Scout's Honor

By Chris Rewers on Friday, March 11, 2011

Predicting which young players will succeed at the major league level is anything but an exact science.

During my visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., I was fascinated by an original copy of a 1952 report filed by Brooklyn Dodgers scout Al Campanis regarding a Puerto Rican teenage standout named Roberto Clemente.

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In 1984, a scout noted that Greg Maddux had difficulty getting ahead in the count. He went on to become perhaps the greatest control pitcher in baseball history - and won 355 games - during his 23-year major league career.

Campanis gave the future Hall of Famer - perhaps the game's ultimate five-tool player - high marks across the board:

Speed: +

Fielding: A

Hitting: A

(With accompanying note: "Turns head, but improving.")

Arm Strength: A+

Power: A

Campanis had Clemente pegged and he went on to become perhaps the greatest right fielder in baseball history.

Equally as fascinating is a 1984 Cubs scouting report on 18-year-old, 155-pound Las Vegas high school pitching prospect named Greg Maddux.

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The one knock on Maddux from this anonymous scout was his control. Ha!

"Lacks overall control on all pitches," the report said. "Just has to get ahead on the hitters more often. Sometimes cocks his wrist too early on his curve & maybe telegraphs it."

Carrie Muskat noted this week that "Maddux faced 20,421 batters in his career. Just 310 of them saw a 3-0 count. That's roughly one every three starts. Thanks to MLB Trade Rumors for the research."

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