Riley Breckenridge: Who’s Next: A Brief Look at the Future of Baseball

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If you’re like me, you’re fascinated with prospects because they give you a glimpse at the future of the greatest game on the planet. You’ll pore through scouting reports, organizational rankings, showcase videos, game footage, or anything you can get your hands on to help you greater understand the game you love. There’s something incredibly satisfying about finding a young player and following his progress as he climbs the rungs of the organizational ladder and finally gets his call up. 

But sometimes that’s not enough. Serious prospect junkies can’t get their fix from just following players as they ascend through the minor league ranks. They might turn to players at the college or high school level, or shift their focus to teens in the Dominican or Central America. They want to be in on guys before anyone else, and after a while, that can get really difficult.

I understand how difficult that can be, and that’s why I took to the vast expanses of the Internet in search of 10 very young ballplayers, so we could get in on them first and get an early glimpse at what the future might look like for the game we all love so much.

Unfortunately, I’m sorry to report that if these kids are any indication of what’s to come, the grand old game is DOOMED.

Stevie Gutierrez — Leopold Whiptinkle Intermediate Pre-School

Position: SS

Age: 4

Height/Weight: 3-3, 37 lbs. 

Bats/Throws: R/R

Scouting Report: Gutierrez makes solid contact at a fairly high rate, despite mechanical flaws in swing; could develop as a player over time, but probably won’t because he’ll get really into video games, energy drinks and never going outside; pre-pitch is horrible, with overly active feet and absurd load that leads to severe bat lag; swing plane is decent, but inability to finish swing in a controlled fashion often causes swinging bunts on the follow-through; has not yet learned to run to first base; automatic out.

Major league ETA: Never

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Casper Mudbottom — Wonderhut Day School

Position: RF

Age: 4

Height/Weight: 3-2, 31 lbs.

Bats/Throws: L/L

Scouting Report: Mudbottom’s ceiling collapsed following his Age 3 season; extremely vulnerable to all pitch locations and types; serious inability to make adjustments at the plate; front shoulder flies open, which leads to a swing so long it looks like he’s swinging an oar; god-awful finish that lands somewhere between drunk Ichiro and vertigo-stricken-uncle-takes-his-turn-at-the-piñata party; a persistent kid with zero tools who projects as a replacement-level IT guy.

Major league ETA: Never

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Mason Haunchtaster — Savor Him! Jesus Jubilee Country Day K-8

Position: C

Age: 6

Height/Weight: 3-7, 43 lbs.

Bats/Throws: R/R

Scouting Report: Haunchtaster has a hole in his swing that you could sail a container ship through; high leg kick reminiscent of a less-coordinated Ruben Sierra; disastrous swing path that has been comped to a guy trying to heave a corpse over the side of a boat; poor coaching and a boatload of false positive reinforcement has created a massive ego; considered by most to be uncoachable; eats paste; cries when disciplined; cries when tired; cries after failure; well below-average moxie.

Major league ETA: Never

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Rupert Gooch IV  — Eagle Tooth Elementary

Position: 1B

Age: 5

Height/Weight: 3-5, 44 lbs.

Bats/Throws: L/R

Scouting Report: Gooch’s swing reminds scouts of a mini Mo Vaughn; tremendous power potential; disastrous baserunner with little-to-no knowledge of the basic rules of the game; doesn’t like running because it “makes him tired”: fiery competitor who demands praise and approval from teammates and coaches alike; above-average high-fiver; screams when denied sugary foods and favorite television shows; weight will likely become an issue; kind of an asshole.

Major League ETA: Yeah, right

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Alexander Merlowitz — The Magnificenter at Blissbury Pines

Position: 2B

Age: 4

Height/Weight: 3-1, 31 lbs.  

Bats/Throw: R/R

Scouting Report: Brutal pre-pitch; swing has several hitches that he miraculously turns into a passable swing; finish is a huge concern as he often takes a knee (not unlike his idol, Adrian Beltre); very poor home-to-first times, as slightly above-average speed is hindered by said finish; a pant-soiler whose excuse is commonly, “I forgot to go to the bathroom”; a fidgety player with attention span issues and OCD that has some scouts suspecting that he might have a serious amphetamine habit; on-field smarts (or lack thereof) reminds many scouts of Manny Ramirez.

Major league ETA: Seriously?

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Anthony “Speedy” Regalo — Shepherd’s Boot Pre-School

Position: CF

Age: 4

Height/Weight: 3-3, 35 lbs.  

Bats/Throws: L/L

Scouting Report: Regalo has a plate approach best described as “Nomar Garciaparra-gets-attacked-by-bees”; absolutely dreadful baserunner; on-field awareness raises huge red flag for most evaluators; directionally-challenged youngster who refuses to follow simple instructions; nose-picker; terrible secondary leads and in-game instincts.

Major league ETA: Pssh.

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Gordon W. Bort — Hopesplosion Dreamery

Position: 1B

Age: 4

Height/Weight: 3-8, 50  

Bats/Throws: R/R

Scouting Report: Bort is a big-bodied kid with serious makeup issues; swing reminds most scouts of Star Wars Kid-meets-a-Jai-alai-player; stance reminiscent of Mickey Tettleton; crowds the plate; shows power potential, but could end up a below-average hitter because of his horrible temperament and sportsmanship; despicable running mechanics that one scout said reminded him of “Greg Luzinski running with his pants around his ankles”.

Major league ETA: Never

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Gavin Derpinowski — Ready, Set, Learn! A Place For Kids

Position: LF

Age: 4

Height/Weight.: 3-2, 34 lbs.  

Bats/Throws: R/R

Scouting Report: Derpinowki’s lackadaisical approach in the box speaks volumes about his skill set; a true zero-tool player; incredibly slow bat speed makes him vulnerable to all pitches; severe balance issues; below-average speed; more interested in chewing on his glove than using it to field; spends most of his time in left field gazing into the palm of his glove and a daydreaming about LEGOs.

Major league ETA: Never

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Austin Shaftmangler — Our Lady of the Nimble Lamb Creativity Center

Position: 2B

Age: 6

Height/Weight: 3-8, 41 lbs.

Bats/Throws: L/R

Scouting Report: He just kinda hammered away at the front of his pants for nine innings.

Major league ETA: n/a 

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Brody Connors - Home-Schooled

Position: SS

Age: 4

Height/Weight: 3-4, 32 lbs.  

Bats/Throws: R/R

Scouting Report: Connors has a disturbingly developed mullet for a four-year-old prospect; has a pronounced uppercut which leads to high flyball rate; attitude and makeup are a huge red flag here as scouts have compared him to a young Bryce Harper; batter’s box presence and forehead reminds some of Dante Bichette; the product of incredibly pushy parents, scouts are worried that he’ll get burned out on baseball and develop a passion for cruisin’ for babes in his Camaro by age 16; a total dick. Already.

Major league ETA: Yeah, no.

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Riley Breckenridge is a musician and freelance writer (read: unemployed) who is one half of the team at the wildly average blog/podcast/twitter feed known as Productive Outs. His musings on music, food, and whatever else he deems worthy of wasting valuable keystrokes on can be read at his personal twitter feed and his blog, Hermitology. He also really loves talking about himself (especially in the third person) which is why this paragraph took him nearly a half an hour to write.

Huge thanks to Michael Clair for inviting me to be a part of the Blogathon again.

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Doctors Without Borders is an international medical organization that provides independent, impartial assistance in more than 60 countries to people whose survival has been threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe. Please help us reach our goal of $3,000 by donating here.

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