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July 11, 2003
by Mark Allen Haverty
From organization to organization, the debate rages on: tools or performance? Tools are easy to figure out. You can look at a player on the field, watch the game, and figure out the tools a guy has. Does he have a plus arm? Prolific power? Blazing speed? Scouts regularly grade those traits and send the results back to the home office. Performance on the other hand isn't something that can be taken in during one sitting at a game. As such, some players who may lack specific tools may find it difficult to garner attention--it's much easier to impress with say, a dash around the bases than it is with a walk.
Thanks partly to the hiring of Theo Epstein as General Manager, the Boson Red Sox now lean heavily toward the performance side of the debate. Toiling for the Sox is a flashpoint player in the tools vs. performance debate--Kevin Youkilis. While lacking in several of the tools that scouts covet, Youkilis was an offensive machine in college, hitting .405 his senior year, with 18 home runs, 61 RBI, 22 stolen bases, and a .549 on-base percentage. Still, it was not until his summer in the Cape Cod League, where he continued to rake the ball, that he finally began grabbing attention on a larger scale. Youkilis was recently chosen to represent America in the Futures Game at All-Star Weekend. BP Correspondent Mark Haverty sat down with Youkilis to discuss tools vs. performance, the Red Sox, and the Cape Cod League.