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Ep. 52: Player Evaluation and Scouting By Michael Medici | A Baseball Podcast

Geoff Rottmayer March 16, 2020 2


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Player Evaluations and Scouting with Michael Medici

Welcome to The Baseball Awakening Podcast, where we dive into the raw, unfiltered, unsexy side of player development

Guest Bio:

Michael Medici – Texas Ranger Scout and Founder of ScoutSchool.org

Summary:

On this episode, Host Geoff Rottmayer sits down with Michael Medici, Texas Ranger Scout and Founder of ScoutSchool.org

Show Notes: In this conversation, Michael talks about:

  • How Michael got into scouting.
  • The difference between recruiting for college and scouting for professional baseball.
  • What do scouts look for when they go and look at players.
  • The process of projecting players.
  • What is makeup and how important it is?
  • The tools of baseball.
  • Why competition and playing better competition matters in evaluating a player.
  • Why strength and athleticism matters.
  • What body type is preferred and why they like certain body types.
  • What type of fo body does not meet what they are looking for?
  • and much more.

Website: www.baseballawakening.com

Facebook: Baseball Awakening Podcast

Twitter: Baseball Awakening Podcast

Instagram: The Baseball Awakening Podcast

Email Address: geoff@baseballawakening.com

Geoffrey Rottmayer
On today’s show, we have Michael Medici, a scout for detecting Ranger, and we’re talking about scouting and player evaluation.

Intro
Welcome to another episode of the baseball awakening podcast where we dive into the raw, unfiltered unsexy side of player development. Get ready for some knowledge bombs with your host, Jeff rottenmeier.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Welcome to the baseball wisdom podcast. I’m Geoff Rottmayer. And today I’m sitting down with Michael Medici, a scout for the Texas Ranger as well at the founder of scout school.org. Michael, how are you sir?

Mike Medici
Good, sir. How are you?

Geoffrey Rottmayer
I’m doing good. Michael right now you are a scout for the Texas Rangers and you also have a forum or website scout school.org that you recently started that I’m a fan of, and I’m pretty proactive on and I want to get into all that but let’s just kind of start with who you are and how you got into scouting.

Mike Medici
Well, you know, I, I was I always say if like you want to become a scout, you’re gonna be a bad player first. And unfortunately, my career ended after four years of college, tried the business world for a little bit and still had the itch to get in the game. I had an opportunity to coach Coach Division Two baseball. And from there I became a top assistant at a division one program. I was there for two years before getting an opportunity with the Toronto Blue Jays who at the time back in, that was 2000 fall 2009 when they just let go of JP Ricciardi and brought in Alex and Alex had this vision of having an massive amounts of scouts. He wanted. We had the biggest scouting department in baseball with something nobody was doing. It was during a time where, you know, it was you’re getting an analytics push was starting to come and he wanted to beat people on the ground. And they added 11 new positions with the Jays. And I was fortunate enough to have a connection to Toronto, you know, they brought me in for an interview. So that’s kind of how I got my start. I was there for four years, and then came over here to Texas in 2013. And I’ve been here six years now for 10 years all together within the Midwest of the scale.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Awesome. So So as a as a college coach, you know, recruiting is the lifeblood of the program. And then when you get to pro ball, scouting is the lifeblood of the organization. But they’re they’re so different, you know, recruiting a kid for college versus, you know, scouting your kid for pro ball. So can you talk a little bit about the difference between, you know, as someone who had experienced both sides of it,

Mike Medici
yeah, in college at that time, you know, you’re really in just year to year you’d go out and you’d look at the shame to be high school seniors. You know, now it’s really like, these colleges are submitting these guys younger and younger. So it’s almost like they’re getting way ahead of off where they’re recruiting freshmen, sophomores and you’re really projecting out and that’s on the pro side. That’s a big part of what we do. we’re projecting out three to five years and honestly, I think the colleges now are projecting out three, you know, at least three years in some cases. But you know, when you’re in college, you’re really trying to you know, you’re really trying to recruit that guy hard. You’re trying to give him every which reason to pick you. And, you know, that requires building relationship, get to know the kid in and out because you’re going to be with them for the next four years. Were on the pro side, you know, in a way where Kind of recruiting them. But at the end of the day, they don’t pick us, we pick them, you know, so you try to create a relationship where, hey, if we do select you and we agree you’re comfortable enough to sign with us based on all the information I’ve given you about an organization and how we’re going to treat you and develop you, you know, do everything we can to get you to the major leagues, you know, so there is some when you work on the amateur side, there is some similarities. I think the biggest difference is, you know, the, the college guy picks his school or on the pro side, you know, we pick them, that would be the biggest The biggest difference,

Geoffrey Rottmayer
right? Let’s dive into the, the evaluating, you know, question that gets asked a lot, and a lot of parents have this question and even coaching is, what are you looking for. So when you go To game and you go to watch a guy, what are you guys looking for?

