Scouting baseball's next superstar: The adorable toddler playing behind Starling Marte
Baseball scouts are a hearty lot -- traversing the states in their '97 Toyotas with 300,000 miles on them in hopes of finding the next great Major League player on some high school field.
Too bad all they had to do was look in the background of interviews.
While Starling Marte was busy talking about his thoughts on the upcoming season, he was upstaged by the future superstar who was working out in the background.
With an eye on the future, we at Cut4 have decided to scout this young man, using the traditional scouting metrics of 20-80.
Hit Tool: 20 (Current)/70 (Future)
This swing is smooth, natural, and has the wrist-speed equivalent of a 5-year-old Gary Sheffield. He will need to watch that uppercut in future years or pitchers will be able to exploit him with hard fastballs up and in. His swing path is also a little long and he'll want to keep his bat head in the zone longer to avoid racking up strikeouts. If he grows into his power, though, any team would welcome the tradeoff.
This young man is already displaying plenty of swagger, tossing his imaginary bat and pointing to his deep drive. It's confidence that is both good to see in a player so young, but could ruffle some feathers in the clubhouse in future years.
Already blessed with soft hands, he needs to work on his first step as the ball has already stopped moving by the time he reaches it. While that should improve with increased reps at the position, it does indicate that he'll need to be moved off of short in future years in deference to players with more range. His ability to smoothly field anything hit at him makes him a good bet to become a power-hitting third or second baseman.
With his powerful swing and this arm, some have the youngster ticketed for right field. One anonymous source compared his arm to an "incredibly young Vladimir Guerrero," though with the lollipop-like arc to his tosses, he may eventually draw more comparisons to Roberto Clemente. His mechanics are a bit rough, and he loads with a lot of weight on his back foot. He'll want some professional instruction to fix that before it becomes too hard of a habit to break.
Should his contact issues become too big of a problem, some think he could take to the mound -- provided of course he fixes his mechanical hitch.
While other kids may be playing with action figures or begging their parents to buy them ice cream, this one is out on the field looking to get his reps in. Use any folksy term you like: Gamer, scrapper, dirt dog -- this kid is it and you can guarantee he'll make the most of his natural abilities.
With proper instruction and continued practice, this player has future Major League star written all over him. Some scouts think he could contribute to a Major League team in five years time, though child labor laws will keep him off of rosters until his 18th birthday.