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Dick Scott, the Blue Jays’ Director of Player Development, spoke to us by telephone from Florida. He was in the Sunshine State making sure the Instructional League was operating smoothly -- a challenge this year, thanks to some decidedly un-sunny weather.

When we spoke, Scott was just getting back to baseball after a three-day break caused by Hurricane Jeanne, which damaged the Jays’ Dunedin facility in addition to creating general inconveniences like power outages and flooding. Jeanne hit Dunedin harder than the other hurricanes this season.

We started by congratulating Scott on winning the AA title at New Hampshire. Naturally, all the Jays’ personnel are thrilled with that win. “It’s nice to win a championship,” Scott agreed. “It’s something the players will remember for the rest of their lives.”

The Blue Jays, of course, had three other teams in the playoffs (Charleston, Auburn and Dunedin), which was right in line with the organizational plan. “Playing meaningful games in September is our objective,” said Scott. “We want them to win in the minor leagues; it’s all the same game, no matter what level you’re playing at. The stakes are higher in the major leagues, but still, it’s nice to learn how to play under those conditions.”

Scott has some nice hardware of his own. He owns two World Series rings (Arizona in 2001, Oakland in 1989) and won a championship of his own as a minor-league manager -- coincidentally, with Gil Patterson as his pitching coach – while being awarded the title of Minor-League Manager of the Year by USA Today in 1994.

Scott first met JP Ricciardi in 1982, when JP was just starting his coaching career with the Tampa Yankees in the Florida State League and Scott was still a player there. As New Englanders, they had a lot in common, and Ricciardi eventually brought Scott over to Oakland as a minor-league free agent. When Ricciardi later became the General Manager in Toronto, he hired Scott to be his Director of Player Development. Scott was able to maintain his home in Phoenix -- a happy arrangement, he says, since “my family is entrenched there.”

Scott believes his own managing experience has been a benefit in his current position. “I was a minor-league manager for six or seven years, so there’s not too much the managers can tell me that I haven’t seen or experienced myself,” he pointed out. “It’s part of the foundation that helps me in this job.”

Scott talks to Ricciardi about three times a week. “Our jobs are intertwined,” he noted. “With 160 players [in the system], there are steady updates. If he needs to know something, I’ll let him know; if we can handle it ourselves, we will. That’s why he hired me.

“JP knows all the players, so he and I will discuss player performance and moves,” he continued. “JP will ask questions about some decisions -- he may say, ‘This guy is an advance guy, and we need to move him,’ but for the most part, we agree on things.”

Here’s an edited transcript of our conversation with Dick Scott.

BB: What do you like best about your job?
DS: Having a strong system -- watching the organization evolve, taking players from the draft, seeing them grow, and having them contribute at the big-league level. We have about eight guys up with the Jays right now, and some of them are contributing. That’s what’s best about this job.

BB: What parts of the job are less likeable?
DS: It’s very time-consuming; there is no [down time]. Putting a staff in place to put out fires is a big help. When I first came here, I was doing things I shouldn’t have to do. Charlie Wilson [the team’s Manager of Minor-League Operations, based in Dunedin] has been a great help. He’s done a fantastic job, he’s very dedicated, he has a lot of passion for the game, and he has spent countless hours working here behind the scenes.

BB: How much time do you spend on the road?
DS: I try to see the full-season clubs about four times each, for a series, and the short-season teams about twice. I like to see the teams at the beginning of the year and again at the end of the year, to see the improvement.

BB: Do you spend much time on off-the-field issues?
DS: We have an EAP [Employee Assistance Program] and they can handle, and fix, a lot of the personal issues; I’m not qualified to do that. We want to give them support. It’s a confidential program -- the players realize we’re trying to help them. They’re young guys, and they have to realize they’re not bulletproof; they do stuff most young guys do. I’ll sometimes talk to a player, but only if the player gives their permission through the EAP to let me know.

