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By Josh Boyd

October 18, 2003

 

Above-average tools play in the major leagues. As one of the greatest general managers in the history of baseball, Pat Gillick, often says, "Average tools make average players make average teams."

 

Plus tools have been on display throughout this magical postseason. Whether it's Derek Jeter's 80 bat, Juan Pierre's 80 speed, Jason Giambi's 80 power, Ivan Rodriguez' 70 defense and 80 arm, these tools have had an impact in the first two rounds of the playoffs and will continue to stand out in the World Series.

 

We've asked our network of major league scouts to help break down the tools for all of the key players on the Marlins and Yankees.

 

Each player has been given present grades on the 20-80 scale (80 outstanding, 50 major league average and 20 is poor):

 

CATCHER

 

IVAN RODRIGUEZ

Hitting: 70 Power: 55 Fielding: 70 Throwing: 80 Running: 40

SCOUTING REPORT: Short, quick stroke with power from right-center to left-center . . . Drives balls to right field . . . Rejuvenated his career during second half and postseason, emerged as inspirational team leader . . . Still one of top defensive catchers in game . . . Arm might not be as good as once was, but quick release and accuracy make it a deterrent . . . Excellent at blocking balls.

 

JORGE POSADA

Hitting: 60 Power: 70 Fielding: 50 Throwing: 50 Running: 25

SCOUTING REPORT: Potent switch-hitting catcher with power . . . Professional hitter with disciplined approach, consistent quality plate appearances . . . Augments solid average defense because of his ability to run a pitching staff . . . Arm is a little short, but has good accuracy . . . Inconsistent receiver . . . Fair at blocking balls . . . Well-above average power from both sides of the plate . . . "The most underrated hitter on their squad."

 

FIRST BASEMEN

 

DERREK LEE

Hitting 55 Power 70 Fielding 70 Throwing 50 Running 45

SCOUTING REPORT: Developed into a Gold Glove first baseman . . . Tremendous athlete with enough versatility to play third or outfield in a pinch . . . Outstanding raw power . . . Works the count, but has holes in his long swing . . . Quick, strong hands . . . Mashes against lefties . . . Streaky, hot/cold, great mistake power . . . Has to get his arms away from his body to be effective . . . Can get pull-happy . . . Better runner underway, but takes a little time to get going; he can go first to third, and home to second.

 

NICK JOHNSON

Hitting 65 Power 55 Fielding 55 Throwing 50 Running 30

SCOUTING REPORT: Very selective hitter . . . Growing into power, "very easily could give him future 70 power" . . . Can get tied up inside and often struggles to catch up to good fastballs, chases up in the zone . . . "Mark Grace-type guy now" . . . Range is limited, but has good, sure hands.

 

SECOND BASEMEN

 

LUIS CASTILLO

Hitting 75 Power 25 Fielding 70 Throwing 60 Running 80

SCOUTING REPORT: Has perfected slash-and-run style approach with top-of-the-scale speed . . . May have the best range up the middle of any second baseman in the game . . . Has arm strength to make play running away from first base . . . Also he and Soriano "might have the best arm strength" for second basemen in baseball . . . Outstanding bunter puts pressure on defense.

 

ALFONSO SORIANO

Hitting 65 Power 70 Fielding 45 Throwing 65 Running 70

SCOUTING REPORT: Tremendous hand and bat speed . . . Vulnerable to breaking balls down and away; he will chase and has poor plate discipline . . . Not sure-handed, but has well above-average range to make spectacular play . . . Just fair hands, struggles with routine plays and routine 4-6 feeds on the double play.

 

THIRD BASEMEN

 

MIKE LOWELL

Hitting 60 Power 65 Fielding 50 Throwing 50 Running 30

SCOUTING REPORT: Makes excellent adjustments at the plate from pitch to pitch . . . Quick hands to catch up with the best fastball . . . Coming into his own after breaking his left hand in August . . . Power to all fields.

