Thursday, November 03, 2005

0 for 4 and One Error

No takers on the scouting report? Maybe some other time. Before I go on though, understand that most of my brethren believe that the kid I watched tonight will go in the first round. I counted seven scouts in the stands. Of course, I knew all of them, but many if not most of the parents didn't have a clue. To their credit, however, it's not like we go around with our team's logo on our chest. It just works better that way. They don't need to know us, but we know them only if we need to.

Anyhow, the kid went 0 for 4 tonight and kicked a ball while playing short for one error. My friend over at Performance Scouting, Inc., is probably writing this kid off as I type. On second thought, he did have one walk. That should count towards his precious on-base percentage. And did I mention that I received another email from my friend today? A statistical batting analysis of every catcher that plays college ball in Georgia. Can you believe that crap? I tried emailing to mention that he's wasting his time. I'll let you know if he responds. FYI...his email address had the name of a law school in central Georgia after the @ symbol. There went my Harvard theory.
The fundamental difference between me and "the stat boy" is what I can see this kid becoming. I could care less that the kid went 0 for 4. It's how he went 0 for 4 that concerns me the most. Compare these two extremes. On one hand, let's say he grounded out on the first pitch thrown to him on each of his at bats. On the other, let's say he caused the pitchers to deliver over 35 pitches in his five plate appearances. Which 0 for 4 performance would you take?

As a scout, it's actually valuable for me to see a talented kid go 0 for 4. How well does he handle the disappointment of going 0 for 4? He better handle it well because when he gets to the minors, I can guarantee he will have dry spells. Most kids coming out of high school aren't used to dry spells. They are used to dominating. But if he throws his helmet, utters a buffet of four-letter words, fails to re-focus himself, and drags his teammates down with him, I'm looking elsewhere.

Does he run out the play at full speed or dog it down to first? I've got my stopwatch going from the moment the ball makes contact with his bat until the moment his foot stomps the bag at first. If he dogs it, I can't get a good read on his speed and that is extremely frustrating for a scout.

How does he carry himself after kicking a ball into the dirt at shortstop? Is he visibly shaken. Does his anger carry over to the next batter, or worse -- the next inning. I've seen talented kids strike out on their first two at-bats and become so distraught that it's a gimme they're going 0 for 4 that night. A player's ability to put things behind him and move on is an extremely important skill in baseball and cannot be overstated. Maybe "the stat boy" can get me some numbers on kids who start the game 0 for 2 and end up 2 for 4?

Seriously, tomorrow I go back to northern Orlando to watch Dallas Parker pitch. Hopefully he can stick it out for five innings and not cause a bench-clearing brawl beforehand.


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