BB: How often do you talk with your managers?
DS: Almost daily. We also get nightly reports on each game. Sometimes, I [sense] something from their tone of voice, or I see something in a report, that gets me to call them. I might go in to see for myself. The nightly reports are game reports and are generally positive. We’ve shared some of our game reports with the players. I think they were surprised how positive they were, even if they went 0-5 with three strikeouts.

BB: Do you talk to player agents?
DS: Agents call, wondering how their client stands; will they be moved up? I try to be as honest as I can, just like JP and Tony LaCava. There’s no point in telling them their client is great, and then send him down the next week.

BB: What sets the Blue Jays’ system apart from other clubs’ farm systems?
DS: It starts at the top. Paul Godfrey is a wonderful communicator. JP, Tony LaCava and John Gibbons are all that way, too. JP has taken the lead -- there are no hidden agendas. We’re straightforward; players just want to know where they stand. We tell the players, “Show up on time, work hard when you’re here, and act like a professional.” We have a good staff, a good teaching staff.

We’ve created an environment where all players have the same opportunity -- not just the top draft choices, even a 50th-round guy -- and I think the players are starting to realize that. Most players don’t understand it, [because] they have nothing to compare us to, but after they leave, some call and want to come back. You have to give everyone a chance: plenty of lower-draft choices make the major leagues. Mike Piazza was a 50th-round selection. I stress to our staff, “Don’t put a ceiling on a player.” I also tell our guys not to get upset if they miss on a player. No one is that good that they get them all right. We all miss guys: I miss guys, JP misses guys. [But] our guys are pretty good.

BB: Do you often have managers calling you asking for more or better players?
DS: Sometimes a player is struggling and the manager asks -- but I tell the manager the player has to stay there and they have to make it work. I see the big picture; they see the local picture.

BB: Is there a specific plan for each player?
DS: Eighty percent of baseball is the same -- I don’t care what uniform you have on, baseball is baseball. We need to identify what each player’s needs are, and then address them as best we can. Once we get comfortable with a guy, we might have some specific things we try to do, such as a new pitch.”

BB: Is there an ideal number of at-bats, or innings, a player needs before he is ready for the big leagues?
DS: No, I think you have to look at it on a case-by-case basis. Russ Adams was ready after two-and-a-half years. David Bush got there even quicker -- his maturity was head and shoulders above everyone else; for us to keep him in the minor leagues would hurt both of us. Other guys come out and need more maturing, so it’s a case-by-case basis.

BB: What’s the biggest jump in the minor leagues?
DS: The biggest jump in the minor leagues in when you go from High A to Double-A -- that weeds out a lot of the suspects. Guys who had good numbers at A go to Double-A, and it starts to be the real deal, because a lot of guys go from Double-A to the big leagues.

But still, the biggest jump of all is going from the minor leagues to the big leagues. At Double-A, you have your prospects, mainly your own organization guys. At Triple-A, you have a lot of six-year minor-league free agents and guys who have played in the major leagues, so there’s more finesse there.

BB: Are there specific criteria for player promotion?
DS: For pitchers, they have to throw strikes. At the lower levels, through the Florida State League, guys have good numbers, but they don’t command their fastball. If you can’t throw your fastball for a strike, you won’t pitch in the big leagues. At the lower levels, guys swing at pitches out of the zone, so the numbers are inflated. At Double-A and Triple-A, guys won’t swing at those pitches, so instead of it being 1-and-2, it’s 2-and-1.

For hitters we want guys who can control the strike zone and have good on-base percentage. There are a few exceptions like Nomar Garciaparra or Alfonso Soriano, but there aren’t many of them.

BB: What factors go into resolving position conflicts, such as Carlo Cota and Ryan Roberts?
DS: Generally, you look at who’s the better prospect. But in that case, Ryan was a little newer to the organization, and at the time, we thought he had a little higher upside. But Carlo had a great year this year and he opened a lot of eyes, and he still got everyday at-bats.