 

AARON BOONE

Hitting 50 Power 55 Fielding 55 Throwing 55 Running 50

SCOUTING REPORT: Average to solid tools across the board . . . Hasn't adjusted well to New York and the American League . . . Chasing out of the zone . . . Good athlete, versatile . . . Overrated defensively . . . Uses whole field, needs to stay line drive and gap to gap.

 

SHORTSTOPS

 

ALEX GONZALEZ

Hitting 40 Power 55 Fielding 70 Throwing 60 Running 45

SCOUTING REPORT: Hot/cold hitter with inside pull power . . . Undisciplined, "chases too many out of the strike zone" . . . Quick feet, plus range, Gold Glove defense . . . Excellent on the DP turn and feed . . . Makes highlight reel plays

 

DEREK JETER

Hitting 80 Power 55 Fielding 70 Throwing 65 Running 70

SCOUTING REPORT: Off the chart instincts and championship-caliber makeup . . . Clutch hitter because has a consistent approach resulting in quality at-bats . . . Has huge hole down and in . . . Inside-outs ball to right field, also has the quickness to get the barrel on fastball in . . . Has plus range in the hole and has all but patented the jump-throw play . . . Some knocks on him defensively, but "I'll give him some extra credit for being so steady, he's not going to beat himself" . . . Still gets down the line as well as any, occasional 80, and has tremendous instincts for taking the extra base. "He cuts the bases in half."

 

LEFT FIELDERS

 

JEFF CONINE

Hitting 60 Power 60 Fielding 50 Throwing 50 Running 40

SCOUTING REPORT: Surprising athlete, plays "occasional 80 defense" in left field . . . Can play third . . . Professional, disciplined approach at the plate thanks to his ability to recognize pitches early . . . Sprays hits to all fields . . . Tremendous makeup.

 

HIDEKI MATSUI

Hitting 55 Power 50 Fielding 50 Throwing 50 Running 50

SCOUTING REPORT: Hard worker, hustles . . . Gets good jumps and makes good reads in the outfield: "Not pretty, but seemed to make the plays" . . . Has average arm strength, though it doesn't always play up . . . Makes accurate throws and hits the cutoff man . . . Solid fundamentally . . . Gets out of the box well, 4.14 seconds.

 

CENTER FIELDERS

 

JUAN PIERRE

Hitting 70 Power 20 Fielding 55 Throwing 30 Running 80

SCOUTING REPORT: Tremendous bat-handling skills, one of the toughest hitters to strike out . . . Can slap ball by third baseman to opposite field . . . Outstanding bunter with blinding speed . . . Dangerous basestealer, good jumps . . . Often misplays balls in center, but speed can make up for his bad reads . . . Top-of-the-scale work ethic, desire and makeup

 

BERNIE WILLIAMS

Hitting 60 Power 60 Fielding 55 Throwing 30 Running 50

SCOUTING REPORT: Dangerous switch-hitter with more power from the right side . . . Patient, works count . . . Doesn't run as well as he used to, thanks to knee injuries, ranges from 40-55 . . . Still fine in center field "because of his instincts and reads and angles," but not near past form . . . Arm is poor; opposing runners take extra base at will . . . Gliding runner, not a basestealing threat.

 

RIGHT FIELDERS

 

MIGUEL CABRERA

Hitting 60 Power 65 Fielding 60 Throwing 70 Running 40

SCOUTING REPORT: "Going to be an 80 hitter, and have a chance to have two 80s real quick" . . . Unfazed by playoff atmosphere . . . Plus bat speed . . . Shows outstanding plate coverage, stays back on offspeed and punishes fastballs . . . Versatile, can play third base and left field.

 

KARIM GARCIA

Hitting 50 Power 55 Fielding 50 Throwing 55 Running 35

SCOUTING REPORT: Dead pull hitter . . . Overly aggressive at times . . . Has some raw arm strength, but erratic . . . Raw pop doesn't translate into game power . . . Platooner, can't hit lefties.