Mike Medici
You know, I think the biggest thing is you look for tools, tools, tools, you always will say tools will play, you know, so you hear like the five tools, the run, hit, throw field power, you know, that’s the biggest thing, you know, so you kind of start with that. So like right now the drafts done, we’re going to turn this over really quick, we’re going to start looking towards 2020 you know, and right off the bat line is I got a list of amateur events and high school kids that are going to be attending. So I’m going to start going to those and when I go to those, you know, you really know these rosters are huge and academic. You know next Tuesday when I go to this one it could be 80 kids there you know and you can only get so much out of just a workout you know so it’s really a just circling names and the any be pretty lenient when it comes to that because it is just a workout. Hey, you know, I kind of like the swinger and showed some power or Hey, this guy ran really well or he threw up And maybe on the mount a guy had a really good feel for a breaking ball. And, you know, so you’re just circling guy, you’re, you’re identifying some tools, you know, because we have a year until we have to deal with dropped again. You know, so you’re trying to compile this big list. And throughout that during over the next few months as we have more and more events, I see you guys more and more. You know, I started to get more and more information, you know, so all right, now I got the tools. All right. Now I’m going to go see him in a game. How did How do those tools translate? You know, and then sure, as a pitcher, we’re gonna try to accumulate the winnings as a hitter. We want to accumulate some at bats. You know, it’s one thing to have tools within it’s another thing like, how do they play? You know, do they play in a game, there’s plenty of times we see a guy that can burn in the 60. And then he gets on on the diamond and it doesn’t play nearly to that level. You know, and then as we move into the fall, we’re starting we start digging into the whole makeup thing, which for me is really important, you know, and over the time Really trying to build this, this picture of what the player is, you know, and then it goes into the projecting phase of Alright, what can this guy be in the future? And does he have all these, these different components that make up you know what I consider a projectable type player.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Nice, you know and as far as the the ability to project the player that that takes time. So if I’m if I’m a guy and I’m listening to this, and I have this desire to get into scouting, what is the the process of being able to project a player?

Mike Medici
You know, for a long time it was if you saw a six 380 pound body or like projectable then if you listen to the draft on day two when you had callus and males on so you probably heard projectable hundreds of times, right, you know, everybody’s projectable so I kind of come up with this way of like, Alright, what is projecting? You know, and look at it from six different criteria. Its body tools, makeup, work ethic, toughness and aptitude. To me, if you have all six, that’s a true projectable player, you know, and for me, three through five are ones that you can, like make up work ethic, toughness, aptitude, like, if they’re missing some of those things. You know, when you listen to those, why have concerns? Well, if you’re missing one of them, I have major concerns. Because if the makeup doesn’t align, you’re not going to get to the tools. And that’s why so many guys were Uber talented. Just tools galore that you people get enamored with. If they don’t have the makeup, they are not going to make it. So for me, it’s tough to say listen, true, projectable type guy. Well, he doesn’t have. He doesn’t fulfill all the criteria, but he’s never going to get to a ceiling when you’re projecting your project. He’s gonna get to a ceiling. Well, you can’t go on just body alone or smooth, easy swing or clean, easy delivery. You know, he’s got to have some of these other tangibles in order to get to what your addicting is going to be in that three to five year span.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Nice. But let’s talk more about makeup. You know, for the people that are listening, what the makeup mean and why is important,

Mike Medici
you know, makeups can be it’s a lot of things. It could be other others on the field is off the field. You know, how does he compete on the field? You know, I get it. The numbers make you want 19 overall, Zach Thompson from Kentucky, one of my favorite guys I’ve known for a long time. Zach is the most one of the most competitive kids I’ve ever met between the lines and one of the nicest soft spoken kids off the field. You know, so you start looking at, alright, on the field, this guy is an absolute warrior doesn’t matter. If it’s Tuesday at 12 o’clock against his own teammates, or it’s, you know, Friday night under the lights for the SEC, this guy’s was given it as all, you know, and then off the field, it’s this guy, what kind of work ethic does he have? What kind of character does he have? What kind of teammate is he? Does he love the game? Is he is there a desire to be great? How does he handle adversity? You know, when these some of these guys especially when they go into those higher conferences, as freshmen and and that’s the first time they’re really going to get challenged and how do they respond to that kind of stuff? You know, I think makeups it can be evaluated, depress a lot of different areas. You know, for us, it’s a lot of getting to know the player one on one getting in front of them, talking to them trying to understand what makes them tick. It’s also talking to the coaches, but, you know, I kind of found that most coaches are going to support the players unless they truly cannot stand them. So They’re usually pretty positive, you know. So you get to really start digging in, you know, I talk to strength coaches a lot. They probably spend the most time with anybody with players and know players, much better than the coaches. We also talked to previous coaches, tap the center, get, you know, these guys go off in the summer programs, as those guys, you know, you’re getting a lot of different things and when they’re all the same, you know, you got a pretty good kid, you know, but when you start getting, you know, reports that conflict each other, then you got to keep digging. You know, the best makeup player I ever had was Jordan O’Dell, by far. We, he was, I think, three years ago now. I mean, he might be in the big league this year. You know, I kind of put him on a pedestal. And the summer before his senior year, he struggled. He struggled immensely in a lot of different events and people have major concerns a swing and miss big power. I don’t think this guy is going to hit but everybody I talked to, they said he would come home, they literally dropped this stuff and he went right back to work. He never dwelled. He moved right past that event, he started prepping for the next one. He was incredibly regimented for a kid that was 1718 years old. And I think that shows this is a perfect example of, hey, he was a projectable type guy with a ton of tools. But he had, you know, my makeup, work ethic covenants. And after he had those things, so he’s getting to his tool he’s gotten to his makeup is so good. And he’s gotten to his tools extremely quickly.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Very nice. Let’s dive into tool.Budget, kind of start with hitting.What What did one have to be able to do for you to start kind of checking the box and say, Yep, this guy can hit.

