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History of the term "LOOGY"

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Aaron Fultz
Aaron Fultz
Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images

My friend Rob Neyer is writing an article about baseball terms (I'll link to it when he posts it) and he asked me about how I invented the term LOOGY. I dug through my old books and files to review the details. Here's how it happened.

History of the term LOOGY

In the fall of 1998, I was working on the 1999 edition of the STATS Minor League Scouting Notebook, the predecessor to the current series of Baseball Prospect Books I have been writing since 2003. The old scouting notebooks included a section devoted to one-line scouting reports on marginal prospects who didn't merit full reports given our space limitations, but who had a chance to sneak into the majors and needed to be mentioned.

While writing these reports one afternoon, I noticed that many of these marginal prospects were quite similar. Looking for a way to save space and add some tongue-in-cheek humor, I came up with a couple of acronyms to describe certain classes of pitchers: HGSBDKHTP (Has-Good-Stuff-But-Doesn't-Know-How-To-Pitch) and LOOGY (Lefty-One-Out-Guy).

The first HGSBDKHTP was a hard-throwing, poor-command pitcher named Corey Avrard in the Cardinals system who never reached the majors. The first pitcher denoted as a LOOGY was Robert Dodd in the Phillies system, at the time a 26-year-old Triple-A reliever. Other LOOGYs in that book were Radhames Dykhoff of the Orioles, Sean Fesh of the Phillies, and Aaron Fultz of the Giants.

Fultz ended up having a fair run as a major league relief pitcher including some moments in the LOOGY role. Dodd and Dykhoff reached the majors for extremely brief trials. Fesh topped out in Triple-A.

HGSBDKHTP was too awkward to catch on, but LOOGY was easy to remember and use. By 2000 I was using it in my ESPN.com columns and the acronym gradually spread through the broader baseball world.