 

DESIGNATED HITTER

 

JUAN ENCARNACION

Hitting 50 Power 65 Fielding 65 Throwing 70 Running 50

SCOUTING REPORT: Plus raw power . . . Guess hitter . . . Good breaking ball hitter . . . Good athlete with powerful throwing arm and above-average range.

 

JASON GIAMBI

Hitting 70 Power 80 Fielding 40 Throwing 20 Running 20

SCOUTING REPORT: Has been off-balance during postseason, may have corrected in final two games against Boston . . . Light-tower power, can hit fastball, offspeed out . . . Has competitive at-bats and has a discerning eye, though susceptible to good fastballs up and in . . . Liability in the field.

 

GAME 1 STARTERS

 

BRAD PENNY

Fastball 70 Curveball 50 Changeup 50 Control 60

SCOUTING REPORT: Sheer power . . . Full-effort delivery, tops out at 99 mph, pitches at 95-97 . . . Inconsistent secondary stuff: curveball and changeup can go from above-average to below-average from start to start . . . Fastball can straighten out . . . Competitive, sometimes to a fault.

 

DAVID WELLS

Fastball 50 Curveball 70 Changeup 55 Control 80

SCOUTING REPORT: Big-game pitcher . . . Commands fastball at 86-91 mph . . . "If Zito's curveball is an 80, then Wells' is a 70" . . . At times he gets a little too much of the plate with his curveball when it sweeps instead of drops out of sight . . . Deceptive.

 

GAME 2 STARTERS

 

DONTRELLE WILLIS

Fastball 60 Slider 60 Changeup 50 Control 50

SCOUTING REPORT: Touches 93 mph with lively fastball . . . Creates deception with exaggerated leg kick and hip turn . . . Above-average sink and run movement . . . Command is average, but it "comes and goes" . . . Emotional . . . Inexperienced . . . Athletic.

 

MIKE MUSSINA

Fastball 50 Curveball 65 Splitter 55 Control 75

SCOUTING REPORT: Diverse arsenal keeps hitters guessing . . . "Which pitch? He's got about 10 of them" . . . Knuckle-curveball features sharp downward movement, strikeout pitch . . . Fastball velocity is solid average, but "add in his placement, command and life with the other stuff and it plays up" . . . Added effective splitter with downer bite and tumble this year . . . Provides hitter with different looks and angles--drops down Laredo style, mixes in a slider, and uses a sinker against lefties from a high angle.

 

GAME 3 STARTERS

 

JOSH BECKETT

Fastball 80 Curveball 70 Changeup 70 Control 55

SCOUTING REPORT: Three-pitch power arsenal . . . Starting to trust his changeup, which has developed into his second-best pitch, an 86-88 mph pitch with above-average movement . . . Touches 99-100, sits 93-97 with life . . . Outthinks himself at times . . . Competitive.

 

ANDY PETTITTE

Fastball 55 Cutter 70 Curveball 60 Changeup 50 Control 65

SCOUTING REPORT: 85-87 mph cutter is bread and butter pitch, a "70 or 80 pitch, runs under righthanded hitters hands and it's impossible to hit" . . . Throws 88-92 four-seamer to induce groundballs and jam jobs . . . Tops out at 94, best velocity of his career . . . Doesn?t use circle-changeup often . . . Lefthanders are more effective against him than righties . . . "May try to make the perfect pitch to often, wants to make it a slider to go down (against lefties)"

 

GAME 4 STARTERS

 

MARK REDMAN

Fastball 30 Curveball 45 Changeup 65 Control 60

SCOUTING REPORT: Fastball plays as about a 40 pitch, "and he's got to be fine with it, he can't afford mistakes" . . . Sets fastball up with above-average changeup; "When he does that, his fastball looks like its 96-97" . . . Fastball velocity: 84-86 . . . Bad arm action adds to deception . . . Lives on the outside of the plate . . . Occasional average curveball.

