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April 21, 2016 6:00 am
Breaking down what evaluators are evaluating in a delivery.
For avid readers of scouting content, getting closer to the evaluation process allows greater context over phrases that can otherwise run together. How often do we as prospect-watchers hear terms like “plus”, “below-average”, “fringy”, among plenty of others? At some point, one player’s “above-average” tool is difficult to individualize from another one’s “plus” when all we have as readers are basic word associations corresponding to certain skills (fastball velocity, raw power, foot speed, etc).
Without insight into the individual components of a pitcher’s motion or a hitter’s swing, it’s logical to be in the dark about why one player is performing better and/or more consistently than another—despite evaluators’ consensus being that both players’ tools or pitches grade out similarly. For instance: a primary cause for widely different statistical outputs between one pitcher and another—both with similar 20-80 grades on their raw pitch-types—can be the overall consistency and command-execution of their pitches. By and large, a pitcher’s ability to have mastery over those attributes is a byproduct of clean, repeatable mechanics.
Doug Thorburn flips through the pitching section of the scout-speak dictionary
Before he wrote for Baseball Prospectus, Doug Thorburn climbed through BP's minor league system with Baseball Daily Digest, where he started the Raising Aces column dedicated to the mound. A few of those articles for BDD have withstood the test of time, continuing to resurface in various corners of the internet. Due to recent interest, we have chosen to revive one of these archived pieces.
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