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Old 06-06-2021, 02:48 PM
 
26,240 posts, read 49,134,708 times
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Story in today's NY Times is as much about the scout who found Mike Schmidt as it is about Schmidt, and was great reading so I thought I'd recommend it to you.

Author of the story believes that Mike Schmidt was the greatest draft pick in all of Baseball.

Here are a few excerpts:

"Fifty years later, Mike Schmidt stands alone as the baseball player who did the most for the team that drafted him. To one scout, Schmidt’s potential was obvious."

"Of the 74,774 selections made in the various iterations of the M.L.B. draft since it began in 1965, Schmidt has done more for the team that drafted him than any other."

"A generation beyond Schmidt’s retirement in 1989 — a decision that came the same month as the confounding death of the dogged scout who signed him, Tony Lucadello — it remains true: No player has accumulated more wins above replacement for the team that picked him than Schmidt, the Philadelphia Phillies’ second-round choice, 30th overall, in 1971. “To have Mike Schmidt start with the Phillies, stay with the Phillies, be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a Phillie only,” said longtime scout Gary Nickels, who learned the trade from Lucadello, “that’s the ultimate.”

"Tony Lucadello was the kind of scout Hollywood turned into a punchline. He would have fit well in the early scenes of “Moneyball,” where graying scouts talk about “the good face” and the sound of the ball off the bat. He worked without a radar gun or stopwatch and believed in homespun theories — dubious but unimpeachable — that 87 percent of baseball was played below the waist and that no player with glasses should be signed. Lucadello would watch from the outfield or the baselines — even, sometimes, from a tree — to view prospects from various angles while keeping his distance from rival scouts. He did not drink or smoke or socialize much."


Much more about Schmidt and the scout in the article . . .



So, okay, since we don't have one, let's make this thread fair game for any postings about baseball scouts, scouting of players, great scouting flops, etc, . . . so here goes

I can recall from my childhood how scouting can be imperfect. My hometown Orioles signed a "bonus baby" named Dave Nicholson who got what, at the time, was a huge signing bonus but as a player he was a failure. Here's an old Sports Illustrated piece from the archives on Dave Nicholson. Here is his record as a player, a career .212 batting average with only 61 HRs in 7 seasons.



Here's a list of Bonus Babies from the Baseball Almanac. Some famous names on this list but Dave Nicholson isn't one of them since Baseball rules require that Bonus Babies must go straight into MLB for two seasons and Dave Nicholson didn't -- he went to a farm team first.
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Last edited by Mike from back east; 06-06-2021 at 02:58 PM..
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Old 06-06-2021, 11:07 PM
 
Location: Sacramento
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Scouting has greatly changed during the past decade. Per an article in Baseball America a couple of years ago:

The fear within the scouting world is that all teams will soon follow the lead of the Astros, who in an attempt to shift focus to the analytics side of the game have more people evaluating player performances in their Houston office than they do in the field.

The reality is that baseball is experiencing an industry-wide paradigm shift not dissimilar to any other major business that begins adapting to new-age technology. While the surface issue appears to be about losing jobs (most apparently occurring at the professional level), the deeper upshot is about scouts losing their influence on the game...

That same schism exists today between the analytics department of every major league team that believes TrackMan metrics such as launch angle, exit velocity and spin rate are infallible, compared with a scout’s supposition that a prospect’s makeup can only be ascertained through extensive vetting.

Bill Scherrer is a former major leaguer and longtime scout who has spent the past 17 seasons with the White Sox. He is a believer that analytics and scouting can work hand in hand. Yet he also recognizes that the veteran scout is having a difficult time believing the wet-behind-the-ears analytics employee has all the answers on a computer screen.
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Old 06-07-2021, 04:31 AM
 
Location: Phila & NYC
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Interesting thing is that Schmidt entering the Phillies system was never regarded as their top prospect. Their labeled top prospect was a guy named "Mike Anderson". Anderson turned out to be a bust upon being promoted to the Phils and became nothing more then a career "utility man".
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Old 06-07-2021, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Sacramento
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Mike Anderson was a terrific minor league hitter, and probably was headed towards a great career as an outfielder (along with fellow prospect Greg Luzinski) until being hit in the head by a pitch during 1972's spring training. It was so bad that he was carried off the field on a stretcher.

After that, he was never the same.
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Old 06-07-2021, 04:19 PM
 
26,240 posts, read 49,134,708 times
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Reliance on stats reminds me of the stock market where the near total majority of stock trades are done without a human; it's all rules-based algorithms that execute automatically. Sounds like baseball is going that way, reliance on the numbers is close enough to please the owner's suite, front office and accountants.
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Old 06-07-2021, 04:35 PM
 
17,643 posts, read 15,340,381 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post
I can recall from my childhood how scouting can be imperfect. My hometown Orioles signed a "bonus baby" named Dave Nicholson who got what, at the time, was a huge signing bonus but as a player he was a failure. Here's an old Sports Illustrated piece from the archives on Dave Nicholson. Here is his record as a player, a career .212 batting average with only 61 HRs in 7 seasons.

I remember the hype around Ben McDonald when they drafted him #1 overall.

He was a decently solid pitcher, but.. Certainly a bust when considering his draft position


Pretty bad draft class that year for the first round. 1 HoFer and 3 All Stars
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Old 06-07-2021, 05:03 PM
 
Location: Sacramento
14,044 posts, read 27,251,763 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post
Reliance on stats reminds me of the stock market where the near total majority of stock trades are done without a human; it's all rules-based algorithms that execute automatically. Sounds like baseball is going that way, reliance on the numbers is close enough to please the owner's suite, front office and accountants.
Stuff like launch angle and exit velocity are relatively new measurements that baseball organizations think are meaningful in finding prospects. Likewise with pitching, they are looking at stuff like spin rates and break in addition to velocity.
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