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Ep. 64: Player Evaluation. Second Time Around with Mike 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:

  • Injuries and how it impact their thoughts on guys.
  • Less than ideal arm action and its role.
  • Gambling on guys who will have surgery because they have makeup.
  • Technology and its role in player development.
  • Guy who hit but less than ideal swing.
  • Guy who grew up in tough environment.
  • Injuries in hitters.
  • The education of scouting.
  • 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’re talking with Mike Medici, a scout for the Texas Rangers and we’re talking 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 Wakeman podcast. I’m Geoff Rottmayer. And today we are sitting here with Mike McDuffie, a scalper detected Rangers. We’ve had Mike on the show before and it was one of our highest download shows. So we decided to bring him back on and continue to talk more about player evaluation. Mike. Good morning, sir. How are you?

Mike Medici
Good Geoff. How are you?

Geoffrey Rottmayer
I’m doing great you know welcome back you know, as I mentioned into the intro, you know our last conversation did really well and so I’m glad to have you back on and let’s let’s let’s talk a little bit more in depth on some stuff

Mike Medici
awesome so yeah, we can kind of talk the first ones

Geoffrey Rottmayer
let’s talk more on the the hitting and pitching side of thing starting with the the pitching side You and I were just talking before I hit the record button about injury. So the pitcher with injuries What do you guys his thought process on that and decide whether or not you want to take a risk on our guy?

Mike Medici
injury, it plays a big part. You know, let’s just say like probably the most popular one that everybody hears about is Tommy john. So when we’re looking at a guy that said Tommy, john They usually have exceptions to all rules about a 10 year shelf life. So let’s say the guy blew out at 15. You know? Okay, so now he comes back 1617 these pitches into his late 20s. And usually you see some kind of decline from there. You know, it’s a pending on how they rehab, it’s going to, it’s going to come out better, it should be better, we get the feel back, everything’s on the up and up. But at some point, you know, it’s, again, it’s a surgery, it’s a tied ligament. There’s a shelf life with that, you know, so we do look at when it happened. And it’ll be interesting in time with all this the weighted balls and all these kids getting doing some of these programs at such a young age. And if you’re seeing kids blow out younger, younger, you know what to do to their longevity, especially, you know, being a pitcher, and you don’t always see it, like in the big leagues, but like See there’s somebody had success in the big leagues. And since I do do a lot of stuff in triple A, all of a sudden there’s a guy that I saw that was electric at one time, you know, in the big leagues and all of a sudden now he’s in triple A and 8689 touch and feel and it’s like he started to think man what happened this guy had an electric on now you do think it’s that guys that have surgery early on some point you know, your stuff starts to kind of back up. But for us it’s a lot of we have to know what what are the injuries, if it’s a shoulder if it’s a labor on those are huge red flag. I’d prefer somebody blow a ligament every day of the week than ever blow whether it’s a rotator or libram I don’t have the answer why labor guys just do not come back from the shoulder injuries. anyone has ever had a labor, very rare comes back and gets to where they were previously having that surgery. So yeah, it’s a lot of just knowing what it is and Is it is something that is going to be a problem down the road? You know, I think back issues is a big one. Especially if you’re talking teaching, you know, it’s amazing how much you need your back. And, again, what is it because if it’s something that’s going to be nagging, and the doctor says, this is something this players gonna have to deal with, or really have to monitor, day in and day out, we may tap. And it’s just a matter of what is the risk, you know, when you have all these levels of the minor leagues allow guys to develop, you know, we’re okay with taking on some risk. But it’s really just comes down to what are they? And it like in the draft when we’ll have little like tags, and, you know, say like red red means medical, but the medical risk, so maybe if we like the evaluation in one spot, you know that that risk grade is going to lower him a little bit. You know, we Want to kind of mitigate that a little bit on our end?

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Hmm, interesting. So now this is your you’re kind of hoping guys would be honest about their history record whenever I see a guy getting drafted. You know, how do you guys work with that? Because you could I could see a kid man I am I’m never hurts and then, you know, surely he had something comes up down the road.