BB: What factors go into deciding to move a starter to the bullpen?
DS: If guys have good arms, we want them to start as long as they can. It lets them throw as much as possible, get regular work and mound time, see hitters two or three times, and work on setting up hitters. They need the work and the mound time. When they get to maybe Double-A, we convert guys -- maybe he’s a two-pitch guy, or we need relievers -- but generally, we leave that decision as late as possible.

BB: Is there any particular player who surprised you the most this year?
DS: Ron Davenport had a really good year, and he’s only 22. He’s a strong guy -- when he makes contact, the ball jumps off his bat. [He doesn’t have] home-run power yet, but we’re not concerned about that. He does swing early in the count, and we would like him to be more selective, but he made a run at the prospect thing. Tablado was a surprise, too.

BB: When you do your player placements for 2005, do you place the stars, then fill around them?
DS: Yes, we have a pretty good idea where guys are going to go. Sometimes, guys come to spring training and have a good few weeks and maybe force it, but you really go on the five months they played the year before.

Player Quick Hits

BB: Francisco Rosario: has he recovered? Is he as good as he was before he was hurt?
DS: Yes, he is. He has plus stuff and pitched really well down the stretch and in the playoffs. Our biggest problem this year was getting him on the mound. He had a few muscular things this year, [and] he was a little gun-shy, but we got him going and his confidence picked up, and he was lights-out. His fastball is still 94-96 mph.

BB: Dustin McGowan: what are the chances he could be pitching for, say, Dunedin in April?
DS: I think the chances are good. He started throwing the other day, [from] about 40 feet now. We told him not to get his heart set on Opening Day -- it might be May -- but he’s a big, strong guy, and he’s working his tail off down here. He has five months to work on it.

BB: DJ Hanson: a lost season, is he done, or will he be back?
DS: He will be back. He had elbow problems all year long; we’re hoping to rehab it and be ready for next year without surgery.

BB: Vince Perkins: was it a lost season for him?
DS: Injuries definitely slowed him down; he probably would have made Double-A by mid-season [otherwise]. He’s pitching in the Instructional League, feeling good, and has his confidence back; he’s throwing well. His fastball is probably 93-96 mph, he has a good change-up, and he’s improving his slider.

BB: Adam Peterson: is it a mental thing? Did his pitching change much from Double-A to Triple-A?
DS: I think he was a little overwhelmed; [it was] a confidence thing. He has good stuff, but I’m not sure if he believed it. He has a plus arm, [and] he will get his confidence going. He’s going to the AFL, and he’ll have success there and carry that over to next year.

BB: Jason Arnold: is it a physical thing, or a mechanics thing?
DS: He needs to make a move and prove he belongs in the big leagues. He did not have a great year last year, and started off average this year before he hurt his shoulder. He’s a big boy. He knows what it takes, and it has to come from within.

BB: Jamie Vermilyea: what does he need to do to succeed in the bigs?
DS: He’s a strike thrower -- works fast, throws strikes. We’re going to try to teach him a cutter for lefties. We started working on it late in the year, and he picked up on it quite quickly, actually.

BB: Davis Romero: starter or reliever?
DS: He has three pitches he throws for strikes. He’s a little guy, but he’s still young and he will get stronger. He’ll be a starter again next year.

BB: Shaun Marcum: in Dave Bush’s class?
DS: They’re similar, in that they’re both strike throwers. Shaun has very good command, [but] he’s not as big and strong as Dave, and he may not be able to handle the wear and tear. It is a question we have with Shaun: can he handle the load as a starter? The worst-case scenario is, he’ll be a reliever.

BB: Tom Mastny: what’s his best pitch? Does he have major-league plus pitches?
DS: Again, he throws strikes. He has average stuff; he does not have a plus pitch, but he does a nice job of mixing his pitches. He had a solid year, and he’ll have a chance next year to pitch in the FSL. [He’ll] have to prove himself again at every level, every year.

BB: Ismael Ramirez: a great 2004?
DS: Izzy was a lot more in the zone – he had better tempo, changed his whole approach, and got a lot of confidence. He has a low-90s fastball, a plus slider, and a pretty good changeup for a young kid.