 

ROGER CLEMENS

Fastball 70 Splitter 70 Slider 60 Control 65

SCOUTING REPORT: "He's still the Rocket" . . . Pitches at 92-94, and can rely on split when fastball velocity isn't there . . . Split plays up as an 80 when he has 95 mph heat . . . Locates fastball, rides four-seamer up in the zone, both sides of the plate . . . "Can own the inner half of the plate and run it away" . . . Breaking ball is mainly a show-me pitch, but can be an effective weapon when he needs it.

 

MARLINS BULLPEN

 

SETUP

 

BRADEN LOOPER

Fastball 70 Slider 50 Control 50

SCOUTING REPORT: Electric arm with lively mid-90s fastball . . . Hittable . . . Works behind in count.

 

CARL PAVANO

Fastball 60 Slider 55 Changeup 50 Control 65

SCOUTING REPORT: Not overpowering with 89-92 mph fastball, touches 94 mph . . . Basically a two-pitch guy with plus command . . . Pitches off the fastball to set up his slider and throws his changeup to keep lefties at bay . . . His keys are location and working the four quadrants.

 

CHAD FOX

Fastball 80 Slider 65 Control 50

SCOUTING REPORT: Pumps 93-96 mph heat with marginal command . . . Relies on 84-87 mph slider with good, late tilt . . . Effective against both lefties and righties.

 

CLOSER

 

UGUETH URBINA

Fastball 60 Slider 60 Changeup 50 Control 50

SCOUTING REPORT: Resilient, durable arm . . . Throws from different angles . . . Max-effort delivery with emotional, closer-type makeup . . . Dangerous closer with three weapons . . . Slider features occasional split action.

 

YANKEES BULLPEN

 

SETUP

 

JOSE CONTRERAS

Fastball 75 Slider 60 Splitter 70 Control 50

SCOUTING REPORT: At his best when he commands his 96 mph fastball to set up his devastating split-finger . . . Split can be unhittable, runs away from lefties . . . Doesn't use hard slider enough . . . Still inconsistent; command wavers from inning to inning . . . Easy gas, effortless delivery.

 

JEFF NELSON

Fastball 55 Slider 65 Control 40

SCOUTING REPORT: Gives a deceptive look to righties from a cross-body, low-three quarters release . . . Hits 91-92 with good movement, but fair command . . . One-plane frisbee slider breaks across plate after starting behind righthanders back . . . Often relies on slider.

 

CLOSER

 

MARIANO RIVERA

Cutter 80 Control 70

SCOUTING REPORT: Throws one pitch, a 94-96 mph cutter with late, short break . . . 80 life on cut-fastball . . . Hitters can't center the ball, producing a lot of broken bats . . . Resilient arm for two-inning saves . . . "With that (cutter) I don?t even know if he needs command, he just throws it to the middle of the plate and it moves to the black" . . . Aggressive on inner half . . . Can ride four-seamer up in zone by best fastball hitters.

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Anything in bold I disagree with.

 

DERREK LEE

Hitting 55? ? Power 70? ? Fielding 70? ? Throwing 50? ? Running 45

SCOUTING REPORT: Developed into a Gold Glove first baseman . . . Tremendous athlete with enough versatility to play third or outfield in a pinch . . . Outstanding raw power . . . Works the count, but has holes in his long swing . . . Quick, strong hands . . . Mashes against lefties . . . Streaky, hot/cold, great mistake power . . . Has to get his arms away from his body to be effective . . . Can get pull-happy . . . Better runner underway, but takes a little time to get going; he can go first to third, and home to second.

 

LUIS CASTILLO

Hitting 75? ? Power 25? ? Fielding 70? ? Throwing 60? ? Running 80

SCOUTING REPORT: Has perfected slash-and-run style approach with top-of-the-scale speed . . . May have the best range up the middle of any second baseman in the game . . . Has arm strength to make play running away from first base . . . Also he and Soriano "might have the best arm strength" for second basemen in baseball . . . Outstanding bunter puts pressure on defense.

