Clair: The otherworldly gems of the Hall of Fame’s scouting database

From SABR member Michael Clair at The Platoon Advantage on May 8, 2013:

We like to pretend that we know most of what’s happening on and around baseball, but the fact is that we don’t. Not really. We know nearly nothing of baseball in the 1800s, we make educated guesses at baseball before the advent of television, and even today, with our newfangled hickeymajigs, our defensive ratings are woefully inaccurate. Now though, we have been given the briefest and tiniest of glimpses into the world of the baseball scout, that unsung hero who, as Kevin Goldstein reminded us during the Up and In podcast days, spends much of his time pooping in McDonald’s restrooms. 

The Baseball Hall of Fame, when they weren’t funding unnecessary steroid research, put together the greatest database of baseball scouting reports ever seen. In the past, these were rarely released, and so people have gone (justifiably) crazy for the Bo Jackson, Ken Griffey Jr, and Chipper Jones reports that are full of glowing phrases like Monster of Mash, Mayhem, and Moxie. However, there is so much more to be unearthed. Because while any scout worth employing could look at those players and see greatness, it’s the other players, the mid-rotation guys, the utility infielders, that required someone to take a leap of faith. And these scouting reports document that.

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Originally published: May 8, 2013. Last Updated: May 8, 2013.