BB: Bubbie Buzachero and Felix Romero: why haven’t they moved up the chain faster than they have?
DS: Look at our Double-A staff -- there was no room for them there. Bubbie had a solid year, but still needs to control his fastball better; he has a plus change-up. Felix is another guy whose change-up is his best pitch, almost a split finger. Both of those guys need to command their fastballs a bit better to move up.

BB: Raul Tablado: what changed this year?
DS: He has a lot of talent, and this year he got more confidence. When I came here, he was still a bit immature, but this year he got the look in his eyes. Some kids take a while longer.

BB: Vito Chiaravalotti: what happened in August?
DS: I think he ran out of gas in August; he admitted that it was a long season. Most guys don’t realize how long the season is. Most guys are better prepared in their second full season.

BB: John Hattig?
DS: He just needs consistency, needs to work on his footwork; he has good hands and a strong arm. He needs to be more patient at the plate.

BB: Rob Cosby started well before he was injured: were you surprised?
DS: Rob was just starting to come into his own this year. Rob had a very good spring training; he filled in some at the major-league camp, and it made him realize that he belonged. He was here yesterday -- he has the green light to play, and he’ll play winter-ball.

BB: Miguel Negron: did he make progress?
DS: Miguel made a lot of strides this year. A lot of it is maturity -- he has a lot of skill, so we’re working on his everyday approach. He would get it, for a week or ten days at a time. He has a big upside if he can put it all together.

We finished our chat with a few quick hits, asking Scott about the best in the system. These were quick responses, off the top of his head with no advance warning, so he could have changed his mind once we hung up the phone. But anyway, here are his answers.

Best receiver in system (catcher) – Guillermo Quiroz
Best catcher arm in system – Guillermo Quiroz

Best infield glove in system – Manny Mayorson
Best infield arm in system – Aaron Hill has a plus arm

Best OF (range) – Justin Singleton, or maybe Miguel Negron
Best OF arm – Miguel Negron

Hardest thrower (other than League) – Dustin McGowan
Best fastball (speed and movement) – Dustin McGowan or Francisco Rosario

Best slider – Vince Perkins
Best curveball – Shaun Marcum
Best change – Gustavo Chacin
Best command – Shaun Marcum

Many thanks to Dick Scott for taking the time to talk with Batter’s Box! Also thanks to Jordan for editing my high school level English.

An Interview with Dick Scott | 36 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 10:37 AM EDT (#27591) #
Wow, what a pleasure to read. It confirmed my opinions on many of the prospects, and added to my understanding of a couple. If Negron indeed has range that comes close to Singleton, and the best OF arm in the system, that would make him a great centerfielder and with the range of offensive abilities he is developing would make him a leading candidate for a leap forward next year.

Thank you, Dick, Gerry and Jordan for a fascinating look at the farm system.
_Wildrose - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 11:01 AM EDT (#27592) #
Really enjoyable stuff, some very good questions Gerry.A few comments:

-I believe Arnold is in the AFL, sounds like he needs to show something or risk being taken off the 40 man.

-I think you'll see Vince Perkins really get it together next year.(Best slider in the system) Power arms don't grow on trees( actually maybe they do out in Victoria ...?)
_Rob - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 11:12 AM EDT (#27593) #
Interesting to read that "[m]ost players don’t understand it, [because] they have nothing to compare us to, but after they leave, some call and want to come back." Does anyone know who Dick might be talking about? I'm hazy on players "leaving" an organization; what exactly does that entail?

Also, I was surprised to see that he thinks A to AA is the biggest jump. I always thought it was AA to AAA, but, hey, if Dick Scott says otherwise, I'm going with him. ;)
_Wildrose - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 11:16 AM EDT (#27594) #
Actually Rob the A-AA jump has always been held to be the most difficult "jump" in all of baseball. Even with non-moneyball teams. I wonder if anybody has ever done a study on this type of thing?
Coach - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 11:17 AM EDT (#27595) #
Tremendous, Gerry. Thanks to Dick Scott for stepping into Da Box with such candid responses.