Mike Medici
Yeah, it’s hitting stuff. It might be one of the more difficult ones to evaluate because obviously, there’s such things as bad days, or maybe somebody’s on a really good streak. You got to see them along, you got to really accumulate at bats. And if you know for like, right now I’m going to try first hitters I like especially high school guys, accumulating as much as I can, especially against better pitching. You know, when I have a good college bat, that maybe playing at a lower level division one, you know, I try to see him again, the better apps, you know, most guys, they can handle 8588 you know, it’s like, how does this guy handle velocity So you not only got to see him again, a lot, but you want to see him against the better arms, you know, for we got to look at things that can’t really necessarily be taught, you know, bad speed is can’t really teach that hand eye. You can’t teach that. Just guys that are pure basketball skills. It’s difficult to teach, you know, so you look for those little things that that you can’t really work with. You know, guys that maybe their feet are a bit of a master there. Maybe they’re not Getting, you know, to the loaders, just those are all fixable, you know, so you really look at things that now we’re not going to be able to really develop, you know, those guys that can hit the ball ball fields just constantly perform. I think performance is a big one that you see guys that are sometimes taken later in the draft, they say, Oh, this kind of performer, you know, maybe doesn’t have a glaring tools across the board. But you know, there’s one common thing that this guy can do, he can hit, you know, he can hit you can play. And that’s kind of what you’re seeing. Now. That’s why I think the you know, utility position is become so valuable, and you can play different spots, because if you can hit we’re going to get in the lineup, you know, some of them need some of the best hitters I’ve ever had in my area. guys that don’t necessarily do it the way people would prefer. They look different. They’re different types of looks to their swings, but there’s one common denominator that they always barrel the ball. It never mattered what the velocity was. credible hand eye coordination, they could manipulate the barrel, they could send it to all fields. You know, it just it looked different. But at the end of the day they they hit right that it is extremely tough.Yeah, you got to see if you like a guy, you got to see him a lot.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Nice man. This is good information. So so for the people that are listening, you got a kid in small town, Oklahoma. And he’s hidden slick 50 or 550 whatever he didn’t he did pretty good in high school. But he’s not getting the attention that he feels he’s deserved because he’s hitting 550 600 or whatever, in high school. So can you explain to our listeners who might have a son in this situation? Why is it hidden stiff? 5550 whatever it is high school not good enough.

Mike Medici
You know, unfortunately, if you’re like a high school kid that just hits And maybe they don’t have the biggest tools on for, you know, they get devalued in some ways. I think, you know, when we’re looking at high school guys as an industry that they get very caught up in the tool. If you’re just a pure bat, you know, they’re gonna say, well go to college and prove me wrong in three years. You know that that’s it. Same thing on the pitching side, the high school player that has a good body and can really pitch but doesn’t necessarily have big stuff. We’re going to say go to college, and they’re going to go to college and they’re going to continue to do it, they’re going to progress and are probably, you know, they’re gonna come out and be in a pretty good spot in three years. I’ve seen it happen multiple times here. Yeah, it’s just we devalue. Guys that could just hit in high school with lacking a tool or the the pitchers that have good pitch ability. And just like stuff, because, you know, they say in a dress, we buy tools and we buy stuff. But to me, they’re still selling For guys that can flat out hit. Yeah, you know, I was like Daniel Vogel box and he got big rock power. But he was uh, he ended up getting drafted out of high school you know, and I and I think as an industry a lot of teams was how could you take that guy who’s a bad body? first base only, you know, but there’s one thing that guy always did he always hit and he had pretty big rock power, which he’s done in Seattle. You know, but that’s, those are exceptions. You don’t see that very often and that, you know, you’re going to need some support from the higher ups when we take a guy like that you truly believe this is going to be a guy for you.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah. So let me ask you Michael, you know, you got a guy you look at and you go, geez, this guy, look at this guy. He’s got the look he super athletic. He’s strong. And then you see him play and he got he got the tools you like you like the the quick hand the fat mask need be kind of within you guys are looking for But the project the production on the field during games is not there. Do you guys just kind of sit there and say, Man, if this kid would just tweak the swing a little bit or something, the kicker plane because you know the swing the misses are not good man and the swing the myth because of a horrible feeling. I mean, is that a bad deal for you in your guys’s eyes?

