Thursday, April 20, 2006

Into His Kitchen

I've been in the Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade County area this week. The high school teams are approaching their district tournaments and wrapping up their regular seasons. From what I've seen this year, there's no doubt that the strongest HS talent pool is located in these three counties. I would suspect that quite a few of the Florida state championship teams will come right from here. The community colleges also wrap up their regular season this week and the four-year programs will still be going strong through May and into June for those advancing.

Not surprisingly, this is around the time I see some fatigue related mental errors. For example, I was at a community college game this week scouting a freshman at third base. A real horse. Quick hands and impressive bat speed. Not afraid to let it loose. Especially with an inside fastball. I've watched him enough to know that pitchers with a runner on second and no outs will throw right into his kitchen and get burned by a hard shot to right field. It almost seems easier for him to hit it to right on an inside pitch. I love that ability in a kid.

But sometimes he's a bit too aggressive (or maybe impatient is a better word) given the situation at hand. For example, it was late in the game and his team was down by one. A runner was on third with one out. The infield was playing in. Mind you, he hadn't swung at the first pitch all night. And that strategy had served him well as he started 1 and 0 for his first three plate appearances.

He stepped to the plate and lo and behold, he took a hard swing at the first pitch and sent a ground ball to the second baseman. The second baseman held the runner at third and threw the batter out at first. The next batter popped out. End of inning and basically end of game.

I knew it drove me crazy to see him swing at the first pitch. And it certainly didn't help his cause that the ball was low and away. He had the pitcher in a hole. I could only image what his coach told him when he got back to the dug out. I sure know what I would've told him.

Impatience or perhaps lack of mental awareness. But either way, his mental tool broke down. And this was a good player who should go somewhere between the 30-40th round.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

say, man, you have interesting stuff. i have been in love with the game of baseball since i could breathe. i was thinking that maybe i am crazy but i would die to be a scout. please, if it's not too much trouble, could you give me some advice as to what steps i need to take in order to get where you are. i know nobody but am willing to learn. please help! my e-mail-
brian ball in texas

11:50 AM  
Anonymous notyourdoc said...

Cutter -

You say it drove you crazy because a player's mental tool broke down. I wonder, was that a problem for you during your playing days?

3:32 PM  
Anonymous notyourdoc said...

Cutter -

One more thought. Maybe the breakdown of this player's mental tool drives you crazy because you are struggling with your mental tools? Isn't that why you see the doc?

3:56 PM  

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