Do you often have managers calling you asking for more or better players?

That was a particularly great question. When Cosby got hurt, I don't think Solano was Mike Basso's first choice as an everyday 3B, but the organization was aware of the need and the Hattig acquisition certainly filled it in time to contribute to the championship.
_Marc - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 11:20 AM EDT (#27596) #
I'm always amazed at how willing the Blue Jays organization is to speak in depth with this "fan site."
It just goes to show what can happen when you conduct yourself with maturity (I'm sure a passion for the game helps too) and you deal with a first class organization.
Gerry - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 11:24 AM EDT (#27597) #

One thing that Dick emphasised a couple of times when we spoke is that the Jays are trying to give all players an equal chance to make the big leagues. In some other organizations the top draft picks might receive special instruction, above what is offered to the lower picks.

I believe what he meant with that comment is that the players do not appreciate how fair the Jays are until they leave, or are traded, and see other organizations. The desire to come back would refer to released players or minor league free agents, otherwise the players do not have a choice.
Pistol - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 11:31 AM EDT (#27598) #
Nice job Gerry. Excellent work as always.
_Tim - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 11:34 AM EDT (#27599) #
Thanks Gerry and Jordan. That was a really interesting read. Thanks Dick for sharing your perspective with us.

I was encouraged to hear that he thinks Peterson will recover his confidence. I wondered this year whether Negron was showing us flashes of great potential or not. If it's a consistency issue, he stands a chance to become a great player as he matures. Good to know also that Hanson and Perkins both look to be past their injuries. Man we've got some good pitching prospects!
_Sister - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#27600) #
Gerry, thanks for that great interview. What a pleasure to read and hear about the farm system from Dick himself.

I really appreciated the Player Quick Hits.
_Jordan - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#27601) #
Gerry is far too modest; I tinkered, but added very little to this excellent piece.

BB: Jason Arnold: is it a physical thing, or a mechanics thing?
DS: He needs to make a move and prove he belongs in the big leagues. He did not have a great year last year, and started off average this year before he hurt his shoulder. He’s a big boy. He knows what it takes, and it has to come from within.

That sure stood out like a sore thumb, didn't it? Scott was very upbeat and positive about virtually all his players, but this terse response said a great deal about what appears to be Arnold's precarious perch in the organization.

The news on DJ Hanson, whom I had feared was lost for good, is very encouraging. Non-surgery rehab is always risky, but going under the knife might have cost Hanson his career at this stage, so it's probably for the best. I hope he can pull it together, but the odds are admittedly against him.

Marcum as a reliever is intriguing -- Baseball America also expressed doubts that he'd be a front-end starter. Not only would a relief role make sense if Marcum's build isn't rotation material, but it might allow him to get to the majors faster. If he starts at Double-A and prospers, he might conceivably be a dark horse for the Toronto bullpen sometime in 2005.
Pistol - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 11:44 AM EDT (#27602) #
That sure stood out like a sore thumb, didn't it? Scott was very upbeat and positive about virtually all his players, but this terse response said a great deal about what appears to be Arnold's precarious perch in the organization.

I thought the exact same thing when I read that.
_Wildrose - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 11:45 AM EDT (#27603) #
Speaking of Victoria, I once heard from a "bird dog" for the Dodgers, who covered the lower-mainland and the Island,and who'd seen all those great B.C. players from Walker, Morneau, Pond, Harden, on down, state that the best baseball prospect he'd ever seen was this shortstop named Steve Nash.

