Politics of baseball - - Some standards of note

The Talent is Overrated topic got me thinking about an entirely separate subject. (side note make sure you check out the Talent is Overrated topic)

It got me thinking about the politics of baseball and the standards which it takes to get drafted.

I would like to believe the saying “if you’re good enough you’ll be found”

Last year in the 1st year players draft out of 1500 picks 14 of them were Division III players. One was Harold Baines son who was a courtesy pick, and another was a boy who was connected to a high up scout. That then leaves 12.

Are there more DIII players that deserve a chance? OF COURSE. Are scouts going to DIII games looking for talent? No!

If you pitch well in DIII ball its expected because batters 6-9 usually are easy outs. In DI ball every out is a tough out. There are exceptions to both sides of course!!!

The 2nd Standard I feel needs to be addressed is the Height-Velocity correlation.

I know this one all too well being in the position myself. I’m a 5’11 RHP who works in the 89-91 range. I get approached by scouts from time to time because of my velocity but usually the conversation turns to “what is your height” “what is your weight” Then the news comes “You have good stuff but you’re not projectable”

If you’ve never heard of “projectable” before it is the word scouts use for your ceiling. Most scouts believe that shorter guys have a shorter ceiling and yea i throw 88-91 now but thats it. Thats as good as its going to get.

the 3rd Standard is that “If you’re getting outs it shouldn’t matter how hard you throw.”

Matthew Wilson. If the name sounds familiar it is because he threw 8 innings of shutout ball against FSU in an upset game in the regional of 2007.

Matt Wilson had a career 3 ERA. As a senior he had a 1.78 era in 60+ innings.


Undrafted. Why? Throws 82-84 mph.

4 years of Division I ball with a career era of 3 something. And not much to show for it except a shot at indy ball.

I guess this is more of a rant than a post but i would love to hear other peoples opinions or other stories of similar nature.

As stated before VELOCITY IS KING… too bad huh.

abnormal people get a free pass to get a shot. normal people have to produce abnormal results to get a shot. pete rose sat at the door to get noticed and kicked it down when nobody noticed him.

if you’re normal, don’t expect baseball people to go out of their way to find you. there are too many latin players they can pick up for next to nothing to fill minor league rosters.

In some posts, I refer to baseball as the “business” of baseball and so on, and so forth.

Business is just that … business. And baseball is a human endeavour like any other, with its pro’s and con’s, do’s and don’ts. When the winds of favor blow our way it’s a good thing, when not - it’s politics. Again, baseball like any other human endeavor, has its frailties. I’m living proof of that.

There I was, an assistant associate, to a pitching coach that decided to go elsewhere. The powers that were looked around and saw me with a clipboard in hand taking notes of two guys doing bullpen duty and decided then and there that I was next in line. So, without further fanfare, one pitching coach deluxe - I’m it. I didn’t know diddly about handling a full rotation - but I learned quick … along with the satisfaction of hearing… " and if you can’t, we’ll get the next guy standing behind you."

Times being what they were, I made the best of it - I had to.

Now, was this fair to others far more qualified than I … NO. In fact, it was next to impossible to live and work next to those people, and their “click” of friends for three full seasons. I heard every day, smart %$#!! remarks and some of the rotation bucked me too. Frankly, I deserved some of it, and I knew others far more qualified than I could do a much better job.

Things took 180% turn with another club - this time the shoe was on the other foot. I got passed over for another coach, and I swallowed my pride and keep the groceries coming in. Stuff happens.

For those that take this sport (game) with a sense of love and passion, sooner or later realize that a lot of things are in orbit long before we set foot on this earth … it’s just the way it is. So, you try and find your spot to drive a tent stake in, setup shop, and do the best you can. But, all the while, keeping a level head, don’t sell your sense of fairness and self respect as far as being reasonable, and take things a day at a time.

I guess other professions have similar quantities to deal with, but baseball is all I know and thus offer my two cents on the issue.

Coach B.

Thats a very general statement. There are many DIII programs (St. Thomas, UW-Whitewater) who could kick the crap out of some DI schools any day of the week

Baseball is very slow moving and very stagnant in its ideas and theories. An example the height velocity correlation. Size is hugely overrated, look at Lincecum, Oswalt, Peavy, Wagner. There are 4 hard throwers who are all below 6’1. People will argue that they are all freaks and superhuman athletes. But so are big guys. You can’t tell me Randy Johnson, Josh Beckett and CC Sabathia are poor athletes. All of them are far beyond exceptional athletes as well and freaks too.

