After speaking with a scout who saw Joe Savery pitch for the first time this past weekend in the Conference USA tournament, I got to thinking how interesting it is to hear scouts’ opinions on high-profile players that they have not seen before.
Track records are important in evaluations, and it’s also important to consider extenuating factors whenever you’re scouting a player, such as workload or whether he’s been injured recently, etc.
But at a lot of conference tournaments, area scouts receive assignments to watch players out of their area, so they’re getting an unbiased look at a player that they have no history with, which can be a very good thing. The scout can sit down and evaluate the player for what he is, without a preexisting opinion.
My sources weren’t impressed with Savery, but scouts in Texas might laugh out loud at the suggestion he needs a mechanical delivery, because they might have seen him pitch effectively with his present delivery many times over.
The blindfold theory worked in favor of another high-profile college pitcher in last weekend’s Mountain West Conference tournament, as Texas Christian righthander Jake Arrieta received rave reviews from an area scout who was laying his eyes on him for the first time.
“Wow,” he said. “He was 90-94 with his fastball and 78-81 with his slider and 74-76 with his split. The guy pitches with confidence and he flat-out competes. I love the way he goes about his work. Strong and well developed lower half. Repeats his motion every time. Strike thrower, pounds the zone with all his pitches with average to plus command.”
Arrieta was a preseason All-American after he went 14-4, 2.35 as a sophomore and 4-0, 0.27 in six outings with USA Baseball’s college national team last summer. After his seven-shutout innings with six strikeouts and no walks against UNLV last weekend, Arrieta improved to 9-3, 3.11 with 89 strikeouts and 46 walks in 93 innings this season.
His command and mound presence have been the two most obvious shortcomings this season, yet those were two areas that the scout in Las Vegas last weekend viewed as positive attributes of Arrieta.
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