Archive > 08 October 2011

A Brief Commercial Announcement

» 08 October 2011 » In NPB Tracker » 2 Comments

It is my very great pleasure to announce that Eno Sarris and I have gotten a story published in ESPN the Magazine. It’s available online now (Insider subscription required) and in the October 17 edition of the print magazine. You’ll have to click the link to find out what it’s about.

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The Theoretical Grade A+ Prospect

» 08 October 2011 » In mlb, mlb prospects » 3 Comments

I’ve learned a lot about prospects from reading John Sickels over the years. John gives prospects letter grades the same way American schools do, and he’s a pretty tough grader. He’s never given an A+, but recently described what one would theoretically look like.

A Grade A+ pitching prospect would have four plus-plus pitches, exceptional command and control, a great body, perfect mechanics, no injury history, outstanding makeup, and a brilliant performance record. Again, I’ve never seen anyone like that. There is always some flaw somewhere, no matter how minor.

I think I’ve seen someone who comes pretty close to that: Yu Darvish. Yes, it’s probably unfair to throw Darvish in with younger minor league and amateur prospects, but he’s young enough at 25, and still yet to throw a Major League pitch.

Against John’s criteria, the only question marks for me are whether Darvish’s best four pitches grade as plus-plus, or merely plus, and how “perfect” mechanics are defined (Darvish has tinkered with his delivery over the years). Aside from that, everything else is there — the physique, makeup, health record and performance record.

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