Great Moments in Scouts’ Notes

For all of the things I’ve written, reading the A-Rod book is not without its enjoyable moments. I may later assemble some random ones in a post, but I want to share this one while it’s fresh. From the field notes of Mariners’ scout Roger Jongewaard after surveying Alex Rodriguez, high school senior:

Premium prospect with potential to be an impact player . . . Darren Dreifort would be a good pick but Rodriguez is better!

Not to be too hard on Jongewaard — scouting has to be an unbelievably tough racket, and hindsight is 20/20, but it’s the exclamation point that gets me. Like he felt he had to add when saying something so audacious as Rodriguez > Dreifort.

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Comments

  1. Greg Simons said...

    Isn’t Selena Roberts’ next book going to be about Dreifort?  Anonymous sources tell me that the only reason he got that five-year, $55 million contract is because he had compromising photos of Tommy Lasorda, several co-eds, and a bathtub full of pasta.

  2. J.W. said...

    I heard that Jongewaard only recommended A-Rod so highly because Rodriguez tipped him off to the fact that the local steakhouse was giving away free potato skins.

  3. Keith Law said...

    This is hearsay, since I believe Dreifort was drafted while I was still in college, but by all accounts Dreifort was pretty freaking awesome as college arms go. He didn’t have the cleanest delivery you’ll ever see, and Wichita State had a rep at the time for working pitchers hard, but the stuff was apparently very, very good.

    It is sort of instructive, though, if you think about the Harper vs. Strasburg debate; your single example would indicate Harper is the better bet.

  4. Jake said...

    Isn’t Selena Roberts’ next book going to be about Dreifort?

    nope… the far more interesting Darren Daulton.

  5. Sara K said...

    “Anonymous sources tell me that the only reason he got that five-year, $55 million contract is because he had compromising photos of Tommy Lasorda, several co-eds, and a bathtub full of pasta.”

    Years later, she will insist that the real motivation behind the book was to expose the Dodger organization as a culture of hedonistic starch abuse.

  6. Peter said...

    Along the serious lines of what Keith and David said, I believe the history here is that the M’s were struggling between what a greater need for pitching, and the perception that Dreifort was closer to the majors than the high school A-Rod.  Just like how they almost took Mike Harkey over Griffey.  See these two stories:

    http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19930527&slug=1703381

    http://articles.latimes.com/1996-09-23/sports/sp-46863_1

  7. Sam said...

    Jongewaard also owns a pretty dynamite corner diner a few blocks from my house, so I give him a complete pass. The burgers are good but the pie is better!

  8. Matt T. said...

    Isn’t Jongewaard the scout who irreparably screws up Billy Beane’s playing career in Moneyball?

  9. David said...

    I’ve always operated under the idea that if any draft pick turns into a productive, regular major leaguer, then the scouts did their job.  I’ve never considered the baseball draft to be like the NBA where virtually all of the top picks will become good or even great. 

    So, since Dreifort was a productive player apart from his injuries (which nobody could realistically forecast), I’d say that the scout was actually pretty darn prescient in citing two quality major leaguers in his report.

    Having said that, a better example of inept scouting would be the documents that were revealed of scouts critiquing Randy Johnson in high school.  The scouts were almost entirely negative and/or skeptical.  One of them wrote that his fastball was nothing special.  (When showed the scout’s notes, the Unit remarked that his fastball was the only good attribute that he possessed in high school!)

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