• Gregg Zaun Let’s Loose On Baseball America

    Posted by on June 19th, 2012 · Comments (7)

    Wow.

    I’ve been a Baseball America subscriber for something like 22 years now.  I enjoy reading it.  And, I would deeply miss it, if they stopped publishing it.  But, I do see where Zaun has a point here…

     

    Comments on Gregg Zaun Let’s Loose On Baseball America

    1. MJ Recanati
      June 19th, 2012 | 10:24 am

      I came to Zaun’s conclusion two years ago, right after the Cito Culver draft. He makes a very good point that BA is merely a stenographer and doesn’t know a whole lot about prospects or how to properly evaluate them.

      Certainly, over time, an individual can learn how to watch film and scout a player’s strengths and weaknesses. That’s why I think Zaun’s criticism is somewhat overblown; the BA guys are watching video on a lot of the top guys and are probably within 85-90% of the “right” evaluation on those top players. Where they fall short — and where Zaun’s critique is valid — involves the lesser-known prospects that garner less attention. The stable of BA writers is simply not large enough for them to properly cover the entire universe of high school, college, minor and major league baseball (not to mention the international market) and this issue also touches Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs, Keith Law and Jonathan Mayo (where none employ or are actual MLB scouts).

      If you’re reading this or other baseball blogs, chances are that you’re baseball-crazed and very hungry to learn as much as possible about prospects as you can. Unfortunately Zaun (and the author of the blog that quoted Zaun) brings up the very good point that fans simply don’t know if they’re reading credible evaluations and have to trust what they’re reading at the risk of believing bunk evaluations from underqualified writers. It’s a very real problem and one that has only one solution: each individual has to learn how to evaluate players on their own. It’s a painstaking process but it’s doable, especially in the internet age.

    2. June 19th, 2012 | 11:19 am

      They had an interesting conversation going last night on YES, during the game, where Kay mentioned that Tom Glavine suggested that Greg Maddux would have never been drafted in the 2nd round today because of his size and readings on the gun.

      And, someone else – I think it was Flash? – said that today coaches are being told by scouts not to even recommend a RH pitcher if he’s under six-three and throws less than 90 MPH.

      Hearing that, and reading the Zaun comments, makes me think – maybe it’s all on the school coaches on who is a prospect or not? There is an element of that…schools and coaches hyping their players so that they get noticed by scouts and front office types…who then share that info with BBA.

    3. MJ Recanati
      June 19th, 2012 | 12:41 pm

      Steve L. wrote:

      Kay mentioned that Tom Glavine suggested that Greg Maddux would have never been drafted in the 2nd round today because of his size and readings on the gun.

      Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know what Maddux was like in high school when the Cubs drafted him but part of a scout’s job is to see into the future and predict what a short, underweight, doughy little nerd like Maddux will look like on the mound in a few years’ time. If his secondary stuff was average or better as a HS pitcher and he had “pitchability” (to use the scouting term) then I don’t agree that Maddux wouldn’t be drafted today.

      Steve L. wrote:

      And, someone else – I think it was Flash? – said that today coaches are being told by scouts not to even recommend a RH pitcher if he’s under six-three and throws less than 90 MPH.

      That may be true, I have no idea. It wouldn’t surprise me if it were true and, frankly, there’s probably a good reason why.

      Steve L. wrote:

      Hearing that, and reading the Zaun comments, makes me think – maybe it’s all on the school coaches on who is a prospect or not? There is an element of that…schools and coaches hyping their players so that they get noticed by scouts and front office types…who then share that info with BBA.

      We should probably separate out who gets scouted from who gets touted. Scouts are out there looking to find talent for their ballclubs. BA is merely reporting information for fans. Scouting attention on a player can lead to hype (by way of reporting from BA) but I don’t believe the tail can wag the dog insofar as BA getting information from coaches and somehow then dictating who gets scouted.

    4. Rich M
      June 19th, 2012 | 1:19 pm
    5. MJ Recanati
      June 19th, 2012 | 1:44 pm

      @ Rich M:
      Awesome!

      And, frankly, based on these reports, I don’t agree that he wouldn’t be drafted today. The scout that filed the last report on him graded his stuff as plus or better and his makeup as plus or better.

      I think it’s cutesy for Glavine to talk about how “in his day, scouts would draft Maddux but today’s scouts wouldn’t” but I don’t think a kid that got these types of grades — and had a scout advocating for him — would be ignored.

    6. June 19th, 2012 | 2:14 pm

      IIRC, FWIW, Kay said that Glavine said that Maddux would not go in the 2nd round today. He never said that he would not be drafted.

      BTW, did you know that Maddux grew up in Spain on a military base? Amazing considering the advantage that kids in Texas, Cali and Florida have…

    7. MJ Recanati
      June 19th, 2012 | 3:09 pm

      Steve L. wrote:

      IIRC, FWIW, Kay said that Glavine said that Maddux would not go in the 2nd round today. He never said that he would not be drafted.

      I still think Glavine is doing the old man “in my day, we had to walk uphill both ways” routine. A guy with such glowing scouting reports at the HS level would be drafted as a top-100 pick, I really don’t doubt it.

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