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Player Valuation: Amateur Scouting

One of the main themes underlying most of the dialogue here revolves around a players' "value". It's tricky to define exactly what "value" is, and most of time we end up looking at the major measurements, add in our biases towards the particular player, and come up with a mental value of him. For instance, if I would ask you to picture Aaron Boone's value as a baseball player in your mind's eye, it would most likely resemble a four-letter word, or some derivative thereof. Some people might compare Boone to other third baseman around baseball or in the organization. And some might think of a particular play from game that illustrates Boone's value, or lack thereof.

In the Internet Age, fans have access to statistical measures, and can see how their valuation of a player matches up against the numbers. But all that goes out the window when you're watching a player on TV. A couple errors in key situations, and the player is in your personal dog house. If a player comes through in the clutch, he's elevated into your good graces.

But beyond the emotional aspect, there's things that we use to size up a player by watching him. What kind of routes does an outielder take to the ball? How long is a batter's swing? How does a pitcher deliver the baseball? Little things like that tend to color our thoughts on how good a player is. In other words, "does he look like a good player?" The difficult part is obviously trying to define what a good (or bad) player looks like.

A little exercise for tonight and tomorrow: pick a player (preferably a non-Indian) that you think is valuable, and your reasons why. Or give an example of a non-valuable player along with an explanation. The catch: you can't use any numbers, just words. I'll give an example.

Yuniesky Betancourt - a game-changing defender at shortstop. The best range in the American League combined with good hands and an outstanding arm. He gets to balls most shortstops wouldn't even dive for, and most of the time he makes the play seem routine. And if his defense wasn't enough, he's starting to hit for doubles power. Even he never breaks out on offense, he's going to be one of the most valuable shortstops in the AL soon.  

Feel free to use pitchers and hitters as well - I'm not looking for just defenders. Again, use only your thoughts and observations, not statistics or word of mouth.