Mike Medici
Is it you know, you have to ask yourself, Is this swing a mess in the zone or out of the zone? If it’s swinging a miss in his own question to pitch recognition, can they see spin on its chase? That’s just plate discipline that’s not as big you can work with plate discipline, you can’t work with pitch recognition. You know that? That’s the big thing in scouting. You can’t You can’t play development. You know, I can’t go in there and present a player and just break them down and says I’m going to build them back off. You know But they tell you like don’t play development, you know if they’re, hey, there’s some minor tweaks that prevent him to get into this, you know, but that’s what’s kind of fun on the immature side, the on the pro side, you just go to the ballpark lots of players who go home on the amateur side, not necessarily the college guy, they’re a little tougher to get around off the field. But the high school player, you know, let’s just say I live in Indiana, you know, here’s a high school hitter I really liked and I may invite them down to come hit with me and I’ve done this in the past Hey, come on down hit with me, you know, and I’ll start messing with them a little bit not you know, nothing crazy if they just try this look that feel like you know, that tells me when he told me aptitude. Can they do it? And to you know if he could if I see something? Yeah, we had a hitter, the end of going to college. He’s a, he came out hit with me a ton as a senior in high school and there was something in his swing that I knew could change. And I think he told this college coach might feed the goats. I know I know that. We see it too. He was a freshman all American this year. So, you know, that’s where he was ready to come out play. So it didn’t matter. But if he was, I at least knew Okay, we can, we could take this player, he could make the adjustment and he can get to more baseball’s just by making a small little tweak in a swing.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, you know, in one of the conversation that we had on your scouting form, scout school, org, something that I recommend, you know, for the people that are listening to check out if you have this desire to evaluate players one day, but one of the things that we talked about wasthebody, body body type, you know, in the body and how big of a deal it is, you know, certain body type may not play. So, can you talk a little bit more about body type and why it’s important, you know, some, some people can help them. Think that Some people yeah.

Mike Medici
Yeah, I mean, we look for body that I think that’s I remember when I first started I went pro scout difference with collagen proteins, like when we really look at the body. You know, because when you start thinking about a pitcher hanging 200 innings on, can they do that? And can they hold off over time? You know, not break down down the stretch when it matters the most, you know, and then same thing with the hitter. You know, it’s, I think, whether it’s minor league or big league, it’s a grind. It’s a long season. And the only know you gotta have the physicality to be able to withstand and not fall apart. You know, it’s just like when you look at a catcher, that’s five, nine, you know, is he is he an athlete? Is he going to do the kind of work ethic that he has? Does he have enough to withstand the rigors of a condition? You know, and the same thing, anywhere often done? You know these I was going to be able to hold off where are they going to be able to are they going to break down you know so you look for guys that have good strong frames good foundations when we get to get around them you really get to see like arms or muscle definition in there. Are they ultra lean? Are they going to you know they’re always going to be lean you know we look at like what is mom and dad look like sometimes just try to give a picture like hey if he’s This one looks like he’s built like that that the big man you know there might be more muscle growth to come You know, and in some cases the other ones built more like mommy’s like this might be what we have right here. But the big thing with the bodies Yeah. You know is it is happening the other thing is I guess, kind of athlete is the guy isn’t this ludecke body or is it you know more of a year all sorts of chunky more boxy. You know Is he not need the duck footed mean when you look behind the plate, you know A small hand guy does the you know we prefer guys with bigger hand same thing on the Mount you got bigger hands and all right Could you do a split to help the change up be the circle guy you know you start you want to know all those little things about them because it really comes down to when you start looking at projecting if he’s five can maxed out you know what you see is what you get if he’s six 380 pounds doesn’t really easy on the mound and he has really good feel like you can you can you can really start projecting your numbers a little bit and it’s the same thing from position standpoint. You know, if you’re looking at a think of a hitter we prefer the guys would be about five nine to six foot This is those guys hit. You know, but what’s the strength like, you know, get up on them shake their hand, you know, check the forums. Is there is there strengthen that foundation, or is it just more bony lean? That’s kinda gonna be

Geoffrey Rottmayer
right so so it so stain on the topic of body. You got a guy that’s super athletic. But maybe the body doesn’t match the athletic system. What what the thought process you know, what are you guys thinking about when you guys see a guy that doesn’t have the body type, but he’s super athletic.

Mike Medici
It’s almost like you’re describing 100 I think 100 pants, because, yeah, you got a tall, lanky dangly body. He’s super athletic, any day, nothing that looks natural. But it works. It just played like that’s why I think he I think he still went pretty good in the draft. But I think he got pushed down a good bit because everything was good. He had unbelievable bat speed, unbelievable hand eye coordination. The one thing in scouting is always to remember there’s exceptions to every rule. Yeah, especially in baseball. So when you get that guy that’s Like, hey, nothing this guy does looks natural, but he’s incredibly athletic and he gets away with it. Like those guys can be special. Yeah, because they’re just there’s something that you really can’t explain but he just does it and that’s kind of how I think pence was you know like if you saw him in the minor leagues are going to swing looks atrocious. I mean, even as on deck swings are terrible to the golf ball, you know, he throws from a lower slot. He, he’s like hunched over when he runs what he can actually run. And I’m sure he got knocked a lot in the minor leagues. But he gets a dot and that’s it that it’s how does he perform he performs at night and night I perform a great verse right now it’s awesome. But yeah, there’s there’s always an exception to every rule.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Right? We’re let’s say, now you got a guy who has the size got the strange look, but not necessarily athletic.

