Monday, November 14, 2005

Warning Track

Been out of pocket for the last five or so days. Can't quite explain other than I've got my good days and bad days. On one of my good days I was able to stop by South Georgia College this weekend to see their fall showcase. Manny had about a dozen players in his three-ring binder that were at the showcase. It was a good opportunity for me to see what they had and to scope out any talent that he either had missed or were up and coming HS juniors that he had never seen.

Fall showcases are a great place to see my prospects at work. Many of their workouts are like mini-exhibitions in hitting, running, fielding, throwing, etc. It's perfect for me. And there's always some time afterwards to talk with the players to see where they are coming from and where they want to go. Of course, college might be their aspiration and I certainly wouldn't talk a kid out of going to college if his heart was dead set on enrolling. I learned a long time ago that if the kid is leaning towards college...let him go. I'll still track him in college.

Now, don't mistake my comment for preferring a college kid over a high school kid. I'm not like my friend the "stat boy" who seems to ignore all high school talent in order to focus on his "can't miss" college wonderboys.

For me, however, they've been more like Pillsbury doughboys. Take the first baseman at Macon University that I scouted last week. You couldn't get a more pear shaped body than that kid. Short and stocky. I just wanted to poke him. Maybe I could scarf up some Toll-House cookie crumbs that he left on the basepath. What a treat for opposing hitters who get on first.

For those of you who know about OFP (Overall Future Potential) scores, he scored a whopping 36. If you just show up to the field, you get a 20. The best you can score is 80. The average major league player is 50. A fringe prospect starts at 40.

Let's start with his speed. He batted lefty (thank goodness) and I clocked him to first at 5.0 seconds. That's slower than molasses going uphill in the winter time. So, on a scale from 2 to 8, he got a 2. At the end, you add up the points and multiply by 2 to get his OFP. I also do a future OFP to see what he could become. He still got a 2 on the future OFP. I don't see him improving to a 4.4 which is what it would take to improve his score.

Next is fielding. He wasn't too fleet of foot when the ball was hit in his direction. The second baseman bailed him out on a slow dribbler that I was sure he could get to. He also misplayed several dirt balls where he failed to scoop it up properly. Present OFP for fielding was a 3. Future OFP same.

Arm strength is the next tool. It was pretty much dead center. No life. OFP was a 3. Future OFP same.

Hitting is where he had some potential. He had short arms which was to his advantage. Should get to the ball quicker. Not as many holes either. His rhythm was smooth. It wasn't like he was up their chopping down a tree. He was never off-balance either.

He seemed like he had a good strategy at the plate. He never took the first pitch and sometimes he even watched the second one. What I liked most was what he did with two strikes. He was aggressive. Not afraid to strike out. No fear. I could tell he was a survivor due to his hitting ability. This was probably why "stat boy" latched onto him.

Hitting for average, I gave him a 5 on the present OFP. A 5 on the future OFP. Hitting for power, I gave him a 5 on the present OFP and a 6 on the future OFP.

There you have it "stat boy." Read it and weap. Your "can't miss" prospect is a "no prospect" in my book.

Fyi...the 17th starts the HS Wood Bat Championship in Jupiter, Florida. I'll be there with about a million other scouts.

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