Results tagged ‘ scouting ’

Why baseball is better than football, part 482

Let me tell you a(nother) reason why baseball is the best game there is: There is no scouting combine.

Football scouts get information overload. The vast majority of pro-caliber football players are already playing three or four years worth of nationally-televised showcase games 8-9 times per season at big-time schools. Each player’s every move is taped in practice and games. The amount of information available on football players is huge already. Then there’s the week-long combine, also nationally televised.

Now look at baseball. Sure, there are showcase camps and Aflac All-American games where some
of the best amateur players get together to play against each other. But there is no one-stop-shop where scouts get to dress virtually every draft-eligible player in awkward spandex to evaluate. They have to figure out if some peach-fuzzed kid with a mid-90s fastball who doesn’t need to throw a curveball against overmatched competition at a tiny high school will end up being a better player than a guy who plays against the top college competition in the nation.

You know Jason Heyward, considered one of the best young players in the big leagues? Thirteen teams passed on him, many saying it was because they didn’t get to see him swing the bat – he walked too much when scouts were around. And this was a high-schooler, usually one of the easier places to scout. Mike Piazza? Maybe the best offensive catcher in history. Drafted in the 62nd round. Teams drafted 1,389 players before the Dodgers took him. The NFL brags “every pick counts” because Tom Brady was a seventh rounder. Please. While NFL scouts are asked to find players who can contribute months (and eventually years) after the draft, MLB scouts are sometimes asked to find a 16-year-old in Venezuela who could be productive in the big leagues 10 years later after developing in the minors.

And you know what that means? Just like a lot of people agree that hitting a round ball with a round bat is the toughest thing to do in sports, trying to FIND people who can do that is the toughest assignment in sports scouting.

  • From Buster Olney: Looks like the Gonzalez trade haul will be
    assigned like this… 1B Anthony Rizzo to Triple-A Tucson, RHP Casey
    Kelly to Double-A San Antonio, OF Reymond Fuentes to Advanced-A Lake
    Elsinore. Which, to me, increases the likelihood of an Everett Williams
    encore in Fort Wayne to start the year, but that’s just a guess. Also,
    Rizzo doubled off Simon Castro in an intrasquad game.
  • Spring Training games started this weekend and Fort Wayne alum C Nick Hundley hit a grand slam and former TinCaps 3B James Darnell homered.
  • Former TinCap RHP Matt Lollis keeps getting noticed, this time by the San Diego U-T. You get the feeling he never would have been under the radar if he hadn’t been injured his senior year of high school.
  • Fort Wayne alum OF/1B Kyle Blanks is hitting in the cage and playing defense in intrasquad games as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
  • How do you score runs without a masher like Adrian Gonzalez? Run wilder than Hulkamania, and Fort Wayne alum OF Will Venable could help in that department this year, especially with new first-base coach Dave Roberts.
  • Fort Wayne alum OF Cedric Hunter has had an up-and-down career – he led the
    Cal League in hits in 2008 and was third in batting average… behind
    Daniel Nava and Carlos Santana, both now in the big leagues.
  • Fort Wayne alum (and now-Rays RHP) Matt Bush pitched a perfect inning this weekend.
  • In this Padres roundup,
    the Opening Day payroll is around $46 million, the team sometimes pays
    guys more than league minimum (even when it doesn’t have to) and Orlando Hudson loves NASCAR.
  • Hey, remember John Roskos? Neither does anyone else, which is Bill Center’s point: He was a Spring Training legend and didn’t amount to diddly poo. The moral of the story is, don’t put too much stock in these games, especially this early.
  • Former Padres GM Kevin Towers recounts his final days with San Diego. They’re awkward.
  • The Diamondbacks-Rockies spring training facility looks awesome.
  • Fort Wayne alum (and now Minnesota Twins) OF Michael Cuddyer isn’t playing yet because of a wart on the bottom of his foot.
  • The Seattle newspaper profiles Fort Wayne native and Mariners manager Eric Wedge.
  • Marlon Byrd made history last year and was the first guy to have non-organ music played at Wrigley Field, and he goes with a song by somebody named Gang Starr? Come on, man!
  • From Baseball America: Bubba Starling, who is draft-eligible this year, is a better athlete than Mike Trout, Donovan Tate or Aaron Hicks were coming out of high school. Wow.
  • How do you make the Wedding of the Century even better? By making the reception a costume party. Ladies and gentlemen, Dave Hutte!
  • What does a wildly successful TV director/philanthropist, engaged to be married, do with his free time? He suggests Wonderlic test questions to ESPN’s Page 2… And gets the top spot. Ladies and gentlemen, Dave Hutte!
  • It took watching “Muppets from Space” to remind me how fantastic and curmudgeon-y Statler and Waldorf are. “I wonder if there’s life on other planets…” “Why do you care? You don’t have a life on THIS planet! DAHAHAHAHA!”