Mike Medici
If you’re lacking athleticism, it’s very difficult to project. Yeah. That’s I think that’s the biggest thing. You know, athletes, and this is most especially on the mound. If he’s a non athlete, you’re probably seeing, you know, you got to say, hopefully he’s pretty polished. You can’t start projecting too crazy and thinking he’s going to make adjustments not athletes don’t they don’t feel adjustments. That’s the problem. So if there’s something preventing him from getting to maybe a secondary development, not going to be able to make that change, because he’s never going to feel it. And if he can’t feel it, you can’t make the adjustment. Or the athlete. You say, hey, do this he does, it feels it and implement it right away. You know, that’s a special like we want we want athletes on the mountain and there’s plenty of guys that are monophyletic that get away with it, sure. But they probably have pretty good stuff because they are who they are.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, now this is golden man that there there’s a lot more to that than people realize this is really good information. But let’s go back to tools. But I want to talk about throwing, you know, this is something that I see a lot of kids need a lot of work on, at least where I’m at, you know, what I see is a lot of there’s a lot of work needs to be done on throwing, but can you talk a little bit about throwing the throwing tools and what you guys are looking for?

Mike Medici
Yeah, I mean, when you’re, I think part of the skies are just like hitting there’s all these lessons and when it comes to throwing, nobody ever really says how you throw in especially now you’re starting to see the weight evolve and the way the balls are starting to trickle down to the younger levels. And in some ways, I think, maybe there’s a spot for at least teach you the proper mechanics of throwing the old way Look at outfielders you’re looking at alright Is it a pretty smooth non interrupted arm circle you know how does it come out you can see a lot by like the release. You know when a guy has a plus arm it looks like it just floats out of his hand and the ball just carry and it keeps going on a line you know those are guys with special arms and those are the guys are usually in the corners in centerfield we don’t worry about it necessarily too much a little bit of a shorter throw and you know where it is in the field. You know, we’re looking more speed up the middle so those guys get a little bit of a break. But in the corners Yeah, we look for guys a little bit more arm strength, you know, in the outfield. When it comes down to hitting like you got if you’re a corner guy, you got a hit. You got some power, you know, the arm almost becomes second third on the list as far as what we want. When you look in the infield. The big thing is you want guys that have we call arm utility data control from multiple spots. You know there’s there’s guys that you’re going to A shortstop and you can only throw from a higher slot then it’s going to be taught we’re going to either need to learn how to work from down below or from the bottom up. You know the kid I’m watching these last few nights you’re doing pro stuff. I mean, this kid literally just from a low slot will just risk the ball across the diamond. And it’s like on a line and accurate every single time. That’s a pretty special arm. Yeah. You know, I think it’s the one you always look for is most of the time we’re looking for shortstops and if you know the shorts of any Metro from multiple angles, can he grow from the hole Can he finish plays the you know, and then those shortstops are the ones that alright, maybe he grew out of the position he moves a third maybe doesn’t have the feet right now he moves over second. The arms a little shy, those guys ended up at second base. But yeah, for us, it’s you’re really looking at Can you do it from multiple angles? What kind of arm strength is in there? It pretty clean and loose. And how accurate is he? When he doesn’t there’s a lot of guys when they do drop down all of a sudden they have no clue where the balls don’t matter. They need to learn how to keep your fingers on top of the ball even from a lower slot. The like I said the kid I didn’t watch it here. So video that’s how you draw it up. I mean, just to see a kid literally feel the ball from his head, this wrist the ball across the infield. That’s pretty special.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, you know, we talked on the forum, you know, scout score.org. About the arm action for pitching. Can you talk a little bit about the armature for you know, the infielders, man Yeah.

Mike Medici
Now, just more like, just as a clean as it is just clean, compact circle that, you know, allows them to be accurate. The guys that I’ve seen that aren’t accurate, are usually that third base. Like in pitching we talked about inverted like a high back elbow. Those guys I’ve seen a third base. Some cases first, they aren’t nearly as accurate, and it’s because they get that high back elbow. And then as their arm comes around and flips, they don’t get much behind it, and the ball ends up sailing on them. That’s the one I would say. Knock on an infielder if you see that, like this guy’s probably not going to have the best accuracy. You want a guy that kind of gets out away from his body true three quarters slot and that can get out front and get something behind the ball. But nothing. You know, it’s rare to see guys with any kind of funk in the infield. I think that there’s some funk they’ve probably had, especially I suppose at the pro level, they’ve probably been moved to an outfield spot by then. Yeah. But there’s not too often that you see, at least guys that you’re looking at as prospects. Usually those guys are pretty clean.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah. So so you know at what point in evaluating a guy do you say, No, let’s say you go watch him and he plays shortstop. And you know, this happened quite a bit and people just can’t comprehend it. But you look at this kid and he plays shortstop and you look at it and you say, Yeah, you’re not really a shortstop at the next level. Maybe he’s an outfielder. You know how I you know what comes to mind when you see a guy and you say, Yeah, good player, but wrong position.

