Why I Like Curtis Granderson
I like Curtis Granderson for much the same reason I like Brandon Wood: he boosts my ego.
Granderson was an outfielder at the University of Illinois-Chicago. I saw him play college ball and was impressed. He had a smooth swing, good command of the strike zone, and to me at least he looked like he had good tools, decent speed that helped him on the outfield and on the bases. The only tool that didn't look at least average to me was his throwing arm.
Granderson hit .483 with nine homers and 17 steals for Illinois-Chicago in '02, ranking second to Rickie Weeks in the NCAA Division I batting hunt. So we had a guy with an excellent performance track record and good physical tools. I picked him in the second round of my Twins Shadow Draft. In real life, he went to the Tigers in the third round.
He lasted until the third round because scouts didn't like his tools. The word was that his speed and athleticism were mediocre, and that he wouldn't hit for much power with wood. But that's not what I saw in him. I saw a player with solid tools, a good measure of refinement, and a fine track record. He also had a good work ethic and was intelligent.
Now, I've been watching baseball games for 30 years, but I've never had formal scout training. So I wasn't sure that I was right about Granderson. I've been wrong about personal "toolsy" calls in the past, so I like Granderson because (so far at least) he's confirmed my original judgment of him. The funny thing is, as Granderson has played well up the ladder, more and more scouts talk about how he has pretty decent tools after all.