Getting things right in the MLB Draft is much easier said than done.
Often players selected will not step onto a big league field for a few years, and with so much uncertainty on how they will develop it is much easier to find a dud than a stud in the draft compared to other sports.
In 1992, the Yankees struck gold with the sixth overall pick in the draft when they selected an 18-year-old shortstop out of Kalamazoo, Mich. in Derek Jeter.
We all know how that turned out, but what was the word on Jeter heading into the draft?
The Baseball Hall of Fame – which Jeter was voted into this year -- has scouting reports on Jeter from the Colorado Rockies, Cincinnati Reds and California Angels. Only the Reds were selecting ahead of the Yankees in the draft with the No. 5 pick.
Here’s what each scout had to say:
Ed Santa, Colorado Rockies (27th pick)
Physical Description: “Perfect SS body. Very projectible. Loose and athletic. Long legs with strength. Long loose arms. Potential to get stronger in upper body. Reminds me of Gary Green – Reds.”
Abilities: “Excellent loose arm and throwing motion. Active lower body. Hands work well. Good range. Runs easy. Has natural flowing movements. O.K. approach to hitting with some bat speed.”
Weaknesses: “Occasionally strengthens front arm and sweeps bat. Fields ball off right side. Athletic enough to adapt and improve.”
Summation: “This guy is special. You get excited just watching him warm up. All-Star potential at SS at ML level. Raised OFP 7 points: ability to play premium position at ML Level.”
Gene Bennett, Cincinnati Reds (5th pick)
“Skills similar to [Barry] Larkin as High School player except Larkin had more speed. Will be tough to sign. Going to study Medicine at Michigan U. Parents both have good jobs. Boy 3.8 student. Has leadership ability with good makeup.”
More from Bennett: “Feet not as quick as Larkin or Reese. … May have chance to be a good centerfielder if not at shortstop.”
Jon Neiderer, California Angels (8th pick)
Physical Description: “Rangy, slender, live body. Somewhat thin-chested and pointy shouldered. Yet plenty of room to fill out. Nice little bow in legs. Good face – very young looking.”
Description: “An athletic natural with all the tools to play the game at a high level. Nimble and light on his feet, with easy, graceful actions. Very quick hands and feet – at times, so quick they get him set up to make a play before the ball arrives and he looks out of synch. Fine, strong arm will make any play at SS. Smooth, powerful stride – a plus runner. Is overanxious baserunner at this time: Leads are much too big, but steals even when picked off by overmatching the opposition. Good potential with bat – has smooth swing and above average quickness with his hands. Hits line drives all over and out of the park. A bit overanxious as a hitter too, but love his aggressiveness.”
Summation: “This young man will have an impact both offensively and defensively. A Barry Larkin type athlete. Top student from a high class family, where the mother is an accountant, the dad a substance abuse counselor with a Ph.D. Derek is a modest, unaffected kid and part of the team. Would love to take with our first pick. Will be in the big leagues by the time he’s 21.”