Mike Medici
You know, that’s, that’s actually a scouting interview question is good. Everybody wants to move to shortstop, right away, they go in up can’t play shortstop or he can’t stick there and part of it’s because you go around, look at the lower levels and most of them are Latin because those guys usually can really pick it and your feet are incredible and your hands are quick and they got live arms. You know, the new look here in the States. We just we don’t have those types of guys. You know, you work from the bottom. You are from The ground up and that’s how I deal with shortstops. So you need the feet, the feet gotta be good, the feeder is what’s going to get you to the ball up the middle, it’s going to get you to the ball in the in the 5.5 ball. That’s number one. Second is the hands. All right, your feet getting in place. Now your hands good enough to make the play and you make the backhand. You make the forehand. You know you’re throwing from, it’s probably the most difficult throw on the field. So you know your hands, they weren’t quick enough to get from. Send your gloves to your hand as the exchange is a clean and as a quick and then the last thing is the arm is the arm good enough to finish the play. Now again, there are exceptions to every rule turn. You know, one of the best players I’ve ever wanted. Probably one of my favorite players I’ve ever been around is called the young who’s shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals. You know, Paulie didn’t didn’t play shortstop at Illinois State. You actually do float between third base, second base and you catch on One of the games on the weekend and that’s actually kind of like my thought very this guy hits and he could show he could catch like, you got an all star this guy could really hit. And that’s if you watch Paul, it’s nothing flashy. It’s more of like, Alright, we’re gonna you know the Cardinals are okay with him being just good enough at that position he’s never going to be plus but he’s gonna get he’s gonna get everything done that he’s supposed to. He’s really gonna hit me. I don’t know what he’s hitting right now. But I had a guess is probably upper twos with a whole bunch of home run. You got the power? No, you know, so it’s like, give and take you know, or do you want the flashy guy that can really defend that’s gonna hit you to 20 hit a needle with maybe a handful. homeruns Yeah, so you know, and if you hit bowl, you know you got an all star you got, you know, you got your a rods. You get your jitters?

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, you know, so, so going back to body, man. I feel like I’m kind of all over the place, but With my question, but but let’s go back to body type, you know, and for the people that are listening, you know, the guy that is, you know, more physically matured you know, always been bigger than everyone and stronger than everyone. Do you guys like that? You know, for the people that are listening and says, Ma’am, I can probably play a little bit but man, he’s small, he basically underdeveloped. You know, can you talk a little bit about the, the guy who had maturity versus the guy that has a little bit more room to grow?

Mike Medici
Yeah, this is, especially on the amateur side, you see it a lot. You know, the high school kid that maybe just hit his growth spurt ahead of everybody else. And, you know, it’s, you’re looking at him like, Man, this guy’s pretty physically advanced. And then you look at the other guy that, you know, it’s almost like he hasn’t grown into his body, his body Still pretty immature, you know, probably still hasn’t shaved. You know, that’s actually a pretty big indicator. If you look at a guy and he’s got a full beard, you know, if I’m looking at an 18 year old kid, and he’s got a beard thicker than mine, I know that he’s probably maxed out. That’s probably who I’m looking at. Then I look at the guy that on the other side that, you know, barely has any whiskers. And he’s still really lean. You know, I know there’s more upside there. You know, and I thought this this, this probably comes in the, I hear it more like, you know, I’m looking at Guy 1718 I probably hear it more like 14 to 16 you know, kids just haven’t developed yet. They develop at all different stages, and it’s like, just let natural progression play out. You know, eventually it will catch up. But I honestly I’d prefer Give me the guy that really mean that got some ability and is really athletic. That hasn’t quite you know, grown. newest body You know, one big leaguer, Ryan brockie pitches for the Blue Jays, I still mess with him because I mean, he looks like he’s 12 now, and, you know, I look back at our pictures and we signed them out of high school. Like he didn’t ever compare on his face. You know, I knew, you know, and then three years later in the minor league, it’s like a man. Yeah, he’s still he’s, I don’t think he shaved yet, but he’s still fully physically starting to look like a man. Yeah, you know, so that it tells you on the growth chart, you know, where are they at? Like, because we have, you know, in our body descriptions, we put max out mature you know, or is it the other like ultra projectable a lot of upside room for growth, you start you start putting those types of phrases in there that tells you like, Hey, man, we got there’s plenty more to come with this guy.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Have you seen a guy that you know kind of math now but can still apply?

Mike Medici
Yeah, those guys usually a big tools. You know, like even if like and I know this is a this is probably an exception but like Bryce Harper it I’m pretty sure he had that beard going when he was young, but the guy was just so special, you know, it was already there. But if you start looking at, you know, some of the high school guys that were probably taken, you know, they’re still they probably look pretty young, isn’t it? Yes.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
These the ones that were taken up highso so now we’re in a time of the analytics man and the numbers man and all that stuff, you know, so how do you guide the scouts feel about the analytics man and what does it do for you as a scout?

