Dirk Hayhurst has a great story today about what led up to him getting drafted by the Padres in 2003. A lot of it was about his command, velocity and track record of success as a college pitcher. Some of it, though, was flat-out lying.
How so? Gotta read the story to find out specifically. But the takeaway from it all is that scouts are not all-seeing, 100% objective and rational operators taking in all the baseball information that is there to be seen. They too have politics, agendas, priorities and very real human limitations. And while that often leads to the top prospects being scouted to the nth degree, it leads a lot of lower-level prospects being only casually observed. And, if the lower level prospects plays it just right, it could give them an opportunity.
Two great reads before 9AM this morning. Look at you go, Monday.
The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.
Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.
Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.