Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Foul Territory (Part I)

I'm down here in southwest Florida trying to catch some JuCo workouts. I watched Venice Community College and Ft. Myers Community College yesterday. There were four potential draft prospects that I wanted to touch base with. All sophomores. Two pitchers, one shortstop, and one center fielder. Not outstanding ball players but all should go in the bottom third.

Today, I was able to see Golden Gate College and Naples JC in their afternoon workouts. There were two freshmen for Naples JC that I would consider to be draft and follow material. Both were drafted out of high school in the 40+ rounds but neither signed. I actually scouted them in high school and had them both projected to go somewhere near the 35th round. That's why it didn't surprise me to see several of my scouting counterparts watching them too. No doubt there would be some competition for their services in the coming draft.

Back at my hotel at the end of the day, I opened the old laptop. My routine is to update my reports on the players that I'm following for the upcoming draft and to submit new reports for kids that I'll be following for the draft in 2007. Each evening, these reports are automatically sent to Donald DeSear, our national scouting director and to our 35-year old GM, Logan Cooper. Occasionally, I would get an email back from them wanting additional information on particular players.

Checking my email for any such requests, I noticed one that didn't quite have the look of SPAM but I also didn't have a clue who sent it to me. As I opened it, I saw several scouting reports, or rather attempted scouting reports, for three position players. The trio were seniors at a small four-year college in Warner Robbins, Georgia. My territory. But what stood out the most was the amount of statistical data in the reports. Different types of statistics too. For example, there was one stat that measured the percentage of pitches outside the strike zone that the player swung at. There was also a heavy emphasis on walks, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. Blah. Nonsense.

It just wasn't how I looked at baseball. To me, the foundation of baseball was and always will be embedded in the five tools: Hitting for average, hitting for power, fielding, arm strength, and speed. My job is to evaluate and project what a player can become based on his tools, not his statistics.

I looked over at the large three ring binder lying on my bed. It was the scouting reports for my part of Georgia and South Carolina that Manny had completed. Just for kicks, I walked over to it and flipped it open to Georgia. I thumbed my way over to Middle Georgia State College. He was scouting two outfielders. Neither of which were the three players mentioned in the email. That bothered me. Did he even give these guys a look? If so, what did he think of them?

The reports came from some company that I've never heard of before. The person who sent the email wrote at the bottom that if I was interested in getting more of these reports for prospects in my territory that I could call the number below. I was curious more than anything as to why they chose to look at three different players than what Manny was looking at. Did they not look at the two that Manny was tracking? Or perhaps they did take a look but didn't like what they saw? If so, why?

I can't believe I'm even considering calling that company tomorrow. I really don't need any help. Especially from some punk who probably graduated from Harvard with a math degree and never played a lick of ball in his entire life.


Blogger Hardball101 said...

I love this blog sir. Are you still scouting?


11:56 PM  

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