Many of baseballs supposed absolutes have been proven to be false, yet they are still preached. Such as mechanical work “balance point, arm swing, don’t hook the ball.” This is still taught by college level coaches. I recently went to a college camp and was soon disgusted by their outdated methods. This was coming from a top 25 DIII school. Not only where they feeding this bulls*** to young kids but they were making kids pay for it too. So much for “professional instruction”.

Inequities are to baseball as unfairness is to life. Philosophically speaking, libraries have been written on the subject.

The essence of success is getting past that without carrying too much of a chip on your shoulder. I can think of numerous examples from my era, Pete Rose having been mentioned earlier, Frank Robinson comes to mind. Remember there was a whole league of black men who faced this reality.

Something given to you is many times not worth charishing. This would include a shot at the world of professsional baseball.

In my childhood I recall things I longed for but due to my family’s status and income seemed never to afford. When through stubborn perseverance and sacrifice we finally purchased our first color television, we sat together as a family and watched Walter Cronkite on the CBS evening news and listened to mom tell us, “Don’t watch too much you’ll ruin your eyes.” We earned it. I’d have gone blind soaking in the green lushness of Fenway Park on the Game of the Week.

As in baseball, inequities will find you in daily life. That is one reason the game of baseball is such a great life lesson in itself. Disrespect inspires, inspiration motivates and motivation reaps rewards. I have built a career on it. Personal pride has driven me to success I could never have imagined.

Often we define our goals too narrowly. We fence ourselves in instead of opening our minds to greater possibilities, we are satisfied to blame the system for our limitations. If we can focus our energy on our will instead of the contradiction, we can succeed.

There are great lessons to be learned along the way. I have found this to be true…The first will be last and the last will be first. That simple saying took me from a grocery store clerk to a very successful law enforcement officer. I had friends that grew up with the same pride and they are all successful including one major league player and now manager. If you happen to be an undersized righthanded pitcher there will be some obstacles thrown your direction. Your goals can still be achieved but you need to be willing to recognize a greater opportunity if it is presented. To some the pot of gold may be major league baseball but there are other trees in the forest at least as worthy if not more. I have never played a game that someone wasn’t accused of cheating somewhere along the line. Life is very much the same.

wake up every day of your life and repeat …
Often we define our goals too narrowly. We fence ourselves in instead of opening our minds to greater possibilities, we are satisfied to blame the system for our limitations. If we can focus our energy on our will instead of the contradiction, we can succeed.
[/color] (tons of life here, by a man whose been there - great post, Dino)

The bitter pill of disappointment will be a little easier to swallow, and the cake of success will be sweeter than ever.

Coach B.

[quote=“UndersizedRHP”]It got me thinking about the politics of baseball and the standards which it takes to get drafted.

I guess this is more of a rant than a post but i would love to hear other peoples opinions or other stories of similar nature.

As stated before VELOCITY IS KING… too bad huh.[/quote]

This story isn’t about getting drafted, but my son’s experiences sure expose the questionable value of “projectability”.

Last year, my boy played basketball at his HS as a sophomore. One of the kids on his team was 6-9"/6-10". This tall kid’s older brother had graduated from the school and currently plays basketball at one of the top college programs in the country. He’s a seven-footer.

My boy rode the pine most of the year behind the tall kid. The tall kid fumbled and bumbled his way up and down the court. When Andy approached his coach about playing time, coach told him the taller kid may not be as skilled, but “I can’t teach tall”.

The disappointment of that “projectability” basketball season led my son to quit basketball and focus on baseball.

After football, Andy started working out at a baseball training facility. The facility sets up private showcases for the kids in their program. About a dozen kids from the facility, including Andy, went to a showcase attended by eight colleges in Ohio. When Andy returned from the showcase, I asked him how it went. He said he stunk up the place. Maximum velocity of 80mph and couldn’t get the ball over the plate.

Within two weeks, he received four recruiting letters and an invitation to a Junior Day from colleges that attended the Ohio showcase. These were all D1 schools. He couldn’t understand why any school would be interested in him based on his performance.

Andy is 6-5", 210# and looks like an athlete. Two other pitchers from the facility didn’t get a nibble from the showcase. They are more polished than Andy, but smaller in stature.

I explained to him that his size as a baseball pitcher could be as desirable to some baseball coaches as the tall kid’s size on the basketball team was to his basketball coach. Because of “projectability”.

I also pointed out that his skills as a baseball pitcher are on a par with the tall kid’s basketball skills. That pissed him off and seems to be a motivator.

The tall kid basketball player has transferred to another high school.

I wonder, is there a moral to this story?