 

MIKE LOWELL

Hitting 60? ? Power 65? ? Fielding 50? ? Throwing 50? ? Running 30

SCOUTING REPORT: Makes excellent adjustments at the plate from pitch to pitch . . . Quick hands to catch up with the best fastball . . . Coming into his own after breaking his left hand in August . . . Power to all fields.

 

ALEX GONZALEZ

Hitting 40? ? Power 55? ? Fielding 70? ? Throwing 60? ? Running 45

SCOUTING REPORT: Hot/cold hitter with inside pull power . . . Undisciplined, "chases too many out of the strike zone" . . . Quick feet, plus range, Gold Glove defense . . . Excellent on the DP turn and feed . . . Makes highlight reel plays

 

JEFF CONINE

Hitting 60? ? Power 60? ? Fielding 50? ? Throwing 50? ? Running 40

SCOUTING REPORT: Surprising athlete, plays "occasional 80 defense" in left field . . . Can play third . . . Professional, disciplined approach at the plate thanks to his ability to recognize pitches early . . . Sprays hits to all fields . . . Tremendous makeup.

 

JUAN PIERRE

Hitting 70? ? Power 20? ? Fielding 55? ? Throwing 30? ? Running 80

SCOUTING REPORT: Tremendous bat-handling skills, one of the toughest hitters to strike out . . . Can slap ball by third baseman to opposite field . . . Outstanding bunter with blinding speed . . . Dangerous basestealer, good jumps . . . Often misplays balls in center, but speed can make up for his bad reads . . . Top-of-the-scale work ethic, desire and makeup

 

MIGUEL CABRERA

Hitting 60? ? Power 65? ? Fielding 60? ? Throwing 70? ? Running 40

SCOUTING REPORT: "Going to be an 80 hitter, and have a chance to have two 80s real quick" . . . Unfazed by playoff atmosphere . . . Plus bat speed . . . Shows outstanding plate coverage, stays back on offspeed and punishes fastballs . . . Versatile, can play third base and left field.

 

JUAN ENCARNACION

Hitting 50? ? Power 65? ? Fielding 65? ? Throwing 70? ? Running 50

SCOUTING REPORT: Plus raw power . . . Guess hitter . . . Good breaking ball hitter . . . Good athlete with powerful throwing arm and above-average range.

 

BRAD PENNY

Fastball 70? ? Curveball 50? ? Changeup 50? ? Control 60

SCOUTING REPORT: Sheer power . . . Full-effort delivery, tops out at 99 mph, pitches at 95-97 . . . Inconsistent secondary stuff: curveball and changeup can go from above-average to below-average from start to start . . . Fastball can straighten out . . . Competitive, sometimes to a fault.

 

DONTRELLE WILLIS

Fastball 60? ? Slider 60? ? Changeup 50? ? Control 50

SCOUTING REPORT: Touches 93 mph with lively fastball . . . Creates deception with exaggerated leg kick and hip turn . . . Above-average sink and run movement . . . Command is average, but it "comes and goes" . . . Emotional . . . Inexperienced . . . Athletic.

 

JOSH BECKETT

Fastball 80? ? Curveball 70? ? Changeup 70? ? Control 55

SCOUTING REPORT: Three-pitch power arsenal . . . Starting to trust his changeup, which has developed into his second-best pitch, an 86-88 mph pitch with above-average movement . . . Touches 99-100, sits 93-97 with life . . . Outthinks himself at times . . . Competitive.

 

MARK REDMAN

Fastball 30? ? Curveball 45? ? Changeup 65? ? Control 60

SCOUTING REPORT: Fastball plays as about a 40 pitch, "and he's got to be fine with it, he can't afford mistakes" . . . Sets fastball up with above-average changeup; "When he does that, his fastball looks like its 96-97" . . . Fastball velocity: 84-86 . . . Bad arm action adds to deception . . . Lives on the outside of the plate . . . Occasional average curveball.

