As always, full scouting reports on guys like this would not be an efficient use of my time (or I’ve already written them) but you should be informed nonetheless. Enjoy.
A half decade has passed and an entire farm system’s worth of Phillies prospects have been shuttled to one team or another in exchange for a litany of significant big league pieces. Of those sent packing, almost none have gone on to do anything significant. Hell, Carlos Carrasco was DFA’d last week. But now Jarred Cosart, one of the few ex-Phils prospects likely to make an impact of some kind at the big league level, has been summoned from the minor leagues. And he’s already made some pretty serious noise.
Before you read my scouting report on Maikel Franco, I ask that you read the next few paragraphs.
“They’re not all (Buster) Posey.”
Those were the words spoken to me by a front office executive at a game I was at last week. We were discussing The Struggle, the nearly inevitable punch in the face every baseball player receives at least once on their climb toward the Major League stability. There comes a time for nearly all prospects when the horse that has taken them to whichever level they have risen can no longer pull the weight of the professional baseball buggy (Austin Wright is learning this right now, but that’s another show). Prospects that ascend to the Major Leagues unscathed by their own inadequacies are the rarest of the rare. Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Buster Posey, Felix Hernandez… players that navigate the minors without experiencing failure are the exception. It’s far more common for players to arrive in the big leagues bearing scars of development and adjustment like Jeff Samardzija, Carlos Gonzalez and Domonic Brown do.
And yet, we don’t seem to understand this. Our culture is accustomed to things happening very quickly. Our information, our food, our travel and now, seemingly, our prospects. We want him to be good and we want him to be good fast. We want to read reports on that player that reaffirm our own ideas about him. We ask questions that lead to misleading answers like, “When can we expect him in the big leagues?!?!” and “What’s a player in the Majors right now you would compare him to so I can get a grasp of what he’s like as soon as possible?!?”
This alters the prospect writer’s relationship with the reader in a way that, ultimately, does the reader a disservice. You do not want to read about how I think Jesse Biddle is a #3 starter (which, by the way, is pretty damn good). You don’t want me to write a full OFP on Royals prospect Kyle Smith, who is destroying the Carolina League this year, and tell you I think he might make it as a reliever. You want me to tell you how great I think Cody Asche is or that I think Kyle Crick has a #1 starter ceiling. That sort of sensationalism, the kind that appeases the audience, gives birth to phrases like “Baby Aces.” I don’t know how this started. Maybe readers craved these embellished, surreal evaluations and altered the way writers delineated things. Maybe writers chose to melt the prospect clocks themselves in effort to gain readership and are now left to try to feed the beast they created. It is irrelevant. It’s a chicken or the egg puzzle I don’t’ care to solve. But, at the risk of sounding like a dick, I won’t be part of it.
Stop peeking at your presents. Stop thinking you’re getting a Ferrari cake when you’re probably getting an Acura cake. Be Happy with your Acura cake, Acuras are really nice. Realize that the Acura cake takes time to make. Now you can read about Maikel Franco who, in my opinion, is going to be a pretty badass player. Which, given what you’ve just read, should mean a hell of a lot to you.
I spent Tuesday night in Lakewood at the South Atlantic League All Star Game and Wednesday night in Reading to see, among other things, Chase Utley rehab against Anthony Ranaudo. I’ve got nine pages of handwritten notes from those two days and a few more back logged from other games I’ve been to lately. I want to get this information out (not just the Phillies stuff, it’s time I dust off my own little site and write up non-Phillies stuff, too. I am scouting and taking notes on everyone so i may as well put it to use) so here’s a quick summary on the guys I’ve seen recently, excluding the guys that I think require full reports (except for Mecias). These start out as very conversational reports and gradually de-construct into shorter, more scouting report-like blurbs. We’re going to do a scouting mailbag in the near future so if there’s jargon you don’t understand, hold that question for next week sometime. Continue reading…
Very few questions this week, but a spectacular crop. Let’s dive right in, like a hyperactive toddler into the ball pit at McDonald’s.
@SoMuchForPathos: “Speak, if you would, on the parallels between Chula and baseball.”