Mike Medici
You know, I think it’s important. I think it’s the way I and I still and I was reluctant and buying into all the numbers and just cuz I’m a baseball guy. I’m not. Not a statistician. I don’t I never you know, I think part of its understanding it I think there’s a place for it. I kind of like how we do some things where, you know, it’s looking at a player, it’s a huge, it’s just this massive puzzle, there’s a whole lot of different pieces. When you start, you start building that puzzle, you know, you look at, you know, the makeup side of it. And then you look at the evaluation, the tool and what is the, and then you look at all right, what are the analytics tell us and we’re looking at high school guys. It’s a smaller sample size from where the college players at, you know, there’s much more track man now, in all these college parks, we get much more data in the high school guys, we’re kind of limited to just the summer stuff. You know, but if you can pick up on some things, you know, I talked to our analytics guy a good bit throughout the spring, and it’s almost like, Hey, this is what I’m seeing. Is this what you’re seeing and the one that helps, that I like is like pitchers. You know, like you look at a high school guy. Can you really spin the ball? You know, that’s the big indicator. She can’t spin a breaking ball at high school, the chances of you developing one are usually pretty slim. You know, so I’ll say I don’t see spin. What does trackman tell you? Well, it it, the spin numbers aren’t great. Okay. You know, I feel better now that what my eyes are telling me it’s verified through the track man data. Yeah. You know, and then there is are all indicators. Hey, you know, this guy. Negative oxys. Really good. What do you do like them? Was it was he good, but he swings and misses a time? Yeah. Okay. You know, so there’s, there’s places for it. There’s places where it definitely helps. And, you know, I don’t think that can be the answer, because you can get a guy that has great track and numbers. You know, he’s got great tools. But if you leave out the makeup side, there’s no chance in the world this guy will ever get the visibility even not. I can guarantee you see it all the time. There’s been a lot of guys that have made the big league this year that I’ve scouted in my area. And there’s one common trait Amongst them for all good makeup God. Yeah, I mean I’m, I’m a true believer in that so you can have you can have the ability you can have the numbers of back you up, but you need that that other component. But yeah, there’s there’s definitely a place for the analytics. I just don’t think you can go 100% I think you miss you know?

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah you know, Michael, you’d mentioned several times throughout this conversation there something that you just that that can’t be taught you know like bending the ball and math bead and then some some of the other stuff. Can you talk a little bit about that, you know, for the for the people that say, you know, what the heck you know, I’m on I’m on a bath bead program. I’m on a, you know, ball spin program. Can you talk a little bit about what you guys mean when you guys say something just can’t be taught?

Mike Medici
You know, there’s, there’s always ways to get better. You know, I’m just looking at like a snapshot I’m looking at, you know, a guy that maybe doesn’t necessarily spin the ball that well You know, maybe maybe he’s a curveball guy and he can’t spin it well alright most of those guys slide move the sliders, sliders you can get away with it you know i’ll be honest Noah syndergaard didn’t spin the ball very well in high school. He spins the ball fine now you know so like I said there’s our steps guys do get better Sure. um you know and the same thing with maybe the bats you know you look for has just got quick wrist you know, and you see the bat speed maybe they’re underdeveloped. I mean I scout an area where you know we get guys that are usually especially in the city of Chicago are a little bit behind and they’re just hadn’t physically matured yet. They haven’t had you know, maybe they haven’t hit their bros for haven’t been in the weight room enough. You know, you know, I can’t tell me guys I write on for high school hitters in my area that they will benefit from added strength. You know, maybe the bat speed picks up, but it’s difficult to project on that speed. Because there’s a lot of things you don’t know for me, it’s, I’m just sitting there watching right right now. The bad speeds, just average With strength, it could get better. You know, but that’s where you look at like the wrist strength is a real strength in there. Can you snap it through the zone? You know, that might be an indicator like, hey, this might get better. So there’s always, you know, we say they can’t necessarily be taught. I think the hand I think for sure, definitely guys, either you have or you don’t. I mean, I’ll never forget, I sat down with Kyle schwarber it was right before the season started like January to see his junior year in Indiana, and I mean, literally had just gotten back on campus. And he’s like, I’m gonna go hit off the curveball machine. I don’t think he took a swing for warm up literally just stepped in the cage and just smashed. And like that. You can’t, like I could see, I know I could do that. I mean, this thing’s throwing left handed hammers and he is just barreling every single ball. like yeah, that’s like he’s a perfect example. Like Not how you draw it up squatted hitter little Up Up Down hand Pat like load and but just barely the ball every time he had he is very good hand I know he’s struggling in the Bailey’s last few years but going off of those times you know his hand eye coordination his ability to barrel the baseball on a consistent basis was just so good

Geoffrey Rottmayer
yeah you know being able to barrel a baseball is where guys really need to focus. You know, there’s a lot of love right now for for the long ball. And instead of letting that come with kind of natural progression of getting stronger and and owning your swing and being on time. But man, they’re just the focus has got to be, you know, on barreling up baseball, and the power come Yeah, a

Mike Medici
lot of people want the power to come before the hit. I can tell you, I will take the hit before the power every day of the week. If you make Enough contact, your ventually the doubles that you’re hitting into the gap will turn into homeruns with just natural growth and strength, and like most power doesn’t develop for guys until, you know, they get into their 20s and right now they’re middle 20s You know, there’s guys that in college, you know, only hit a couple home runs and all of a sudden, you know, in pro ball hitting 20 like, Where’d that come from? Well, I just just getting 400 at bats and he’s getting new strength and he’s seen more more pitch is that all will come if you if you’re trying to get the power before the hit. I think you’re going to struggle you’re going to struggle with that game starts to speed up. Because you’re looking the lift, you’re looking, you know, you get into that launch angle stuff. I’m not a huge fan of that. I just think eventually, you know, you could pitch to it if you pitch to it properly. You know, just give me the I think in the game, you’re going to start seeing more, give me the bathroom. All guys, you know, right now in the minor leagues, I’m looking for guys that can just hit. Yeah, I’m not worried about where they’re going, what the power is going to be if there’s enough contact and feel for the barrel and the ability to hit the ball field, and he’s got a whole bunch of doubles, the doubles will start leaving the art at some point.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, I agree. So let’s talk about the forum that you started scout school.org Talk, talk a little bit about that and why you started it.