Mike Medici
Oh, it’s it’s a you have to do some investigating as a scout and you really got to pay attention. Like I need a couple examples. I won’t drop any names. But there was a player. I want to say this five years ago, swore up and down. I’m good. I’m healthy. And I saw one of his last starts the first thing he was 1994. And then the second inning is at 82 which is a clear indication that that ligaments done anytime you see a huge drop in velocity really fast like that. It’s evident that something something’s up in He swore up and down and we didn’t take them on another team took them. And then his first bullpen, he said, Oh, my elbow hurts. And he ended up having Tommy john, right after. And his kids are under the, you know, hate to say it, but they know like, Hey, this is my ticket, this is a chance to, you know, get drafted, make some money. And, you know, in Major League Baseball, we don’t have a combine, like football, where you were, you know, the central area where every Board of Medical documents go in, you can bring guys in, you can test them, you know, so what we have is MLB, which has their top 200 list, which is compiled, you know, I think every team submits names and they kind of come up with their top 200 they think are the top 200 guys in the draft and all those guys need to go get drug tested. And if you’re a pitcher, you have to have an MRI. Now, nobody ever turns down the drug test. And even if they test positive, honestly, it doesn’t mean anything. We get told Hey, with a positive test for whatever, then we can kind of decide. No, we’re okay with Or we’re going to pass. Guys do not have to take the MRI. And last year there was a player in my area that liked it. He still went in the first round, but it’s almost like, you start to wonder, is he hiding something? You know, why is he electing not to and part of it on the clubs? Because what happens is these guys take the MRI and then the team turns around and says, well, we’re not comfortable with the medical. So let’s say if you get taken in with the 10th pick in the draft, and that’s a $2 million slot, recommended slot for that pick. And a team now looks at the medical and says, I don’t feel comfortable with the medical they only have to offer you 30% of that flop. And that’s what a lot of people don’t realize. And so now all of a sudden your 2 million I can’t Do all that math in my head. But now it’s, you know, that’s substantially different. Yeah. And that player can go get multiple opinions from other doctors. But if that team doctor says, No, that’s what the team’s gonna stand by, you know. So now you’re kind of, it’s just there’s a lot of gray area so that, you know, I get why players don’t want to do the MRI. That’s why from a scouting standpoint, like, to me always you have to go through the player you’re in on you have to see them a lot late, especially if it’s a pitcher. If we were considering somebody in the first round, I mean, pretty much you’re glued to them the rest of the way. And we want to we want to suit the marketers to want to make sure you’re healthy up until the end. That’s why we cover you know, the college regional. Yeah, it’s not to scout players. It’s honestly we’re basically sitting there to make sure nobody gets hurt. And if somebody does get hurt, that we can phone it in really quick and say, Hey, I know we like so and so he just walked off the mountain. Shawn Minaya was an example that in the conference tournament, he walked off the mound, he did not even I don’t even think Shawn threw a pitch in the first inning, there had to be. I bet you there’s 40 or 50 guys there because he was projected to go on like top 10 picks, and he walked off the mound and nobody really knew what it was. We just knew he walked off. Yeah, and ended up he ended up needing a HIPAA label. That’s what it was. And Royals took them think it 30 overpaid them, you know, obviously the big leak now and he’s healthy. But that’s that’s why you’re there.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
So when you’re looking at you you mentioned a couple a couple indication one being the velocity drop and then the other one you know God walking off what what when you watch the guy but the pitcher we’re talking about pitcher die now what? What are some things that will stand out? Like I mean, is the movement going to be different? I mean, what do you think that really is? Stand out other than, you know, the, the block of the in the walking off

Mike Medici
velocity, the top indicator, if they stopped throwing, like, if that ligaments not intact, they’re gonna they’re gonna baby their secondary a little bit they’re not gonna kind of not show it to you nearly as much. They might just flip one in, but they’re not going to throw it because you know it’s going to kill their elbow. The other ones just the overall feeling command. Like if command starts going array, and all of a sudden you got a guy that for the most part, it’s been in the zone and now we just can’t find it. Something’s going on. But if that elbow does pop, I’ve never I don’t know if I’ve ever seen it where an elbows popped in a pitcher state and if he did stay in, he stayed in for one more pitch. Yeah. And he knew it. They usually was when I talked to players and I asked them you know, because it’s amazing. When they they know they can tell you the day it happened. The situation and they They take me right through it. Because it’s, you know, for them, they think it’s career impacting. And they’re like, yeah, through pitch Celtic go. I thought I could stay in through a more most pain I’ve ever felt before and I walked off the mountain. But yeah, there’s, it’s when it goes, it goes. But yes, you can pitch on a partially torn ligament for a long time. And, you know, that’s where I drafted a player two years ago. This kid never missed an inning in three, three years of college. And we took him in his elbow. He needed Tommy john. And when I talked to him, he’s like, yeah, I can’t drink straight my elbow. I’m like, and even pitching For how long? He’s like, and it’s just it’s weird. It’s sometimes it gets missed. I know. Sometimes guys just can pitch through it. It was it for him. It was one of those. He could probably pitch through it and we’ll go at some point or just have it Ryan brockie ui scientist for the Blue Jays he was that way. We signed him it was a partially torn ligament. We were totally fine with it because we we knew the makeup and the work ethic and he would get himself back and he’d be fine. He did stuff. And we let him pitch that fall. He grew out shortly thereafter, like, okay, let’s get the surgery, we’ll get you back. Get back on track.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
That’s interesting. You know, like, you guys were alright with wood taking him knowing that that was going to happen, which you know, I guess you know, in today’s game, it’s kind of kind of a norm, but, but you often knew that he would put in the work to come back. So again, just an example of the makeup helping you and continuing your career.

Mike Medici
If you get hurt Yeah, that’s that’s the one of the biggest things if you got a guy that injury risk To me, what’s the makeup like, especially on the Mount? One, it’s a mental thing, because you’re going 12 to 16 months of rehab. And then when you come back, there’s a lot of little mental barriers. I just talked to a kid and he told me he had a setback. And a setback was simply it was the mental side. He couldn’t let it go. Like, you know, he just needed to understand my arm is not going to pop. It is the ligaments fully intact. I just need to work pitch through this, you know, because every kind of small pain they feel, they’re gonna say, Oh, I’m shutting it down. And there’s a lot of mental stuff you got to get through. But you need a guy that’s going to work. You know, it’s everybody says if you have Tommy, john, you’re going to come back bigger and stronger. is Dr. Andrews does it he asked you. He asked Ryan, how hard Do you throw and he said the best fastball I ever had was 93. And he goes through a 96 when you come back, you know and he’s strong. I think he’s been up to 97 98 and it would it’s all a testament to the work ethic. If you bust your butt through the rehab process, you 100% will come back bigger and stronger. If you do not you will come back the same or probably less, because you haven’t built it up to sustain once you’re back,

Geoffrey Rottmayer
you would think, you know, if one were to look at the training protocol for a guy going through Tommy, john, it wouldn’t make sense maybe to think that maybe this is a good way to train just in general.