Musical guest… Weezer!

Take care!

DW

Invasion of the pod people

I’m a little late posting today, but it’s my boss’s fault. Michael Limmer, Jeff Greer and I met for a meeting (I called it a triple-threat Texas tornado cage match) this morning and it evolved into an all-encompassing media summit.

One thing that came out of that was this: I may start doing a podcast-ish type of thing during the season. It would probably be geared for people to listen to it on their way to work in the morning. Contents would probably be the previous night’s radio pre-game interview and a recap of the game with audio highlights, with potential for occasional bonus material.

So I’ll throw it out there and you can either answer in the comments or e-mail me (dan.watson@tincaps.com): Would you listen to this type of thing? What, specifically, would you like to hear? We have the technical ability to include phone interviews, so who would you like to hear from? Because Lord knows you hear enough of me. I’d appreciate any feedback you have.

Random thoughts:

  • If superheroes teach us nothing else, it’s that you should use your powers for good, not evil. Well, several TinCaps staff members are doing the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics this weekend. E-mail Abby Naas (naas@tincaps.com) if you want to donate.
  • I’ve been gathering info for a franchise history story for web and print use, and (imagine that) I’ve found it pretty interesting. Example: At the first game as the Fort Wayne Wizards (4/10/93 at Waterloo), the team turned a triple play. They haven’t turned one in the nearly 18 years since. Also that day, the team changed into their uniforms at the hotel before taking the bus to the ballpark because the clubhouse was so gross. The Waterloo general manager told the Wiz field manager that the team HAD to change at the ballpark moving forward, citing a “new Midwest League rule.” Compared to now, Minor League Baseball was like the Wild West crossed with Thunderdome back then. Anybody have other good Wiz/TinCaps stories?
  • Fort Wayne alum Jake Peavy is throwing 40-pitch bullpen sessions and long-tossing at 120 feet as he recovers from a weird shoulder-ish injury. He wants to be ready for opening day, but the team’s not so sure if he’ll get there, mostly because the injury is so rare that there’s no track record to draw from.
  • The Padres’ longtime bullpen catcher is battling pancreatic cancer.
  • At Wake Forest, the head baseball coach donated a kidney to one of his players. Suddenly, opening the season at LSU doesn’t sound so tough.
  • Who is on the front line of getting good baseball players into an organization? It’s scouts. Their reports are huge in who gets drafted by whom, who a team trades for, etc. So who’s the best at it statistically? Check it out now, funk soul brother.
  • Looks like the Indians will get a healthy Carlos Santana when they start spring training. Yesssssss.
  • The Michael Young trade talks are going slowly so far. Which is what happens when one team (the Rangers) has no leverage. Young has a big contract, he clearly wants out but only to eight specific teams — there’s almost no way the Rangers get fair value for him.
  • Here’s a story in defense of the Orioles‘ signing a bunch of old guys. I don’t necessarily agree with all of it, but it makes sense.
  • Fangraphs says that, believe it or not, the NFL would be wise to look to baseball as an example of how to deal with its labor issues.
  • People want to sue somebody, anybody, over the messed-up Super Bowl seat situation. If the Cleveland Browns were in the Super Bowl (stop laughing!) and I had tickets but ended up not being able to watch the game through no fault of my own, I’d be pretty fired up too. But a lawsuit? After getting paid three times the face value of the ticket, PLUS merchandise AND tickets and airfare to another Super Bowl?
  • This is easily the best Cavaliers-related thing to come out since June.
  • Dave Hutte Status Updates (there are three): “Taking the Jeopardy online test tonight!” / “Well, I don’t think I’ll be on Jeopardy anytime soon.” / “Our Valentine’s Day getaway starts tonight!” — It’s been a busy couple of days for Dave Hutte. I really wish he would get picked to go on Jeopardy and win enough to pay for an extravagant wedding. He’s the one person I know who could have that happen and it wouldn’t be all that surprising.

Musical guest… The Beatles!

Take care!

DW

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