Mike Medici
You know, it started as you know, I get asked a lot of it’s on LinkedIn, I get asked a lot, just, you know, hey, I’m trying to get into scouting or this is these are my goals, my aspirations, what do I do? Where do I start? You know, in MLB, we had the scouting bureau that was around for a long, long time, and they would hold scout school, and, you know, but the only way to go to scout school was a team how to sponsor you. So every team had to two slots to send Somebody to scalpel and it was usually like, you know somebody that was doing an internship in the office that was interested and they send them so there was a huge huge barrier to entry. And then when you start looking around online, there’s just there’s no information out there. You know, you can there’s tons of stuff, you know, on how to develop a player, but from an evaluation somewhat there’s nothing there. So when I started recruiting collegiately I had no idea what to look for. And that’s how I ended up meeting somebody Jays just by taking their brain asking questions. Then when I started scouting, I had no idea what to look for. I never went to scout school because I got hired too late. So a lot of it was just learn on my own and at the mercy of other people and for whatever reason in baseball, it’s nobody want it just seems like a lot of people are quiet about they don’t want to open up they don’t want to talk and you know, unless you get around from those old school guys, and I’ve been fortunate I’ve been around some of them that have been doing it a long time. And when I do I really try to pick out on Hey, you know, what do you do? What do you look for? What are your indicators on guys? And so, you know, I just kind of came up the idea of like when I just start some online forum where people can go on, you know, I’m not saying I have all the answers, but 10 years of listening other people tell me how they do it, you know, and then post it, put it up, try to get more people come together, engage. You know, and I do think there might be some opportunity for some like part time work, there’s, there’s one company I’ve talked to you about, trying to get people that are on the site, hopefully linked up to do some stuff for them down the road, you know, try to do some different things. I’m constantly just always open to suggestions like what do you what do people want? What are they looking for What’s missing? You know, whatever it is, I will try to provide it click up here, you know, as it continues to grow, I hope more engage like yourself and, you know, put up their opinions and, you know, debate different topics. You know, when we get together as a staff, you know, that’s in scouting, you’re really on an island for the most part throughout the year. I mean, I only go to Texas, about once or twice a year, maybe go to Arizona once. So for the most part, I’m on an island up here, you know, and most guys, I talked to other scouts. Those are the best conversations when you get around other guys and you just start talking to players, and you start talking about scouting. And I’ve learned so much from those times. So, you know, that’s what I’m hoping to translate onto the site and get more people on here to just want to engage in debate and talk and I hope, you know, unfortunately, in some cases, you know, some say scouting is a dying breed. I don’t necessarily think so because I do feel there’s a human element in scouting in the old in the only way you can watch video all day. And that might say, you know, I might tell you. Yeah, all right, this is what I saw. I’m just reiterating what I saw. Right. But there’s, there’s something to be said the being at the park, around the players seeing them in pre game pre work during the game, how they act like this stuff that’s not always caught on the camera, there’s stuff that the analytics are telling us. Right. You know, so there’s, there’s still I think that human element to and I hope, you know, some people that are on here, learn and maybe become an associate somewhere and then eventually linked up with a club.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, no, I agree. You know, I spent a lot of time over the last four or five years to try to get a better understanding of the evaluating side of me. And you’re right. There’s not a lot of information out there on there. So this has been a great resource. for guys like me that want to learn as Ember, anyone who want who’s interested in, in the evaluating side of things, you know, and it’s crazy what, what you look at either at the coach versus what you look at as a scout.

Mike Medici
Well, I think, you know, it’s, watch it, watch the game from an evaluator standpoint, I think that’s the biggest thing. And it’s even watching it just on TV. But you see 91 mile an hour fastball in your head, you know, right away, that’s average below with the ball, dude. All right, they’ll do the right alright, that’s, you know, he’s better than average. Like, you start like, you see pitches, you start grading them out in your head, you know, or you watch, watch a hit or you know, and look at the swing the swing mechanics and you know, you’re in the sixth inning, this guy’s just missing two balls and maybe made an adjustment in the game. You’re like, there’s got to really hit. So you start changing. Don’t look at it from a fan standpoint. Look at it from an evaluator. Yeah, that’s I think that’s the big thing.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, you know, you gave that advice. on the forum, and that’s helped me out a lot. You know, I used to watch games as they, as a student or as a coach. But recently, I started kind of watching the evaluator and man, it’s crazy. What what you see?Yeah. Yeah, you start picking up on a little thing.

Well, awesome, Michael. Man, I really appreciate your time. I mean, folks, this is gonna be scout school.org. You know, check it out. We’re having fun over there. We’re learning a lot. And so Michael, I really appreciate your time.

Mike Medici
Yes, thanks for having me. Always good. Talking baseball. In fact, I’m scouting

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Download now: Ep. 52: Player Evaluation and Scouting By Michael Medici | A Baseball Podcast

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Geoff Rottmayer

Geoff Rottmayer is the owner of Athletic Mission Baseball Academy, a training facility in Tulsa Oklahoma. Geoff also host The Baseball Awakening Podcast, which was developed to provide content to the baseball community straight from the source. In addition that that, Geoff, is helping coaches and professional start their own podcast and find their own voice.

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