Mike Medici
Yeah, I mean, it’s all laid out for it’s scripted. It’s uh, it’s just how much you know, when it comes to you got to follow throwing stuff religiously. But it’s all the the stretching, like I don’t know what I don’t know, the entirety of it, but I know you got to keep stretching, you got to break up the scar tissue. You got to fight through some of the pain and discomfort because the only way it’s going to get better and now it’s That’s where guys have setbacks because they feel a little pain in itself. Nope, shut it down. Like No, you got to keep working through it.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Okay, cool. Cool. Cool. So let’s let’s jump over to the technology side pitching evaluation. There is there the ton of tech out there. And you know, the technology can either help you or it can hurt you. What what do you what are you guys’s thought process? And what are you looking for? On the technology devices? For the pitchers?

Mike Medici
Yeah, we, we have we have a bunch of them. They’re nice just because they’re mobile. I mean, kind of send them off in the bullpen and take them down move on. It’s the technology i think is great. If it’s used in the right way, right one, you can’t just have rep Soto and look at the numbers. You know, cuz you need somebody to be able to break it down. You need Some kind of bridge between the numbers and the baseball, like, Okay, this is what the numbers are telling me, this is where you need to improve. And I think that’s, that’s a huge problem is you have the data now how do we interpret it? So it can be more beneficial for the player. And I think it’s also bad when it’s used too much, because now you’re, I call it chase the mistake. Well, I want to get this number up. So you’re focusing on that. Well, something else gives. Yeah, you know, I think it gives you so much data like focus in on certain things that are applicable to the player you know, and don’t use it too much. Yeah, you know, I we use it more as baseline. So you throw your bullpen or whatever cart we got the data, right, this is what we need to work on. This is some some areas that we see we need to improve. Here’s your program, go to work. Come back in three weeks and let’s do it again. So you have some kind of baseline. You know, see you always and that’s where I like it. That’s how our guys use it. But I go to a lot of colleges or they Tell me every bullpen is on the rep. Soto and you know, they’re looking at the iPad and they’re looking at the numbers, and then they’re trying to create fixes and, you know, he just gets jumbled a little bit. So I think it’s definitely beneficial for us effectively, especially as a training tool.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, so so when you got a guy that 15 1617 in the average, you know, the numbers are just average. Not really a proc back. I know it comes back at 18 and the numbers are significantly better and you guys now have interest in them. You know, what, what the thought process on that guy, you know what I mean? It seems obvious what are you doing? But I’m just curious that the what what you guys think when you guys see a case like that?

Mike Medici
Well, there’s a couple different things. So you know, think about pitching. Also a young kid guys that make jumps you know, they’re like we call you’re projecting on players. So maybe made some additional strength gains Maybe made some tweaks in his delivery. Those are the things that would stand out to me. Yeah. But for me, it’s a lot of, you know, nothing in the cuz I’m not a big guy, but if I was a pitcher, I’m 510 185 pounds, you know, I cannot if I had pitched in college, I would have been the same guy year in year out. You know, that’s what you look for those guys that that’s why we look to the bigger ones big long lean, that, you know, we can work with we can build upon. So when you have you have that baseline and then they keep growing, they keep maturing, they keep working out and they’re starting to make those gains and then you see a jump. That’s what to me is what it would be telling me is that no one is probably a worker, but there’s room for improvement in there. There’s some growth to be had.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
One of them was the other way around. Let’s say a guy did. Okay, pretty good. This kid look good. Maybe go to The wrong school, and they don’t have access to the information and they’re making some changes that they think is going to help them. But it really isn’t the what what is that? What does that tell you guys? Yeah, it’s just understanding what what, what were the changes that were made?

Mike Medici
You know, when you start seeing a guy regress like Alright, what happened? You know, because we did because it was a player in high school that I liked, and he went somewhere and all of a sudden he starts going backwards, doesn’t mean it necessarily don’t like them anymore. Whenever he become eligible for the draft that junior year. You know, I would, I would, because we get a chance to meet with these kids and meet with them and just say, Hey, what’s going on? You know, what, why, why are we going backwards? You know, is it just not putting the work in is it you know, and they may, they may be usually there, you know, and they’re pretty transparent with you as far as Yeah, they really tried to tweak my delivery they tried to do this, unfortunately, is not working for me. Some kids are sometimes too coachable and they will Let you know everybody wants to put their stamp on guys, and they’ll just if they were good in one way, they go there. And then, I mean, because I’ve seen it, there was a kid a few years ago, he went to one school, which I thought was a cookie cutter school where everybody kind of does it the same way. And he had a good delivery and they they changed them and it didn’t work for him. And all of a sudden his stuff started to back up well it transferred back and took him a couple years but now he’s back on track. But that happens back up a year step back on that date, though, it is. Yeah, I mean, well and end up with you know, because so depending on what you change, so if a kid’s been thrown a certain way for so long, and you started to change that, you know, now you’re depending on what the changes if it’s drastic, which in this case, this place was really pretty drastic changes. All of a sudden, you know, something goes, you know, now the now the arms bark and a little bit you know, now it’s an injury. Now it’s alright, now you got to shut down Going back to injuries that’s the problem in baseball is that you know we’re gonna do our best to keep guys on the field every time there’s an injury in baseball especially when it comes to pitching it’s never you know a starter to you know last year Brian pitching for the Jay Z’s best opening day told me he’s gonna miss one or two starts he missed like three months it’s ever it’s always long term and that’s why it’s so important to keep these guys healthy. So yeah, when it comes to making adjustments they have to be subtle anytime they’re extreme always something goes

Geoffrey Rottmayer
well you know when you get it you know going in the injury stuff so you get this guy and you look at him and he says, okay, man that arm that arm path it’s been pretty problematic. We’ve seen the path that’s going to create a lot of injuries but the Kidman injury free getting guys out doing doing doing well. You know what, what’s, what’s that conversation like with you guys in house veins. We really liked this kid but that problem the problem, but he had that problem.

