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  • #16
    Most talented guy I've ever seen in youth ball is this guy:

    http://www.maxpreps.com/athletes/qPk...hris-smith.htm

    The kid had every physical skill ever given to a baseball player. Good size, speed galore, tremendous power, cannon of an arm. Never forget one game when he hit a 420 foot home run like a laser beam, felt like it left the park in less than 1 second, looked like a 2 iron. Turns around later and gets a triple off a slightly misplayed ball that would have been a single to almost anyone else, just a blur on the bases. Many of the longtime folks in the area felt he was a superior prospect to Darryl Strawberry. It was hard to believe anyone could be a better prospect with his physical ability superior to all but the most skilled guys in the big leagues, light years better than guys on the so-called "elite" travel teams. A youth player I would actually pay to go watch, it was that impressive.

    Unfortunately, the story doesn't have a happy ending. Yankees drafted him in the 6th round, but he was released a little less than a year later, due to non-baseball related items. Biggest waste of talent imaginable. That's why it's not always about talent. You've got to have a head that goes with it. If you put a driven kid's head on Chris Smith, the guy goes to the Hall of Fame.

    -JJA
    The outcome of our children is infinitely more important than the outcome of any game they will ever play

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    • #17
      Umpiring little league games during high school the best 2 kids I ever saw played baseball on the same little league team. I almost immediately saw something completely different just watching them warm up couldnt really quantify it, i guess its what the kids today call "swag" from the way they threw the ball back and forth to each other during pregame to the way they addressed the plate when they came to bat. One was a left handed pitcher the other a switch hitting catcher who could crush the ball. I followed those 2 from 1st year kid pitch ball all the way to high school. they both were all city as freshman. After that the catcher fell into drugs after his mother passed and never played again. The other went to be drafted by the phillies but never got higher than aaa ball. I always wonder what might have been with that kid. I've been back and coaching little league now for 6 years with my own kids and still haven't seen anything like those 2 kids

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      • #18
        I should mention that I'm a prep sportswriter in Central Florida. I see a lot of talented athletes, but most of them are high-schoolers. I haven't seen many kids younger than 15. But I'm sure that will change as we play the travel ball circuit around here.

        The most impressive high school pitcher I've seen was a kid named Jake Brigham. He was from a small school north of Orlando. I just checked on him, and he's playing at AA in the Rangers system. In fact, he had eight strikeouts last night. It looks like control issues are holding him back. I saw him as a senior, and his fastballs had zip. Michael Main, a first round pick in 2007, had a nice fastball, too. I covered several of his games, and there was always a flock of scouts with radar guns camped out behind home plate. But Michael didn't pitch his junior year due to an arm injury. That seemed like a sign. But the Rangers drafted him as a pitcher after he had a strong senior year. He started out well in the minors but had a series of injuries, including more arm trouble. I believe a team signed him last month as an outfielder, and that's probably where he belonged from the start.

        I saw Chris Johnson and Chris Sale when they were in college. Johnson is a great kid. I'm happy to see him succeed. He should continue to improve.

        I'm probably overlooking a ton of guys. I recall Marcus Lemon. That's Chet's son. He was supposed to be a great middle infielder, but I don't think he made it far. I saw Jonathan Sandfort from Winter Springs when he was a sophomore. He was a third-round pick last month. It would be interesting to go back and look. I'm sure there are some guys who made it big and many, many guys who didn't.

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        • #19
          Marlins signed Main... Playing in Jupiter.

          Lemon: http://www.mlive.com/tigers/index.ss...arcus_lem.html
          I don't like my balls to smell like pickles.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by HeinekenMan View Post
            I should mention that I'm a prep sportswriter in Central Florida. I see a lot of talented athletes, but most of them are high-schoolers. I haven't seen many kids younger than 15. But I'm sure that will change as we play the travel ball circuit around here.

