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.