Mike Medici
And it’s, I call it there’s an exception, every rule. Yeah, there’s like Max scherzer. Good as they get and he has every red flag here about, you know, he lands open. So that means stress on the elbow. I think he’s tried to cross the T’s across his body, which most guys would prefer you’d be more in line. You know, he’s inverted. He’s got a deeper path. I mean, every exception to the rules there, and we fight this What? As a scout when you see a guy that has these red flags, you got to start. This is we’re scouting so important. What kind of athlete is he? He’s a really good athlete. Those guys can get away with it. Non athlete, it’s, it’s more difficult because they don’t necessarily are going to be able to really repeat with it when it comes to their secondary pitches. What is their flexibility that’s another big one. Especially like arm hips. You know, I had Tanner how he ended up going ahead and in high school, he went to Missouri first round pick to the Red Sox, and he may be up to the big leagues this year. He was six, six. He was just like, sure. He was open toe across his body, really deep, inverted elbow, you’re like, no way this guy’s gonna blow out. Hopefully everything stays like it is. And he’s been fine. And the common common theme with him, he had incredible flexibility. And he was a very good athlete. So those reps, you know, so when you find those guys, this is the he doesn’t necessarily do it the right way. And some of the might be injury prone. You know, those are the questions you got to ask yourself, because those are the ones that get away with it. You’re an athlete, you get away with everything. Yeah, just that’s just the reality.

Unknown Speaker
And that’s something that the data can tell you that that’s why you No, when they say scouting, dine, no, it’s not.

Mike Medici
Not the human. There’s such a human element to the scouting weather in for me, the big one is the makeup. You know, there’s zero numbers that are ever going to be able to tell you, you know, what makes a guy? What makes him go What’s his drive? Because, you know, I go and sit across from these guys. And I thought he can ask them, you know, and like the Max scherzer is just talking about him. There’s not a better competitive makeup guy that you would want on the mound than him spinning in. You saw it in the playoffs. You know, I remember when he wanted the ball and VP off his eye. And he had the black eye and I literally scrolled through Twitter and I saw no big deal. He’ll start I need to know, I was just like, there’s no way that dude’s not gonna start tonight. And sure enough, he started does that just him? Yeah. Yeah. Like there’s there’s such a human feel to it. You know, we always talk about gut feel, you know, gut feel guys is somebody that, you know, maybe not huge tools, not big stuff. But the more you see him, you’re just like, this guy’s got it. You know, for me, one of the best gut feel guys I’ve ever had was Nick solo act played at Louisville. You know, we got the trade forum. I think right at the deadline we traded for him from Tampa. You know, and he wasn’t he was a huge gut feel. Every time I saw that kid play, he just hit and he played hard and he was gritty and it wasn’t huge tools. It wasn’t you know, anything really flashy, just incredible makeup kid that worked extremely hard. love to play the game and constantly got it done in the big situations.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, so I got a question though.Let’s saygot a kid. really got complex. But it should been brought up in the wrong environments. You know, the home situation not ideal. And, you know, the question becomes, you know, if we get him out of this environment Will he be able to do well, you know, we’ll be able to walk the Will he be able to overcome? You know, what is that what that conversation like with with it within you guys on a kid like that?

Mike Medici
Yeah, those are those are the most difficult ones. And we probably I would say I get one every couple of years. We’re just as, unfortunately very tough home environment where, you know, whether the parents are separated or the parents aren’t very involved. It really really comes down to don’t want to kid and does the kid want it bad enough that he is going to to, you know, work to create himself a better life than kind of what he had. And if it’s a kid that just the the home environments that bad, we just won’t let him go home, you know, we’ll let him we’ll say, all right go home for her where you know, to go see family for Christmas or Thanksgiving. But for the most part, we’ll just keep them at the complex, we’ll put them up at our, you know, like at our complex we have, like apartment type housing. And we’ll just keep them there. And we’ll keep them busy. Whether you know, we have the Dominican complex as well, we can send down to Dr. Over the winner because those guys are always client. And then once things kind of pick up here, we’ll bring him back to Arizona and they’ll go there and once the season starts, we’ll go off to the affiliate. But that’s because there are situations where, you know, let’s just say I had a kid like that, you know, here in Indianapolis, I would say like, Listen, the kids got the ability, you know, unfortunately he’s surrounded By you know a group of friends or family that just aren’t good influence we just we can’t let them go back to Indy keep Matt here. Let him go home for a short amount of time and if he is home, let me know so at least I can check in with him. Yeah, you know that’s another role of the area scouts. You know, I always tell these kids especially the high school players and their parents like I don’t disappear. If you need anything you pick up the phone and call and it’s whether it’s you know, you’re in a ball you’re in AAA or in the big league doesn’t matter. We’re here you know, we’re the if a player comes home in the offseason, we need something just call we’ll get you taken care of.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Very cool thought. Let’s jump over to the the hitting side. Prior evaluation, so kid, a kid can hit. So you got a kid that can hit by he had the less than ideal swing. You know, there’s so many queueing theories out there. And some of them seem more problematic than others. But you know, there are some kids that can hit with it. So the what the thought process when it kicked in hit and had the less than ideal swing.