            The most impressive high school pitcher I've seen was a kid named Jake Brigham. He was from a small school north of Orlando. I just checked on him, and he's playing at AA in the Rangers system. In fact, he had eight strikeouts last night. It looks like control issues are holding him back. I saw him as a senior, and his fastballs had zip. Michael Main, a first round pick in 2007, had a nice fastball, too. I covered several of his games, and there was always a flock of scouts with radar guns camped out behind home plate. But Michael didn't pitch his junior year due to an arm injury. That seemed like a sign. But the Rangers drafted him as a pitcher after he had a strong senior year. He started out well in the minors but had a series of injuries, including more arm trouble. I believe a team signed him last month as an outfielder, and that's probably where he belonged from the start.

            I saw Chris Johnson and Chris Sale when they were in college. Johnson is a great kid. I'm happy to see him succeed. He should continue to improve.

            I'm probably overlooking a ton of guys. I recall Marcus Lemon. That's Chet's son. He was supposed to be a great middle infielder, but I don't think he made it far. I saw Jonathan Sandfort from Winter Springs when he was a sophomore. He was a third-round pick last month. It would be interesting to go back and look. I'm sure there are some guys who made it big and many, many guys who didn't.
            How many have you seen make the show relative to the number you have seen play?
            "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
            - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
            Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by tg643 View Post
              I never went overboard on youth phenoms. My first thoughts have always been can they maintain it on the 60/90 field at the next level. I never wondered if a LL'er would be all-state. One of my friends led his LL in homers. I think he hit fifteen in the first ten games before teams stopped pitching to him. He was all-state in high school, all-american in college, a high draft choice and AAA player of the year. He broke his ankle stepping in a pothole getting out of his car at the Columbus airport on his way to reporting to the Yankees. The next year his agent told him if the Yankees deal for Rod Carew happened he would be starting in left for the Twins the following night. The Yankees wouldn't give him up. The next year he was hit on the wrist, it broke and he never recovered his swing. He never played a day in the majors.

              The kids I saw hitting the 250 foot homers in LL were flying out when they got to the 60/90 field. The kids who hit fence scraping, line drive homers in LL went on to become high school players. The kid from a neighboring LL who threw 78 down the pipe in LL, got hammered in high school JV ball throwing 80 down the pipe. This kid also hit homers off the rooftops across the street in LL. He swing like a rusty gate. By 14U he couldn't make contact.

              My son may have been a LL phenom. I never gave it a thought. I only thought about learning the game and playing it properly. When he was twelve in LL he hit in the high .700's, Almost every hit went to or over the fence. He hit over .700 in all-stars over twelve games. Plus he was very fast. Early bloomer? He was 5'. He weighted 90 pounds (sweated off 10) by the time he finished catching all-stars in August. Due to an injury senior year my son was a guaranteed walk on (no scholarship) at a Big Ten school. A kid from a rival LL all-star team hit a homer off our pitcher in all-stars that hit the centerfield scoreboard on the next field. From LL to the LLWS the kid hit 36 homers. He walked on at a Big East school.

              A kid who hit seventh for my 13U team started in the SEC as a freshman. He was a better than average LL all-star. I don't know how many times I consoled him striking out isn't the end of the world. By his soph year of high school, when he walked on the field at Perfect Game events the coaches and scouts started drolling. He looked like a ball player at 6'4", 215.
              Agree with this 100%. The early bloomers tend to not bloom anymore once they hit high school. The guys who are 5', 75 lbs at age 12 can develop into pretty darn good ballplayers as they age.

              I'll share a story as well. I know a guy who was 6' by the time he got into 9th grade. The kid could throw harder, hit the ball further, and basically do everything better than the entire JV team. I played with this guy on the JV team. We'd get into the cage and he'd hit the ball really, really hard. But we'd get into games, and the guy couldn't hit the ball to save his life. Then we went to BBCOR, and the guy got even worse. At the time, I was about 5'3", 115 lbs. He's about 6', 190 lbs.

