How scouts saw young Todd Helton

Todd Helton, as you no doubt heard, is retiring at the end of this year. I decided to look up what the Diamond Mines Scouting Reports database had to say about what he looked like as a young prospect.

The first in the database, from Expos scout Ed Creech in 1992, looked at him as a senior in High School. Creech didn’t seem too impressed, as projected him as having below average hitting ability.

Another Expos scout, Pat Sullivan, was more optimistic, seeing him as having an average future at the plate but noting he was still “crude” and had a ways to go with the bat.

There are a bunch of ones from later in the decade. One of the more interesting ones include a 1995 one by Russ Bove of the Brewers, which projected Helton as being a .265 hitter in the big leagues. Note that Helton has only four times in his 17-year career been under .265 hitter, and three of those times have been in the past four years and the other one was during a year where he had injury problems. Another one, by George Bradley of the White Sox, is interesting if only for the fact it compares Todd Helton’s physical form to an old man and not a big-name school’s quarterback (Helton infamously was replaced by Peyton Manning at the University of Tennessee). Of the reports, perhaps the one that came closest to seeing Helton’s potential was Ed Pebley, also of the White Sox, who saw him as being a .280-.300 hitter.

In other words, none of the scouts really saw Helton’s career- one that may land him in the Hall of Fame- coming. At least, they didn’t see it as being a possible Hall-of-Fame one.

Cool Link: Diamond Mines Scouting Reports Database

Continuum Global News has been delayed until the First Anniversary Spectacular this Wednesday. In it’s stead, here is a cool link.

The Hall of Fame is opening an exhibit about scouting, which is neat. But even cooler is that they’ve started a website that has a searchable database of old scouting reports! While there aren’t that many for more recent players (you won’t find any scouting reports for Buster Posey, for example), it’s full of stuff for older players.
Here are some neat ones I’ve found:

A 1985 scouting report of the Cubs’ affiliate in Peoria: Rafael Palmeiro hits well to all fields, but Greg Maddux is not strong enough to be a starter, according to Duffy Dyer.

Orioles scout John Stokoe discusses Mariano Rivera, who he notes threw a rain-shortened no-hitter against Rochester and who he is impressed with. However, he notes that Rivera doesn’t really have any off-speed pitches, and would need one for future success. Turns out he didn’t need a true off-speed pitch. Much like everyone else, Stokoe never sees the cutter coming.

Mariners scouting report declares Alex Rodriguez is “similar to Jeter only bigger and better.”

Satchel Paige‘s faults in 1956? Too old. In 1958, a scouting report on him has “?” for age.

The Royals scout a young amateur Jim Thome… who was a shortstop at the time. Let that sink in. Jim Thome… was a shortstop. Oh, on a similar note, Frank Robinson was a 3B, and Joe Nathan was being scouted as a shortstop.

Mark McGwire pitched a bit in High School, had a body like Dave Kingman and his father was a dentist, according to a 1984 scouting report by Boston scout Joe Stephenson.

And that is just scratching the surface of what this site has… check it out.