I wish it could come down to just velocity instead of the other parts to the equation I saw a lot of kids throwing 90+ get overlooked becuase of size. We had a member of the all-Canadian college team who throws 89-92 and another kid who was 5’8" throwing 94. Neither will get drafted, maybe some indy contracts but thats it. Makes one sad.

this kid lit up the minors 2 seasons ago but it looks like he had a bit more trouble this past season.

He’s hit 95 mph at 5’5"-5’6"

gotta love one of the reader comments:

"This young man, as shown in the photo, takes the baseball out of the glove with his hand on top of the ball. Mr Cressey knows or should know that he will eventually rupture his Ulna Collateral Ligament because he does not take the ball out of the glove with the hand under the ball.

There is a whole lot more he does that will eventually injure him. Mr Cressey refuses or is unable to learn. Fortunately there is someone that cares about this young man. I hope his parents take a look at drmikemarshall.com


The reality of the business of baseball is that teams are trying to draft potential major league baseball players. That’s why there are 83 mph successful pitchers in college who never get a shot. Whether you like it or not, 83 mph pitchers are less likely to succeed at the big league level. They may have success in A ball, but once again, players are not drafted for minor league production. While velocity does not make a good pitcher, there is usually a minimum threshold that needs to be reached (whether trying to make a high school, college or pro team).

Now, I’m all for shorter guys getting a shot and I think some of the stereotypes are ridiculous, for instance, the 6-3 220 lb. pitcher is more durable. I do, however, think that all things being equal (a terrible phrase, but I’ll still use it here), the 6-3 pitcher who throws 90 should be more effective than the 5-11 pitcher throwing 90.

Lincecum, Oswalt, and other smaller pitchers are exceptional and by the way, they all throw 95 mph. For a shorter guy to get a shot, everything else better be exceptional. Not all 90 mphs are created equally and as the level rises, it’s all about how the fastball plays. Some guys have that sneaky fast deception and 90 mph plays well for them. Or their secondary stuff is exceptional and it plays because of that. 90 mph is not special in pro baseball: it’s seen as a minimum requirement. Does everyone throw 90? No. But everyone brings something to the table that a team can say, “this kid can get major league hitters out some day.”

I’m just playing devil’s advocate a little bit because I’ve been around many people that have been “screwed” by the system. I have been on the wrong side of the system myself. But just like the “Talent is Overrated” post, you can overcome, and work extra hard to beat the system. You have to honestly assess yourself and try to turn your weaknesses into strengths.

well said.

It’s reality.

That charactor has posted for years on many different sites…luckily never here…knock wood, always says they are right on the “verge”…man they are going to break in and take over the sport and everyone else is a child abuser. If you debate with him, he’ll say “does your kid take the ball out of the glove with his hand on top?” or other “trick” questions or heaven forbid if your kid has suffered any injury…well it’s proof the whole world sucks as some means of intimidation as if…if you do well obviously you are a bad person who is out to cripple and ruin the life of everyone on earth. Unenlightened and sad in a way…his story has never changed and they’ve never produced success…but in just a bit…oh man.

:lol: well said JD. I’ve seen him around too and am also thankful he hasn’t “polluted” this site. :lol:

I understand your frustration Undersized. :?

But as others have said you just have to do your best and keep fighting the good fight. Life isn’t fair and people get screwed all the time in every facet of life.

Just refuse to let the bastards get the best of you.

I’m just going to add one thing to this -

affiliated teams do sign players who they don’t believe will make the bigs. Happens every August after the draft when the high school draftees decide they dont want to play pro and go to school instead. Roster fillers are taken all the time.

Courtesy picks are in the same boat, most of them are never going to reach the majors.

i forgot what else i was going to add. when i think of it later im sure i’ll add it!!

The high school kids who go to college are usually drafted with the intention of signing them.

You’re right though, every organization needs “filler” players and they are taken late in the draft.

[quote=“palo20”]The high school kids who go to college are usually drafted with the intention of signing them.

You’re right though, every organization needs “filler” players and they are taken late in the draft.[/quote]

I’m sure the intention is there but I know multiple players who have fallen 10-20 rounds because their commitment to college. A lot of high school guys are draft and follows.

My catcher was drafted in the 20 somethin round by the astros and he outright told them he was going to college no questions asked. He was surprised they picked him up.

A lot of teams don’t even use all 50 of their draft picks, so they’re not just going to sign players just for fun. There are limits to how many jobs are available.

By the way, the point of my writing in this thread is not to discourage. I was just trying to bring reality to the situation. As I said before, I’ve been on the wrong side of the system myself, but it made me work even harder and made me a better player because of it. Some guys get their motivation by having a little chip on their shoulder. I’ve been fortunate enough to overcome being passed over and the only way you can do that is by making yourself better on a daily basis.