 

BRADEN LOOPER

Fastball 70? ? Slider 50? ? Control 50

SCOUTING REPORT: Electric arm with lively mid-90s fastball . . . Hittable . . . Works behind in count.

 

CARL PAVANO

Fastball 60? ? Slider 55? ? Changeup 50? ? ? Control 65

SCOUTING REPORT: Not overpowering with 89-92 mph fastball, touches 94 mph . . . Basically a two-pitch guy with plus command . . . Pitches off the fastball to set up his slider and throws his changeup to keep lefties at bay . . . His keys are location and working the four quadrants.

 

CHAD FOX

Fastball 80? ? Slider 65? ? Control 50

SCOUTING REPORT: Pumps 93-96 mph heat with marginal command . . . Relies on 84-87 mph slider with good, late tilt . . . Effective against both lefties and righties.

 

UGUETH URBINA

Fastball 60? ? Slider 60? ? Changeup 50? ? Control 50

SCOUTING REPORT: Resilient, durable arm . . . Throws from different angles . . . Max-effort delivery with emotional, closer-type makeup . . . Dangerous closer with three weapons . . . Slider features occasional split action.

 

I agree with most of what they say, but the number rankings are pretty messed-up. Brad Penny with a 50 Curveball, Carl Pavano with 55 slider & 65 control, Urbina with a 50 change!?

 

Are they insane?

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Yeah, I felt that was a pretty inaccurate reading of both teams, especially the # rankings.

 

Some people need to actually watch some games before judging...:-X

Well I think most of what they WROTE was very accurate (much better than that ESPN scouting report that was HORRIBLE). But the rankings don't match up at all with what they said.

 

I mean, take Castillo for example. They talk about how he, "Has arm strength to make play running away from first base . . . Also he and Soriano "might have the best arm strength" for second basemen in baseball . . ." but only give his throwing a 60 rating?

 

Same goes for Lowell. Every ranking but the running was way off for him. Especially the defense and arm rankings, both are 50 for him, when MLB coaches and players ranked him as the second best defensive 3B in the game behind Scott Rolen.

 

Some people are just ignorant.

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Also he and Soriano "might have the best arm strength" for second basemen in baseball . . ." but only give his throwing a 60 rating?

I think that's because by 'throwing' they meant both accuracy as well as power. Soriano is very erratic at times at 2nd base and has been known to throw easy balls into the stands...A small, low profile case of Steve Sax disease.

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Also he and Soriano "might have the best arm strength" for second basemen in baseball . . ." but only give his throwing a 60 rating?

I think that's because by 'throwing' they meant both accuracy as well as power. Soriano is very erratic at times at 2nd base and has been known to throw easy balls into the stands...A small, low profile case of Steve Sax disease. No, they ranked Castillo's throwing a 60. He is both extreamely accurate and has one of if not the strongest arm at 2B in the game.

 

Makes no sense.

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some things that stick out IMO that havent really been mentioned are

 

Juan Pierre and Luis both have an "80" in running.

 

JP gets up the line in about 3.5 as louie does in about 4.0 after surgery or so i hear. Also IMO JP is a better base runner.

 

1 more thing, a power of 65 for Cabrera?...the man, or should i say 'kid' can CRUSH the ball, he's a huge guy that can hit moonshots when he gets his pitch. 65 is not an adequate assesment of his power.

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Juan Pierre and Luis both have an "80" in running.

 

JP gets up the line in about 3.5 as louie does in about 4.0 after surgery or so i hear. Also IMO JP is a better base runner.

Louie still gets up the line with the best of them, its stealing a base he's had so much damn trouble with.

 

Pierre gets up the line at a 3.4 clip I believe.

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Pudge and AGON had pretty much the same amount of homers bc in the beg. of the year AGON was swinging the bat very good and Pudge was struggling-and even with him doing bad at the beg. Pudge still had more than AGON but i think that there are alot worse mistakes than that one.

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