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October 8, 2011

Playoff Prospectus

ALCS Preview, Scouting Hindsight Version

by Kevin Goldstein

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Recently on Twitter, I fielded a series of questions about how this player or that was seen when he was drafted or coming up as a prospect. With the 140 character limit, I tried to answer with a combination of information and humor, and in the end, it reminded me of a fantastic piece in the independently published magazine Chunklet called “Bands In A Minute” in which you tried to sum up an act as briefly as possible. Basically, I try to go back in time to think about how I would have answered a question about them at the time, while hopefully having some fun with it as well.

Detroit Tigers
Alex Avila, C: Went higher than he should have because he's Avila's son. Not sure he'll catch long term, but he can hit a little bit.
Miguel Cabrera, 1B: I can't believe anybody thinks he can stay at shortstop, as that lower half is enormous. Oh, he can really mash.
Austin Jackson, OF: Helluva point guard, but the Yankees sure paid a lot of money to try to figure out if he can play baseball.
Magglio Ordonez, OF: Was just an organizational player until he hit at the upper levels; kind of an out of nowhere guy, but could be an everyday type.
Delmon Young, OF: One of the best high school hitters anyone has ever seen. Plays a little non-chalant at times, but the talent will certainly shine through.
Joaquin Benoit, P: Look, great stuff, but he just can't stay healthy.
Doug Fister, P: Decent senior sign as a fastball/slider guy, outside shot to fit in the back of the rotation for a second-division club.
Rick Porcello, P: Monster arm, but wants a ton of money. Mid-90s heat, two good breaking ball, could really be a monster. Sinker? No, I didn't see him throw one.
Max Scherzer, P: Really fell off as a junior at Missouri. Throw in the ugly delivery and so-so secondary stuff and I'm not convinced he can start long term.
Justin Verlander, P: 80 fastball, 80 curveball, but doesn't always dominate at a school like Old Dominion like he should. If he figures out how to harness that stuff, he's an ace, but there's risk there.

Texas Rangers
Nelson Cruz, OF: Some skills there, but he's kind of older and on his fourth organization for a reason.
Josh Hamilton, OF: Really, the Cubs took him as a Rule 5 guy and traded him to the Reds? He's still in baseball? No way that's ever going to turn into anything. What a waste of talent.
Ian Kinsler, 2B: Look, I understand that he's hitting .400 in the Midwest League, but he's was the 496th pick in the draft for a reason, so let's all calm down here a bit.
Mitch Moreland, 1B: Look, no way he's going to hit, but he showed some impressive arm strength as a reliever, and I'd like to see him move there permanently.
Mike Napoli, C: I understand he put up massive numbers in the California League, but he's a bat-only guy and he just can't catch, period.
Michael Young, 2B: One of those polished college types. Solid across the board, zero star potential.
Neftali Feliz, P: “This is a teenager with a lightning arm who could turn into a frontline starter or a dominant closer, but right now, he's a teenager with a lightning arm.”
Me, Baseball Prospectus, November 10, 2006.
Colby Lewis, P: Failed guy who the Rangers are bringing back from Japan for some reason.
Alexi Ogando, OF: “Tooly, high-upside outfielder . . . already displays plus-power to all fields . . . stronger arm in the [Oakland] system.”
Me, Baseball America, January, 2005
C.J. Wilson, P: Fringy reliever, nothing special.

Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Kevin's other articles. You can contact Kevin by clicking here

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