I made slight progress with my interviews by pushing closer to an appointment with a manager for a major university in Tokyo — mind you it’s someone I’ve met numerous times before. Still, one drop in the bucket is still a drop.
Throughout this course two real challenges have been 1) my lack of familiarity with MLB and 2) the language of scouting.
Some words one finds in scouting reports may be English but are applied in ways that make little sense, except apparently to scouts. What does “high waist” mean for goodness sakes?
Week 5’s task is as much about language as observation: to identify a professional infielder you feel has the best tools identified from this week’s reading. Describe in scouting terminology why you feel he/she is the best. This implies we can observe every professional infielder, or at least have a large number of candidates to draw on — something for Difficulty 1 explained above, I do not.
Everything is open ended, so I’m going to create a pool of candidates, compare the top Gold Glove candidates in MLB and the Golden Glove candidates in Japan. I’m also going to limit the search to shortstops, because well if you’re the best infielder on the planet, you ain’t going to be playing second or third base.
Assignment part 1: AL shortstops
It’s Monday in Japan, so I’m going to do this one league at a time, starting with the AL.
- Marcus Semien
- Andrelton Simmons
- Francisco Lindor
From a quick youtube search, I rated Lindor the best of these amazing three. All have soft hands, quick feet, tremendous balance and great instincts, especially on fly balls.
All three have quick releases. Semien appears to lack the same explosive carry on their throws Lindor and Simmons have, so the difference for me is between 80 arms and a 70 arm. Forced to be more precise, I might grade SImmons as a 78 and Lindor as a 75 based on raw arm strength.
Simmons’ throws may be a little more accurate than Lindor’s, but Lindor’s lower body — a little smaller but extremely powerful — makes me like him more. He generates so much power in his throws from his lower body. Lindor is more like a gymnast and Simmons more like a long jumper. I don’t know which is better,
I’ll do the National League, where Nick Ahmed, the Fielding Bible champion for 2019, lives.