Been putting some serious mileage on the Prius lately as I pound the freeways of southern California working my new scouting job with the SD Padres. I never really appreciated the little car pool lane stickers that I got on that car till now.
To be honest, I really have no clue what I’m doing. I mean, I obviously know what a good player looks like. But I’m just learning how to break it down into degrees of “how much I like him” and putting that in scouting vernacular. Basically learning how to make an accurate evaluation of an amateur player so the people spending money with the Padres know exactly what they’re purchasing.
How do I do that? I go to a lot of games. I videotape. I get running and throwing times with a stopwatch. I get velocities with my radar gun. I look at body makeups, watch mannerisms, watch how players interact, watch them take b.p and ground balls. I pay attention to how they throw, hit, and field. I watch to see how they handle adversity. I talk to other scouts, parents, coaches, and the players themselves. Basically I’m an information gathering machine in a Prius.
The honest truth about what I see so far? A truckload of below average players, a lot of mediocre players, and a handful of potential prospects. Baseball must be a tough game. Genetics must be a tough game. You’ve gotta have a lot of skill and luck on your side to be a prospect.
The one thing I can say without a shadow of a doubt is that in California (probably the rest of the country too), if you can play, one of us is gonna find you. Nobody’s slipping through the cracks. If you’re a parent or a kid at least you can scratch that off your list of concerns.
So after about a month of doing this gig, so far so good. It’s fun to be in the early stages of a learning curve and I’m loving getting a paycheck again. The driving hasn’t got to me (yet?). I really do enjoy going to games and evaluating. And the cast of characters that comprise the southern California scouting force are entertaining to say the least. Maybe not as entertaining as Mathew McConnaughey’s gay scout on Eastbound and Down, but funny none the less. Stay tuned…