He said he had, exceptional hand/eye shortstop actions, great feet, a plus arm and a solid bat.(He also at the time was an outstanding provincial highschool MVP in soccer and rugby).It bugs me that people say Nash is not a great NBA calibre athlete.
_Blue in SK - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 11:45 AM EDT (#27604) #
Great read. No way you can get this kinda stuff from a baseball magazine. Thanks to all for another Da Box exclusive.
Gerry - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 11:51 AM EDT (#27605) #
Full disclosure re: Arnold. The first two sentances were the initial response to the question. I slipped in an "I hear he needs to push himself" to get the big boy comment.
_Caino - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 12:20 PM EDT (#27606) #
Great work Gerry. Fantastic. Loved the Quick Hits especially.
_Caino - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 12:25 PM EDT (#27607) #
The lack of legitimate power hitting prospects has to be a concern. I wonfder if they will make a focused affort to address that this comming draft.
But i guess if there's a blue chip pitching prospect that falls on thier lap, they can't pass it up.
_Mylegacy - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 12:49 PM EDT (#27608) #
Gerry fantastic work! Will you marry me? Sh*t, my wife just said she won't give me a divorce.

Da Box is what I always hoped Baseball America would be like. If this site ever goes down I'll either kill myself or take up knitting.

Great work!!!!
robertdudek - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 12:54 PM EDT (#27609) #
You have to give everyone a chance: plenty of lower-draft choices make the major leagues. Mike Piazza was a 50th-round selection. I stress to our staff, “Don’t put a ceiling on a player.”

That was the most important comment in the piece to me.
_Caino - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 01:17 PM EDT (#27610) #
"Da Box is what I always hoped Baseball America would be like. If this site ever goes down I'll either kill myself or take up knitting."

- I was thinking of subscribing to either BA, or BP. I take it perhaps I should not... That and invest in some kniiting wool, b/c heavan forbid
_Jordan - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 01:25 PM EDT (#27611) #
I can't speak for BP, but if you're really interested in the minors, Baseball America is a must-have subscription. I don't agree with everything they say -- nor would I expect to -- but they are a terrific source of news, information and insight. For Draft Day in particular, BA is invaluable. A subscription's not cheap, which can give you pause, but overall I'd say it's definitely worth it.
_Caino - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 01:30 PM EDT (#27612) #
Sweet, Thanks Jordan, I'll have to check it out.
The price might be an issue being at school and all. But I have a job interview tomorrow, so maybe that will be my reward to myself if I get the job.
Thomas - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 03:53 PM EDT (#27613) #
Great job Gerry and thanks to Dick Scott for taking the time.

I agree that the Arnold response, even with the full disclosure, was quite indicative of what his status in the organisation appears to be.

re: the lack of big-time hitting prospects Caino mentioned. I'm of the attitude that you have to draft the best prospect available, regardless of position, for a significant portion of the draft. Only towards the ends do you want to be drafting for organisational needs. If the Jays feel that a pitcher is the best pick at 6, than they should take him. Needs change over time in an organisation, and just like Dick Scott said prospects from different spots in the draft end up making it to the bigs. They don't want to overdraft a "masher" just to try to get one in the organisation if he's not the best player available.
robertdudek - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 04:19 PM EDT (#27614) #
I've heard this "best prospect theory" a lot, but it strikes me that there isn't an objective way to compare a top hitting prospect and a top pitching prospect, since they do completely different jobs.

In the Jays current sitaution, If I had a choice between a top pitching prospect and a guy who I thought could hit 40 homers a year one day, I'd take the latter guy, solely because the Jays don't have anyone like that in their organisation right now.
_Jonny German - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 04:35 PM EDT (#27615) #
I'll join the chorus: Great interview.

Power hitting prospects? I give you Curtis Thigpen, Adam Lind, Chip Cannon, Joey Metropoulos, John Hattig, and Eric Crozier - all added to the system this year.
robertdudek - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 04:37 PM EDT (#27616) #
And all but Crozier at least 3 years away. Thigpen is a great athlete, but he's not going to hit 40 homeruns in the majors. Actually, none of them are really "great" power hitting prospects, merely decent to above-average.
_Jim - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 05:02 PM EDT (#27617) #
'Curtis Thigpen, Adam Lind, Chip Cannon, Joey Metropoulos, John Hattig, and Eric Crozier - all added to the system this year.'