Mike Medici
What’s funny is that of all the like the hitters I’ve had in my area area over the 10 years I’ve been here. The ones that have played in the big leagues are not how how you draw it up, it all just something different, you know, and what it comes down to is, you know, do they have basketball? Do they have a feel for the barrel? Can they manipulate it? Can they adjust the secondary pitches, you know, do they have played coverage? And this is where in scouting like because we can only be in the ballpark so much. You know, if it’s a hitter I like on the in the amateur world I’ll probably see him 10 to 15 times because you really you need a good sample size because everybody has bad days. Everyone has good days, right? So you at least can evens out a little But you get a feel for the approach kind of what they’re trying to do against different pitchers. But now they’re just so much data out there. It’s easy to back that up. Because, you know, we can go into, you know, there’s a couple, there’s a system we use and it flat out will tell you, you know what the swing and miss rate is, what’s the batted ball and play is, you know, so now you have all this data that you can say, Listen, I understand it. It’s not ideal how this guy does it, but it’s incredible basketball, he’s got bat speed, he’s got power. Everything kind of lines up and shows you you know, when you start to break down his approach and his ability to lay off pitches or stay stay with pitches in his own. still the best one I could ever think of is 110. me you’ll back look at a video from Texas Arlington when he’s in college. It’s the same swing nothing’s changed. It was just hideous. So you’re thinking as a you’re looking at a college kid like God, I was a swing ever gonna work. But you know, he’s super athletic. Very twitchy, electric bat speed, incredible bat the ball. That’s what he did. And that was before we have all this extra data. But I would imagine, I don’t even know what you hit it all into. Because I think my, my first year, there now is before before I actually, before I got into scouting, we used to, we used to just watch that as an example. You know, and you’re looking at it, and I would imagine he hit and he was probably an anomaly. guys just couldn’t figure out I don’t know how, you know, and that’s it. I don’t know how he does it, but he just he always hits and that’s sometimes how we explain it. But now it does help with the data, especially on the college players. Like here, I flat out proof. You know, it’s swinging this right, this is bad, involve this, you know, and earn even more metrics. It goes much more in depth than that. Yeah, but it helps when you have that to kind of back up what you’re saying. It’s good as a scout because every time I go he hid, but then you know the numbers don’t line up with that. I can go back and look at you know, other games that are not there. You know, maybe I’m seeing again subpar competition maybe I need to line up a game where he’s going to face somebody that you know a little bit better of an arm we see that with the the smaller conferences, you got to go on certain days sometimes, right, you know, or you need to go see them downtown out the gate, you know, try to see him again, some non conference weekend opponents, you know, against guys that are gonna throw the ball a little bit, you know, they’re gonna challenge him.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, and then and then you know, there’s gonna be more wiggle room for, for a guy who’s 15 he can get away with you know, not being able to do XYZ just Yes. Then a guy who 21 can’t do XYZ, right?

Mike Medici
Yeah, do that. So, in the image where we have, you know, the summer circuits, what we call it so all these top High School players in the country, travel all over the place. All these different tournaments played against each other all summer long, and they’re heavily scouted and partially it is because you’re going to See all those hitters against the best arms The country has to offer. Now this is just high school speaking. So, you know if I have a high school player up here, like he was in high school, he should he should hit 500 Yeah. You know, but then we look at how did he do in the summer? Well, he really struggled, you know, and that it’s not necessarily a red flag, but you do have to, you know, really dive into some of those at bats. Like, is the bat good enough to handle the better pitching? You know, he plays in the summer and he fit in and he had great at bats and put the ball in play. Alright, that’s gonna carry some weight.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
What? On the vision side of things, do you know what type of taxes do you guys do to be able to see if a guy has the eye? You know, it’s more than you know. Okay, can you see spin and stuff like that? But But, but there are certain metrics. I talked to a guy there. Certain metric that he says, Yeah, this guy can see. And he’s gonna be able to he’s gonna reply. So what kind of do you got? Do?

Mike Medici
You know, there’s they don’t do testing on vision, which is kind of crazy because it’s, it isn’t important. And you’d be surprised that I bet there’s a lot of guys that they find that poor vision and don’t realize it. Yeah. You know, there’s some teams when they go and meet with players, they put them through the vision test, just to see there’s a lot of teams that do a lot of different testing, you know, there’s tap testing, which is reactionary, their sight testing, vision is one that I do think would be worth it. Just because you hear it all the time. You know, there’s player that gets in the minor leagues and he’s struggling and it’s let me just check your eyes and like, maybe need glasses, and then all of a sudden, you know, the lights go on, he starts to hit. But now there’s really nothing that we do. One thing I always look for is you swing and miss. You know, I think that it either tells you just bad plate discipline, or how well they see the ball. So if you get a guy that swings and misses in the zone, like if you swing out if you swing and miss out of the zone, it’s just that plate discipline. If you swing in this endzone, or if you’re missing breaking balls by two feet, there’s something wrong. There’s just you lack pitch recognition whether you’re not seeing the ball, there’s there’s some red flag there, we had a player, I think my second year who swung and missed breaking balls in the zone all the time. And the kid had a ton of talent and it was he almost want to overlook that but it was reality just swung missing in his own a lot and sure enough, I don’t think he got past a ball for someone who had a lot of tools. And that was it. You know, you can’t a red flag a red flag. Ignore

Geoffrey Rottmayer
the cannot be developed. Like if you guys seen guys who had that. And you know, obviously the example you just gave, he didn’t But can that be developed?

Mike Medici
It can get better it just like I said, What? What is it? If it’s a if it’s a guy that chases we can work on that you may never be great. Sure, it’s that then it goes back to understanding the player a little bit doesn’t even care you know, like for us a door he chases a lot I don’t think it matter i think that that’s just kind of the type of player Yeah, he’s gonna chase you know, and then if you talk to another player and maybe they just don’t have a very good approach or they don’t understand approach, you know, maybe they need to know what that pitcher have a better plan when they go to the plate. So there’s things that can be improved upon. You know, is it ever gonna go from you know, a strikeout machine to you know, all of a sudden he’s one to one strike out the locks or two to one Now, most likely not, but I do think it can be improved upon. Just when you see a guy that’s a lot of sweetness in his own. That that’s a tough one. tough one to get past Have you seen maybe a guy who does that, but it’s because of the fling? Usually?I wouldn’t say the swing. Are you saying so it’s just like swinging and missing in his own? Yeah.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Like I did they did the swing this point is off, like, have you seen that like, okay, maybe, you know, improve the swing a little bit and then that improve enough.

