This post is related to the 2020 Best Baseball League series. If you missed it, check out the series kick-off article.The 2020 Best Baseball League
OUR FIRST REAL SCOUTING “MISS”
By no means did I draft a perfect team. With my 4th pick, I selected 26-year old Victor Lopez, out of the Dominican. What the scouting reports showed us on draft day was an incredible athlete, 6’2” 205 with 70/80 speed, the ability to play every outfield position serviceably, at minimum, and above average feel at the plate.
Lopez limped into May with a .223/.353/.384 slash line, but that’s when he actually started limping. On 5/03, he was diagnosed with a bruised hip. We listed him as day-to-day, and on 5/06, he strained a back muscle, extending that day-to-day status. 8 days later, he was placed on the IL after suffering an intercostal strain. It was at this point I sent Steve Rosin down to our training facilities to scout Lopez again, with more attention to detail. The reports came back with a different viewpoint than on draft day.
DRAFT DAY SCOUTING: (Tool – Current Rating #/Potential Rating #)
Contact – 50/50
Power – 65/65
Eye – 55/60
Def – 55/55
Current Overall – 62
Potential Overall – 66
5/25 SCOUTING Report:
Contact – 40/50 (-10)
Power – 55/65 (-10)
Eye – 55/60 (0)
Def – 50/55 (-5)
Current Overall – 51 (-11)
Potential Overall – 61 (-5)
That’s a pretty big change in outlook. Thankfully, Victor remained healthy for much of the year, and showed improvement across his game, getting closer to the impact player we thought we drafted with our 4th pick.
He ended the season with a .257/.346/.456 slash line – 124 hits, 80 runs, 21 home runs, and 92 RBI – good for 2.6 WAR, and definitely not terrible, but a few wins off from expectations. Victor had an 80% success rate on stolen bases, but only attempted 10 steals. We will make sure to be more aggressive with his tools if we do not find an upgrade at CF in 2021. Oddly enough, 2.6 WAR is the same amount as Bob Hamelin produced in 1994 according to Baseball reference, and recently the subject of a great article by Austin Meek over at The Athletic. Hopefully Lopez doesn’t flame out in quite the same fashion.
HOLES IN THE LINEUP
I will openly accept the criticisms that I reached with my 8th round pick when I selected 30 year old catcher Frank Osorio. I knew I wasn’t drafting Yogi Berra or Buster Posey in his prime. And while Frank’s offensive profile didn’t stand out on his scouting report, two other things did: his above average grade at defense (60/80), and his personality grades. High marks for Leadership, Loyalty, Work Ethic combined with a low overall level of Greed. Rosin’s exact words were “He’s a crowd pleaser. They love his work ethic and personality”.
Frank only played 132 games in 2020, fighting for the first month or two for the starting job. He was barely above the Mendoza Line through the all-star break, but I placed a lot of faith in the value of his clubhouse presence. He finally broke out at the end of July, managing a 10-game hitting streak, that included a 4-game scoring streak and a 3-game RBI streak within it. He ended the season at .242/.317/.381 with 114 hits, 20 doubles, 14 home runs and 1.5 WAR. He only threw out 22.8% of the baserunners that attempted steals off of him, which was far from league-leading. But he was my version of 2016 David Ross – we just didn’t win the championship, and Osorio is only 30.
Lastly, I never drafted an impact player at second base. Hector Vazquez basically rated-out as an above-average bench player who could play second base with ease, and also fill in at shortstop and the corner outfield positions. He is an extremely hard worker, and his dedication resulted in 1.6 WAR over the 2020 campaign, with similar stat lines to 2009 Daniel Murphy and 1991 Ray Lankford.