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Offseason Brings Uncertainty For Scouts

John Manuel -Premium Content

Most scouts' contracts expire at the end of October (the end of the season in most years). So the anxiety is ramped up, as scouts have less to do in the fall, more time to think about their job security and more time to network to be ready just in case something happens.

College | #2009#Column

New Draft Almanac Has Many Surprises

Will Lingo -Premium Content

Perhaps it's a disease that afflicts us after we've been at Baseball America a long time. Looking at draft list after draft list after draft list, what we usually find is that we wish we had more time to look at more draft lists.

Minors | #2009#Column

Draft Report Card For The Decade

Jim Callis -Premium Content

Our annual Draft Report Cards are one of the most labor-intensive projects at Baseball America, and we have more trouble making deadlines than the Pirates did when they were trying to sign Pedro Alvarez. But it's a labor of love, even if forecasting the future for draftees a few short months after they turn pro is as easy as hitting Tim Lincecum. With that in mind, let's review the DRCs from this decade and identify the best of the best. For each of our standard categories, here's the top player from among the 10 selected as the standout in that category for each year of the 2000s.

Minors | #2009#Column

From Indy Ball To AFL

John Manuel -Premium Content

Rays righthander Paul Phillips helps exemplify the opportunity that independent baseball can afford. The hard-throwing reliever, who spent the second half of the 2008 season in the independent American Association, signed with the Rays in the offseason and started 2009 in Class A, but finished by winning a Triple-A national championship with Durham and earning a spot in the prospect-laden Arizona Fall League.

College | #2009#Column

Draft Gives Teams Chance To Succeed

Tracy Ringolsby -

With the Stephen Strasburg signing by the Nationals came an outcry to revamp baseball's draft. Why? The draft does what it is supposed to do. It gives the teams that have less success on the field a chance to add the better amateur prospects each year.

Majors | #2009#Column

September Callups Fail To Impress This Year

Jim Callis -Premium Content

When I first started working at Baseball America, one of the most exciting months of the year was September, and not just because the humidity in North Carolina kindly dissipated. Teams annually would debut top prospects when rosters expanded, and in those pre-Internet days, that usually meant our first chance to see them in action.

Minors | #2009#Column

McDonald Comes Full Circle

Jack Etkin -

One of the most decorated prep athletes in Colorado history, Darnell McDonald was a first-round pick in 1997. He finally played his first game at Coors Field on Monday after a long, mostly minor league career, and talked to Jack Etkin about the long, strange trip back to Denver.

Majors | #2009#Column

Needed Step

Tracy Ringolsby -

For all the fanfare surrounding the Nationals agreeing to terms with righthander Stephen Strasburg, the more significant moment in the history of that franchise came three days later. That's when the term interim was removed from Mike Rizzo's title and he was officially announced as the team's general manager, and the true foundation for the future was put in place.

Majors | #2009#Column

Slowing The Spread Of The Game

John Manuel -Premium Content

While my colleague Will Lingo argues (correctly) that baseball and the Olympics were never a great fit, there are ways that baseball needs the Olympics. And the biggest reason is the bureaucracy and the money that stem from the strength of the Olympic brand name.

Majors | #2009#Column

Who Needs Them?

Will Lingo -Premium Content

What ever happened to baseball in the Olympics? It seems like a natural idea. Baseball is the ultimate summer sport, so the Summer Olympics should be an ideal home for it. Excitement and hopes were high when it debuted as a demonstration sport in 1984. But the marriage never really worked.

Minors | #2009#Column