Mike Medici
If it’s dependent, like if you’re just getting beat with fastball, and I believe there’s enough bat speed to handle it, then it might be the swing. Because you see guys, you know, they’ll just get beat with good fastball. And, you know, they just need to make maybe a slight adjustment to allow them to get there on time and it could be a timing thing, maybe their timings off it all then it’s then it comes down again, just knowing the player. You know, can we can we improve Upon that, does he have enough feel you know some guys I prefer a feel hitter guys I can feel feel change you know those guys can be improved upon the other big one. Anytime there’s anything that spans you know we call Tw t trouble with twisters you see anything that spins and they’re just missing consistently you know and there’s usually I get one every couple years where it’s very blatant you know and it’s, it’s because it’s never gonna as you move off the pitch and gets better and once they find a weakness they will continually expose it until you prove that you can hit it doesn’t necessarily get easier.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Right? So what what the thought process with when you watch a guy one guy very smooth, effortless, another guy just going out of the shoe. But you can hit or what what the what the top out there.

Mike Medici
It’s really comes down to, is there. What I would ask and I’d want to know is we know, what is their plan? Is there an approach? Is there anything you know, some guys are just super talented, they don’t care like hobby biases, special count when he came through, but it was it was one swing and it was one swing matter what the count was, but he can impact the ball and leave the yard at any point in time. And I think it’s kind of gotten better over time. You know, those guys that are just super talented, they just, Hey, I’m just gonna run with this. But it really comes down to what their approach was to plan. What are they trying to do? You know, when they step into the box, what are they thinking, you know, if it’s one thing, one thing, only try to impact the ball, putting everything into it. Now, it’s not gonna, you’re not going to have a guy that’s going to hit for average, you might run into some baldly. BRP is not going to give you as much as you’d like, Who’s going to swim. Messi is going to strike out he’s going to give away at that. Now that’s the approach is is Big to understand with amateurs and even guys in the low level minor league. I mean, you could tell when you see a guy with a plan at the plate, you can tell because he’s most likely gonna hit. You know, when the Latin players come over here, they pretty much all they know is swing. And it’s kind of working backwards, like, you know, learning to take learning to, you know, work counts and understand what pitchers you’re trying to do to you, you know, when you you talk to a minor league hitter or a big league hitter, it’s amazing stuff that they can pick up on and what their thought process is that goes into those at bats. You know, and they can tell you from picture to picture you know, because it’s so hard to hit, you need every every edge. You know, you can get

Geoffrey Rottmayer
injuries on the hitting side. What What do you see?

Mike Medici
Yeah, I mean, if there’s any injury when it comes to hitting in the back is a big one. You know, because eventually you got to play defense. And if you can’t bend, it’s really going to limit. Yeah, you know, sometimes you can maybe swing through a back injury, but you’re going to be limited to vhl. You know, and it really comes down to just what is it? Is it just is it something that right now we could take the rest and rehab it we’re going to define or is it something that’s continually going to, you know, pop up over, you know, player’s career? And if that’s the case, you know, that’s somebody we may we may not be as interested in, unfortunately, some we’re just gonna have to deal with

Geoffrey Rottmayer
that could you know, do you have you have your long season the seasons long, the season is hard, it’s grinding, and you’re going to play through a lot of injuries. So how do you how do you get determined? You know, that whole side of things, knowing that they’re going to play through injury, that’s what the givenand how they’re going to

Mike Medici
You know, one of the things I’ve been doing more of when I talked to these guys I just asked them about their, their kind of the process because it is it’s a long season and there’s going to be Nicks, there’s going to be, you know, sometimes you’re not feeling great. I really think guys that have a process behind them as far as being diligent about the work, eating right, getting enough sleep, you know, their focus is on them and taking care of themselves away from the field. There’s going to be better longevity to those guys. The ones that you know, maybe don’t take care of themselves quite as quite as good, you know, like the the nightlife you know, those guys are going to break down much sooner. And there’s just so much now with all these fitness trackers and all these different gadgets, you know, so many college guys use them. I applaud them when I see it. You know, they tell me this Yeah. You know, keeps me accountable. You know, that’s why I use this. And it tells me like, Hey, you know, your recovery, I think recovery is a big one. Right? And there’s some new fitness trackers that, you know, that’s what it doesn’t flat out tell you, you need more recovery. You know, a couple of them told me that there’s, there’s a band that they can wear when they pitch, but how much exertion they have, you know, and so then comes back to the Alright, how much recovery Do I need to get back to on a percent? You know, so it’s, whether those trackers are perfect. It doesn’t matter what it is, it’s keeping them accountable. And it’s keeping up the thinking like, What do I have to do to get myself back? So I could perform at a certain level?

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, no, that’s all good points. What about social media? You know, how does that play in you know, on the players, then, you know, and you’re evaluating players, how does this does the social media and how they portray themselves On their matter,

Mike Medici
it does. Because I think you get it, you get a glimpse of kind of who they are, who they surround themselves with. You know, for me, it’s sometimes not only it’s a fairly, what they’re putting up, you know, like, who’s saying, What about them? Who are they really tweeting, it doesn’t give you everything, but it’ll give us kind of some small glimpses, and maybe it adds to the conversation when you when you meet with them, you know, you can kind of tell their likes, dislikes. You know, they all about being a teammate hanging out with the guys, you know, who they follow. More and more guys, kind of, sometimes keep it private, which is fine. But it does, you know, I’ll look and use Google their names. I’ll look for interviews that they given, you know, whether it’s an article written or maybe it’s on YouTube or postgame and just just to hear them talk, kind of see. You know, like you said, whether it’s Nobody else is saying about them. That there’s there’s definitely things you can pick up from the social media side. You know, kids are getting smarter about it. Yeah. And sometimes it’s good to get on kids a little sooner, especially if you know, he’s a pretty special talent. Because by the time his third draft here, they’ve been coached to clean it up, take down certain things. You know, I had a kid that he had some weird stuff up and next thing you know, it was gone. I don’t know where, you know, it tells you somebody got to him and said, hey, you’re gonna have to start deleting some of this stuff.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah. So had that. I mean, we’re starting to see a lot of guys use the platform to get some attention. Have you seen that be beneficial, getting on there watching guys and maybe getting an interest in the guy.