              So we played like this, with him hitting the ball like Thome when he connected. But that's a big "when". Now I'm roughly 5'10", 135 lbs. He's still about 6'1", 190 lbs. And without that aluminum rocket launcher, we're about even. Wood and BBCOR are great equalizers.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by tg643 View Post
                There's 22 times as much college academic money as athletic money.
                Every parent who thinks Johnny is going to win a scholarship to play a sport should read this over and over again.

                Post of the year, IMO.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by pstein View Post
                  Agree with this 100%. The early bloomers tend to not bloom anymore once they hit high school. The guys who are 5', 75 lbs at age 12 can develop into pretty darn good ballplayers as they age.

                  I'll share a story as well. I know a guy who was 6' by the time he got into 9th grade. The kid could throw harder, hit the ball further, and basically do everything better than the entire JV team. I played with this guy on the JV team. We'd get into the cage and he'd hit the ball really, really hard. But we'd get into games, and the guy couldn't hit the ball to save his life. Then we went to BBCOR, and the guy got even worse. At the time, I was about 5'3", 115 lbs. He's about 6', 190 lbs.

                  So we played like this, with him hitting the ball like Thome when he connected. But that's a big "when". Now I'm roughly 5'10", 135 lbs. He's still about 6'1", 190 lbs. And without that aluminum rocket launcher, we're about even. Wood and BBCOR are great equalizers.
                  Wood seldom hurts the "phenoms."
                  "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
                  - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
                  Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Jake Patterson View Post
                    How many have you seen make the show relative to the number you have seen play?
                    Between prep guys and college guys, I've seen about 10-12 guys make it to the bigs. That's about 1/10 of 1 percent. I imagine about 1 percent have made it to the minors. Nearly all of those have been Florida kids. When I worked in Central Illinois, I only saw one kid make it even to the minors. it seems like getting to the minors is what it's all about. Making it beyond the minors depends on a lot of variables. You have to stay healthy, of course. You also have to be fortunate in playing for an organization that lacks depth at your position. Sometimes, dumb luck is the difference between a mediocre reliever who gets on the big club and a mediocre reliever who never gets past AA.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by pstein View Post
                      Every parent who thinks Johnny is going to win a scholarship to play a sport should read this over and over again.

                      Post of the year, IMO.
                      There are some parents who don't put a focus on academics. My wife is tutoring a 6-foot-2 girl who flunked English but is a basketball star. And her parents both work as high school teachers. So there might be some priorities out of whack there. But most of the baseball parents I've met stress academics for athletes.

                      But it's certainly true that most parents who expect their children to earn sports scholarships are unaware that the majority of them don't pay for everything. There are so many partials out there these days.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        No youth phenom here. Just 8-year-old Adrian Bundy of the 9U/10U Carolina Kudzu who loves the game of baseball and is enjoying his journey in the game as long as it lasts, wherever it ends.

                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OIm8eGufQI

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by pstein View Post
                          Every parent who thinks Johnny is going to win a scholarship to play a sport should read this over and over again.

                          Post of the year, IMO.
                          I'd be willing to bet that they have.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by DerekD View Post
                            I'd be willing to bet that they have.
                            Agreed.

                            IMO, most talking about scholarships probably have a kid that stands out in their area. Many local colleges are made up of local players.

                            JuCo, D2, etc all have scholarships. D3 schools can have ceratin awards or grants that can be given to athletes.

                            Good friend of the family wonders how her oldest son (very smart) only got partial scholarships, parent loans, student loans, and worked through college, while her middle son (not that good of a student) never paid a penny through JuCo and D2 because he could throw a baseball really well.

                            Not every scholarship discussion is limited to Stanford or Florida State. If my son can get 4 years of college paid for, I'm all for it. Doesn't have to be a Big 10 or SEC school. Anything to avoid student loans.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Jake Patterson View Post
                              Wood seldom hurts the "phenoms."
                              Not to mention the sound of wood is so baseball. :gt

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Jake Patterson View Post
                                Wood seldom hurts the "phenoms."
                                Only the percieved "phenoms" get hurt by wood.

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