Taylor Guerrieri and the Uses of Personal Observation
I wanted to point out a pair of interesting and informative articles regarding Tampa Bay Rays pitching prospect Taylor Guerrieri that have made the rounds in recent days. First, J.D. Sussman's June 27th piece at Bullpen Banter is a must-read, including detailed information about Guerrieri's arsenal. Second, read Mark Newman's July 13th follow-up at Fangraphs
Guerrieri wasn't as impressive in the game that Newman saw, and the report reflects this.
I like Newman's final point:
One of the downsides to first-hand prospect writing is readers tend to think a report on a player is more declarative statement than simply the product of capturing and sharing thoughts on a prospect in the moment. Scouting directors will take a handful of those moments and weave them together to build a mean projection. Prospect readers would benefit greatly from doing the same. With two reports on Guerrieri within the past couple of weeks, it's the perfect opportunity to hone those skills.
This gets back to something I've mentioned in a few different places lately: don't just rely on a single source when evaluating a player. Look at a player from both subjective (scouting reports, from multiple sources when possible) and objective (statistical) angles. Statistics can be misleading, but scouting reports can be as well.
As Newman points out, evaluators have to weave all the information together when coming to a conclusion and projection. It's what the professionals do, it is what outside analysts and writers do, and what prospect fans need to do, too.