And there are many. Chula, for those of you who don’t remember, is a board game played by a species called the Wadi in an early episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. There are five players: one who sets a strategy and rolls the dice, and four others who are transported into the game and made to overcome various puzzles and physical challenges, descending down the levels of the board to home.
I know that the episode of DS9 that featured Chula, “Move Along Home,” was almost universally decried as terrible. Like, the conceit is that the Wadi are the first species the Federation made contact with and brought back through the Wormhole, so you’d think they’d be important, but they get written out after one episode. But think about the game–one person calls the strategy and literally rolls the dice, leaving the outcome not only up to his in-game players, over whom he has no direct control, but largely to chance. Those players go from one level to another, trying to go home…does this sound familiar to anyone?
Which brings me to the real point of this whole exercise. The games are similar enough that you could probably get the Wadi leader, a boisterous, charismatic, mustachioed huckster named Falow, to do color commentary on a baseball game with little to no prep time. Would this not be the best thing ever?
Tom McCarthy: “Revere on first, nobody out, Phillies down 2-1 in the eighth inning. Michael Young to the plate. What do you think–does Charlie Manuel call a bunt or a steal, or does he let Young swing away?”
Falow: “CHOOSE THEIR PATH!”
T-Mac: “Stammen takes the sign, the pitch…and Revere takes off! The throw from Ramos…not in time!”
Falow: “Double their peril, double your winnings!”
T-Mac: “1-0 the count to Young. Stammen with the offering–and Young lines it into the gap in right! Revere around third, the throw from Harper is not in time! Tie ballgame!”
Falow: “ALLAMARAINE! MOVE ALONG HOME! MOVE ALONG HOME!”
Hey, people who think baseball is boring? I’ve solved it. Completely. Continue reading…
Today the Phillies signed this year’s first round draft pick, Lakewood High School (CA) shortstop JP Crawford, to his first professional baseball contract which included a $2.3 million signing bonus Yes, I’m writing up a report on JP Crawford almost two full weeks after he was drafted. Yes, every other Phillies media outlet has already done this ad naseum and all have probably forgotten about him by now. No, this is not like all the other ones.
Gib Bodet is one of the best scouts in the business. Currently the Dodgers National Crosschecking and Amateur Scouting Special Advisor, Gib Bodet has been scouting baseball for over forty years. He’s been working for the Dodgers for more than thirty of those and has been crosschecking for more than twenty. He’s been involved in signing Mike Piazza, Eric Karros and Todd Hollandsworth, all of whom won Rookie of the Year awards. Gib Bodet knows when he sees a good baseball player. And he knew it when he saw Chase Utley.
The draft is less than a week away and my press credential application to attend the event has been denied by Major League Baseball. In effort to channel my grief and anger into something useful, I have been sat at my desk all day Friday, racking my brain for some good ideas for content leading up to next week’s selections. I’m not going to write up scouting reports on all the potential prospects the Phillies might select. You can find that information in literally dozens of places online, in print, and on TV the night of the draft. Instead you’re getting a look back at some of the Phillies more prominent draft picks from the past 20 years or so. Thanks to the fantastic information archived at the Baseball Hall of Fame’s new scouting exhibit and the prospect resources we have at our fingertips, we can start to look back at some developmental achievements and failures of well regarded young players at various checkpoints in their careers. I hope to bring several of these to you over the next week. In order to do that, these pieces will be more research intensive than writing oriented. We start with Gavin Floyd.
As you have likely learned by now, Michael Young was placed on the bereavement list earlier today. While the exact reason for his leave isn’t yet known (and may not ever be because it probably isn’t any of our business) we do know Young will be gone from anywhere between three and seven days. We wish all the best to Michael in sorting through whatever may be wrong at home.
Taking his place on the 25-man roster is 23-year-old second baseman, Cesar Hernandez. I’ve seen plenty of Hernandez over the past few years and while his first stint in the big leagues is likely to be a short one, I don’t expect it to be his last. Here’s a full scouting report the young, switch hitting, Venezuelan infielder.