Mike Medici
It is, you know what it is nice. You know, like the flat ground stuff. He retweets, all everybody that basically says anything to him you know some guys that I actually know in the Midwest what is nice to see here name you can go on there and guys always post you know clips of bullpens or them pitching so you kind of get a feel for what it looks like or even hitting same thing if you hear a name they can usually find it or find some kind of video you know that to allow Alright, this is pretty good or just a name that I heard doesn’t look like it’s that interesting to me. You know back in the day your name it’s like alright, you gotta go please now I can get behind a computer do some do some digging, I can pull something off. You know, just to see a player. Yeah, there’s there’s plenty of times where you know you hear about somebody transferring in and maybe I don’t know anything about him. I go on there, pull up some information. But it is amazing and it is it’s really becoming a pretty good tool and I do think a lot of front office’s pay attention to especially if it’s like an independent guy. That’s just trying to catch Because there’s a lot of players are playing the pennant ball, they’re just looking for a break, maybe do a lot of teams don’t focus on those leads, they don’t scout them and there’s guys there that can help that can be a part of your your system and help somewhere that would have been good for

Geoffrey Rottmayer
so so let me ask you this you know, there’s gonna be people listening to this name there’s all the guys out there that you know that throw that hundred miles an hour and you know, they look good on their their, you know their Twitter file or whatever. But not all of them are getting a chance. So can you can you kind of explain you know, what out there today and again, you know, that gets into the whole everything else. But you hear I mean, you see it all the time this guy throws 100 every team needs to pick them up wide. Nobody picking them up, you know, so can you can you talk about that a little bit?

Mike Medici
Yeah, there’s a reason behind it. And it’s usually they have a history of walks, history command issues. You know, if you see something We are bullpen at throwing 99 This happened last year the guy up there so 99 in the bullpen, you know, watch where the balls going. Yeah, it’s anywhere near the strike zone. And you know, the other thing is and you see this a lot guys in the bullpen or electric, because there’s, there’s no pressure. Yeah, rocket fire doesn’t matter where it’s going, you’re just pulling down as hard as he can check the gun. You know, how does that play in a game? And if they’re not throwing strikes at 99 in the bullpen, they’re not going to do it in the game. So now what are they gonna do? They got to pull back. Now in this case, he pulled back and he’s like, 9193 and the strikes were still just fair. So, you know, really, just because somebody pulled down 100 or 9899 You know, there still needs to be some kind of quality. And, you know, that’s one of my issues with some of the the weighted ball training is, is it isn’t Are you training to be, you know, almost like a one trick guy to be able to go in in a bullpen Throw as hard as you can. In great you put up a good number, but where’s your secondary? Where’s your separator? And you have a curveball. Do you have a slider? You know, what’s your command? Like? Can you execute? Is there quality to your pitches? Is there any effectiveness and the fastball is hard and straight is going to get hit? I don’t care how hard you throw right? So there’s so much more that goes into it you know for me honestly, I look at the delivery because if deliveries really good that tells me okay there’s a chance he’s gonna throw strikes and there’s a chance he could repeat with a secondary pitches. If it heads flying everywhere the glove sides flying and he can’t stabilize out front. telltale sign right there. He’s not going to command anything. Yeah, and he’s not going to repeat because there’s he can’t stabilize. Yes. Did you watch any of those hard? watching those hard throws in the playoffs? Yeah, no, not not one of them. Were all over the place. Right lever gear cold hard as he throws. It’s pretty simple. Lift go head Pretty still stays online. I mean, so that he can repeat he can command and it’s big stuff. Yeah. So the you know, the debate on the internet is philosophy versus commands and you know, they say you know velocity gets you drafted. Okay, that might be right command now you got to be able to throw a certain speed you can’t be at 80 miles an hour guy and command and expect the get opportunities. So let’s say you know you got the guy that sounds really super hard which is what depends on you know what platform you’re in on that person looking for everybody. Hey, you got it you got to throw 100 to get to get there you got to throw 99 you got to throw 98 and then you got the other platform to say well, you got to command you got to command command. So what I want the blend what the middle ground you know, we got a guy Who could throw harder and throw so I can get guys out at the end of the day? We their job to get guys out. That’s thejob of the future. I want to see quality. Yeah, you know, when I sculpt the minor league I want I want guys quality, you know, not only so we have this argument that yes, milotic are we evaluate players, I almost want to take velocity out of the equation. You know what? I call like, effective velocity if he’s sort of 98 but he only can execute pitches with any quality at 92 that’s what he grows is 92 Yeah, but you’re right. It’s It’s like an epidemic. Everybody gets real hard gets real hard, you know, and now it’s, you know, the weighted balls and the Twitter you see, I mean, got your heart. Yeah, but I would prefer movement and life over velocity any day. And then you tear movement velocity. With command you’re gonna dominate, absolutely dominate, you know, and a big part of it. Let these kids develop naturally, at 14 You do not need a tool, anything more than just a regular baseball, not a lighter ball, not a heavier ball. And, you know, because what’s happening is they want these kids to throw harder sooner. Yeah. And when your body’s not ready to do that, and it’s not mature enough to handle that weight, you know, that’s when the injury start to happen. You know, any of these college guys that I’ve talked to this year that had blown out in high school I asked them and they would tell me Yeah, I was you know that because this they came up in that that when everything this weighted ball, the velocity became the new trend. Yeah, no, yeah, certainly the balls and hey, yeah, like I started when I started doing that my elbow started to drop it started to fly open and eventually I blew out. Yeah, shocker. I mean, that’s, that’s the chain of events that happens. Yeah. You know, I will tell you straight off our draft. in baseball, we d value the pitch ability guy, and it drives me absolutely nuts. So if you’re a guy that 80 to 91, and you can pitch to both sides and play and you have a breaking ball, you should be valued through the roof. Because especially if he’s a guy that hasn’t done all sorts of, you know, whether it’s thrown away the ball, you know any of that. He just he goes out and he pitches and to me, it’s like refreshing. And I think when I talk to the kid in the family, they it sounds refreshing because everybody else is willing to throw harder, because that’s the industry right now. It’s a little harder. Well, he will throw harder. Just give him two years. He’s 18 Yeah, wait at least 21 and then he’s 9194 pitching the both sides to play with breaking balls and now now he’s untouchable. You can’t even get them in a trade.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, it is tricky because these kids don’t know what to believe. You know, they’re They’re getting hammered with information everywhere they turn, they get our social media and they see all this stuff and they don’t really know what to do. They do. They do. I gotta throw heart. So I’m gonna pick up a ball and chunk it.