If the six of them combine for 250 HR in MLB it would be a huge success.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 06:05 PM EDT (#27618) #
If two of them go on to have significant major league careers, that would be a good result. Personally, I think that they will make the 250 mark total with 3/4 of it or more from Adam Lind.
_Dean - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 06:16 PM EDT (#27619) #
Jonny, I just can't get revved over the group of guys you mentioned, but here's hoping.
_Daryn - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 08:32 PM EDT (#27620) #
The thing is, Power comes late right??
How would one be expected to project Power?
_R Billie - Thursday, October 07 2004 @ 10:51 PM EDT (#27621) #
There are a few ways to predict power but none of them is perfect. But the basic idea is Energy = Mass times Speed squared.

Speed refers to bat speed. The faster the hitter can whip the bat through the zone the harder and further the ball will be hit. Even skinny wiry guys like Alfonso Soriano can hit for big power because their muscles while not necessarily as large as say Sammy Sosa are incredibly dense and good at explosive action such as swinging a bat very fast.

Mass, the other main factor, refers to the raw strength of the hitter. Srong guys are generally have more muscle and extra weight behind their swings. If you've heard of smaller guys getting the bat knocked out of their hands by hard pitches it's because even with a quick bat they don't have the muscle to power through the counter-force of a hard pitch. A strong guy will be able to power through the pitch and maintain bat speed through the swing while a small guy will see his bat speed decrease more with the initial impact.

So bat speed itself is usually easy to see and can probably be measured with cameras and timing devices. A player either has it or they don't. The dense muscle fibers that decide explosive speed tend to degrade with age, moreso than the muscle that determines raw strength. So if a young player doesn't have bat speed they are unlikely to pick it up as time goes on. In this sense, the better hitters are born and not made.

Strength on the other hand can increase with age just by adding muscle mass. See Rafael Palmeiro early in his career versus late in his career. Because he never lifted weights as a young guy his body was still far from maxed out on its muscular potential. Younger guys generally have more potential to add muscle mass because men aren't fully developed physically until their mid-20s. They can add muscle more quickly and easily than an older man. An 18 year old who is getting a lot of extra base hits in the minors is a very good sign because by the time he's 24 he will probably be significantly stronger.

That's why scouts are generally optimistic about Rios' power potential. He's very tall and skinny despite being 190 lbs and could probably another 30 lbs of muscle his 6-5 frame in the next few years and still be able to move well.
Mike Green - Friday, October 08 2004 @ 10:46 AM EDT (#27622) #
Strength of the wrists and forearms particularly influences bat speed and those are partly innate and partly developed. Hank Aaron's whiffle-ball playing and Steve Garvey's grapefruit squeezing probably had something to do with their wrists and forearms respectively.
_Mylegacy - Friday, October 08 2004 @ 01:09 PM EDT (#27623) #
Caino, I LOVE Baseball America. Can't live without it! It is a must read, must buy!

Just shows you how much I love Da Box.
Joe - Saturday, October 09 2004 @ 10:43 AM EDT (#27624) #
I think Dick Scott is going to be named the 1st base coach shortly. As well as Mike Basso becoming the farm director. Did Gerry get any feedback from Dick Scott as to his goals of being a ML manager.
Coach - Saturday, October 09 2004 @ 01:29 PM EDT (#27625) #
Joe, that's not a bad guess; Scott would be a welcome addition to the Jays staff, and Basso could excel in either of those jobs.

However, Scott is supposedly quite happy with his present position, which allows him to see more of his young family in Arizona, so he may prefer not to commit to the 162-game grind of an AL season until later in his career. If that's the case, Basso might be considered as first base coach, but he's such a good minor-league manager, it won't surprise me if they go outside the organization. We'll know soon enough.
Gerry - Saturday, October 09 2004 @ 03:20 PM EDT (#27626) #
I don't think any of the current staff qualify as long time friends of Gibby. I would assume that the new coach will be a LTFOG (long time friend of gibby).
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