September 18, 2012
Reading Lolita in Teheran, Part 2: Reading and Fear of Failure
Last week, I began a series on player development and what a stathead like me can say about how to assess a player's progress. One of the most maddening things about baseball fandom (and, um, on the inside of the game too) is when prospects who are supposed to take the team into a brave new era don't pan out. Every team has "the name that shall not be uttered" in polite company. He was a can't-miss blue-chipper whom everyone figured would be the next Willie Mays. Except that he turned into the next Willie Bloomquist.
Last winter, BP's own Jason Parks wrote a series on "What Could Go Wrong?" which is a master class in the stops and starts that can befall the developmental process. I'm combing through some of his work and approaching things from the point of view of someone trained in child development. And I'm not afraid to use a few numbers if necessary.
Today, we'll talk about Twins second base/outfield prospect Eddie Rosario and how pitch recognition and reading might have something in common. Then we'll talk about Rockies pitcher Tyler Matzek, who looks brilliant one inning and like a disaster the next.
First, we have this snippet from Jason's review of Eddie Rosario.
Rosario put up a nice .296/.345/.490 line in A-ball this year at age 20, although that was a drop from his .337/.397/.670 last season in Rookie ball. Sounds like something went slightly awry (though it's a nice problem to have when a .296/.345/.490 line is a cause for concern). Jason's scout friend pins the problem on poor pitch recognition skills. Could this weakness be derailing Rosario?