Mike Medici
Yeah, that’s, that’s what’s out there. You know, in a defensive drive on, there’s so much more that goes into it than just wait a ball, they do a ton of stuff, but like biomechanics, being efficient with your arm. They do a lot of good stuff, too. I just, you know, that’s what everybody knows. And kind of like, What do I have to do to throw harder? You understand? finitely some positives to it. I think it does clean up your own path a little bit. I just don’t think going 100% all in without somebody that’s pretty well versed in administering those workouts. You shouldn’t do it. You shouldn’t watch a YouTube video and say, All right, I’m ready to go. Yeah, that’s rocket fire. You know, you’re gonna get hurt, right?

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, man.

30 minutes. It’s already been an hour.

Were there anything else that you’d like to kind of touch on a little bit?

I mean, I could go on all day long, but I want to try to respect your time.

Mike Medici
What I enjoy doing I enjoy, you know, just talking the game and people understand like, yes, you see, like we just talked about, you see what’s going on with like the Hot Trends without their you know, but don’t kind of fall into that trap, you know, stay the course respect the process, like, you will get there at some point, if you know there’s a 17 year old kid that 66 370 pounds, he doesn’t need to be doing anything out of the ordinary just stay the course. And it’s so hard because every you know, it’s like, well, I was told I gotta throw heart you will, I promise you will stay the course. You know, and everything I thought about was we touched on it with the makeup stuff. Design. I’m such a proponent to that I take incredibly seriously. You know, I have done 62 player meetings in the last two months you know where I sit down one on one with the guy and you know some are some are good some okay some are just there but it what it does is it really gets you get to see you know what makes guys tick you know what’s their process what are they trying to achieve? I mean you have to learn a little bit about it because I think it’s so much that goes into you know one knowing the player but also the value even the evaluation because you know your ability to get to a certain point that your character makeup will get you light years beyond that. Yeah and that’s it guys I call them overachievers you know i’m not saying they weren’t good enough to make it like Nick selects case. He to me he’s an overachiever because you know, he didn’t have the great big tool but he had incredible makeup and was so diligent about what he did. You know, and he you know, you could say over cheap because in our game, you know, we pay for tools that we pay for We pay for stuff we want big stuff you know we want big tools yeah but the makeup cannot lose sight of that

Geoffrey Rottmayer
yeah you know when I think and I think about it by farmer young kids and even when I was going through my plan days I think the the huge disconnected we don’t really understand or really know and and even yeah I’ve talked to coaches now I don’t even know what you what the evaluation product really looks like and I think more guys understood that that we could see a different trend

Mike Medici
Yeah, there’s just not much there’s really not much out there. You know, we’ve talked before there’s really not in the in the program we really don’t mess with you till your senior year of high school where you’re considered eligible in college whether it’s junior college or a four year school. But yeah, there’s there’s so much to me now that goes into the valuation, whether it’s the data, the makeup, just This tools, it would be yes, the people understand that sooner they can prepare, rather than it can come to that point. And I thought I was doing what I was supposed to and maybe or maybe weren’t. Yeah, just to better educate.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah, you know that the evaluation side of things has me super interested in trying to learn so that I can figure out how to help guys. You know, and you have your scout school scout school.org, which I highly recommend I’m on all time. I’ve learned a lot. And but but you know, you get into conversation with other coaches and it’s crazy that you know, some of you guys just don’t understand what it takes to get a guy to another level and you got all the guy that your hand and you’re not sure you know, it’s kind of a kind of a scary thing.

Mike Medici
Yeah, yeah. There’s no handbook on it. I always children, parents, if it’s your second you’re a pro at it. If it’s your first you know you’re going in you’re clueless. You’re just trying to figure it out.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Yeah. The others.

Mike Medici
Obviously, everybody’s goal was to play you know whether it’s mostly college and in they should go playing college. It’s special. Yeah. How do I go about that? How do I get out there? How do I get seen? No, it is. It’s hard. Yeah.

Geoffrey Rottmayer
Well, Mike, I don’t want to take up too much more your time. Another great conversation. I learned something to come and talk to you, man.

Mike Medici
I appreciate you having me on. It’s always it’s always fun for me.

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Download now: Ep. 64: Player Evaluation. Second Time Around with Mike 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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