Thursday, February 23, 2006

Left Stranded (Part I)

Just spent a couple weeks down in South Florida. Carson is still "PC geek" in my book, but he's coming along. My biggest problem is going to enough games with him to teach him the art of scouting. To him, it's still a science. A computer science project. But it helps to not only have him hear what I'm saying but to see it live under real game conditions. His knowledge of baseball trivia is remarkable, but he is rather weak on the tiny nuances of the game that are critical to my work. He also needs a lot of work on his writing skills. What most people don't realize is how much writing a scout does. You've got to be able to articulate what you see and then put it to words in a meaningful way.

I say he's coming along because of what he showed me yesterday. He took me to a JC game to look at a freshman center fielder named Donnie McLaughlin. A kid I had already seen in high school at least a dozen times. But Carson didn't realize it. He thought that this was truly the first time I had seen the player and I didn't let on any different. I wanted him to explain to me what he saw in the kid and to then tell me what he might become.

Several scouts were in earshot as Carson gave it his best shot. Even they were impressed with Carson's evaluation of Donnie. But impressed me the most was that he left his statistical jargon at the front gate. At least he was trying to change his perspective. Unfortunately, I had to show him that what may look terrific on the field might not be what our organization needs.

"So where did he go in the draft last year?" I asked.

Carson shrugged. "I was just trying to focus on the tools."

"45th round," answered Bobby Leonard, one of the scouts seated two rows below us.

Carson was dumbfounded. "How could someone with that much talent and all the tools not go in the early rounds?"

"Not all the tools," I replied. "Isn't that right Bobby?"

Bobby nodded. "Got some issues with the law."

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