• Jun

    Scouting the Nationals/Rockies Game

    I’ve scouting pretty much every level of baseball whether it is high school, college or the minor leagues, but it wasn’t until last night that I got an opportunity to help scout a major league game.

    Thanks to one of my buddies who happen to be a scout for an American League team (Not the Orioles), I got to sit with him behind home plate in RFK stadium last night and swap opinions on the game as well as plenty of other baseball-related stories. It’s always fun to scout at any level, but it’s even more fun to sit with baseball professionals and talk the nuances of scouting baseball players.

    This was my first time in RFK stadium since watching a Colts-Redskins pre season game back in the 70s. They’ve obviously put some money into converting it into a baseball-only stadium but it’s still showing it’s age. At the same time, it’s kinda sad that their information displays were head and shoulders above the outdated displays in Camden Yards.

    It was a tough game for the Nationals fan as the Rockies broke the game open in the 6th inning enroute to a 9-2 win, but it was a small crowd to begin with so it was hard to gauge their excitement. I’ll tell you what though, if the guys in our row were any indication, getting something to eat and drink outweighed anything going on on the field.

    It’s always interesting to scout rather than watch a ballgame. When scouting, you pay much more closely to what the pitcher is trying to do, his location, and movement of his pitches. Most of the conversation early on was about Washington rookie Mike O'Connor – a Mount St. Joseph grad.  Only one of the three scouts I talked with liked O’Connor and he liked him in the bullpen.

    I kinda disagreed although the fact he ended up with his worse major league start didn’t bode well for my opinion. I kinda think O’Connor has a chance to stick in the majors for a while, but most likely it will end up in the bullpen because he tired badly around 70-75 pitches. If that’s the case normally, that won’t cut it as a starter. However, before he tired, he showed a plus curve ball and nice change that he kept down for the most part. His fastball is only 87-88 MPH but he has some deception in his windup as he bends way back in his load (when the back shoulder drops below the front shoulder during the delivery). All three of his pitches come from the same overhand slot position and his arm speed appears the same on each. Command became an issue once he tired, but before that he did a great job of missing away from the plate, not out over it.

    In the long run he’s probably a fifth starter/long guy unless he can improve his endurance. If that occurs and he’s stays away from the middle of the plate, I can see him having a nice little major league career.

    Other things of note: Washington catcher Brian Schneider looks like his bat speed is gone, Colorado first baseman Todd Helton looks like he has become a Mark Grace-type hitter, Mike Stanton needs to consider retirement with the stuff he has left, and Gary Majewski slows his arm speed down when he’s going to throw his plus slider.

    Over the next few months I’m going to whipping through the minor leagues in order to see the O’s prospects. I’ll probably break each pitcher down like I did O’Connor and eventually have eyes on scouting reports of each top prospect.

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Tony Pente

Tony has owned and operated Orioles Hangout since 1996 and is well known for his knowledge of the Baltimore Orioles organization from top to bottom. He's a frequent guest on Baltimore-area sports radio stations and can be heard regularly on the 105.7 FM The Fan. His knowledge and contacts within the Orioles minor league system and the major league baseball scouting industry is unparalleled in the Baltimore media and is known as an expert on the Orioles prospects.