to project which prospects will continue to mature and which will max out.
BB: Yes, the whole trick is to look at that which you cannot give him. If a guy has an ugly swing or an ugly arm action, he might get stronger and physically project, but it doesn’t mean he’ll be any closer to a major league prospect. There is also a danger in scouting performance over projection of young players, something that is more or less institutionalized in pro baseball today. People think that scouting young players is easy, but the fact that so few people in baseball take the time to truly study enough players to understand why one player succeeds and another fails speaks to arrogance, ego and impatience. They are kids. It doesn’t always happen the moment you want it to happen. Only in the rare cases does it work that way.
Dear BB: You mention teams that allow the scout to do well, but that most teams don’t have that. Do you know if the Giants are one that allow scouts to do well or are they part of the majority? They seem to have pretty good scouts, given their output in recent years, but it is hard to tell what is skill and what is a result of having high overall picks in the draft. Easy to look smart when picking 5th, not so much when picking 25th.
BB: I know lots about lots of things I don’t say on the site. Sorry to go scout on you.
Dear BB: Trevor Mitsui – Wow! Pretty swing, at least in the cage. Doesn’t need a big stride right now. Pretty quiet. Excellent hands/wrist flex. Thanks for the introduction. Is he a likely 1B?
BB: First base or left field. Maybe right. If he hits, they’ll find a position.
Dear BB: I was reading your interesting website and came upon the scouting report for a catcher from the 2010 draft. I am curious how or if scouts consider the age of the high school senior when they are scouting. For instance the catcher was a very old senior turning 19 when many were just turning 18. Since there are a lot of kids being held back for sports, when you see a young 18 year old senior, is that noted in the scouting report? It seems like a year makes a huge difference in filling out the body, power potential and strength.
BB: The answer is yes but not always yes. Yes, determining correct age is part of an area scout’s job. And if you have a 19-year old high school senior over an 18 or a 17-year old, then you really do have to be careful with that. This fits with the previous question. Physical projection alone does not make one more of a major league prospect than it does not. I’ve seen old high school seniors that I really liked, even going into college. You have to be careful. If the guy can swing the bat, the guy can swing the bat. The holding kids back almost always seems to happen with position players, too, by the way. In this case, regarding the player you are asking about, I liked his bat at the time. I’ve heard OK reports on him in college thus far. So my answer is it needs to be considered, but if you like the guy, you have to like the guy. If you don’t want to like him, give me a reason why, but don’t use the age. If you think the guy won’t hit, tell me why. I know a 17-year old high school guy who was drafted really high. I have no idea if he will hit as a pro, and my reason is because I don’t see the bat control. The 19-year old you mentioned, I thought could hit in a few very limited looks. So here’s a case where I think the 19-year old high school senior is a better offensive prospect than the 17-year old high school senior. Now maybe the 17-year old will solve things and he does have those two years or so to develop. If the 19 year old doesn’t hit starting today, he’s going to be left behind pretty fast.