PerfectGame Speaks Out
PG Blowing Off Some Steam!
By PG Staff
First of all let me qualify that some of this doesn’t necessarily pertain to only Perfect Game.
Nearly every day we hear from parents all over the country. Whenever the rankings are updated we get inundated with calls and emails from less than happy parents. We field many questions about the value of showcases, rankings, tournaments, etc. Often we get contacted about new information regarding players who we have never seen.
Following are a few examples and thoughts from our side of the fence.
We recently received an email from a parent making a case for their son. “Why is he ranked so low? Here is some added information that you guys should know about. This past spring (our son) pitched against so and so. He pitched all 7 innings, gave up 3 hits, 1 walk and struck out 9. This was against one of the top teams in our area and I see there is a player on that team that you have ranked higher than my son! My son struck him out and didn’t give up a hit to him. You guys need to do a better job.”
Our side of things: On any given day in America there are thousands of kids who pitched a great game. There are even more kids who played a great game. I can’t even imagine how many times a pitcher gets a good hitter out. These things mean much more to the kids parent than they mean to the rest of the baseball world.
Here’s another thing we hear quite often…
“My son does not need to go to showcases or high level tournaments because everyone already knows how good he is. The best players do not need to go to showcase events or these big tournaments.”
Our side of things: Guess it’s true that some players are so well known and scouted that they don’t need to do anything. However, the fact is that nearly every high draft pick and a very large number of those who are Major League players did in fact go to the showcase events and the most scouted tournaments. David Wright, Prince Fielder, Alex Rodriguez, Scott Kazmir, the list goes on forever of those who did attend the top showcases and played in the top tournaments.
That said, the question remains… Did they need to do that? We don’t have any way of knowing the answer to that question. We only know that they did and we also know what happened after that. We can say that none of these events helped them, but that just wouldn’t be true. We actually know that attending these events led to answering big questions that every scout might have about a player. How do they perform on a bigger stage against the best competition? Geez, what scout would care about that? How do they act when they’re just another player rather than the local hero? What scout would want to know that? How consistent are they in their actions and performance? Think any scout would care about that? How do they react to failure? Surely scouts don’t need to know that? There is a lot that goes into a player’s evaluation besides the normal tearing up the local high school scene.
Does any of this mean a player who does not showcase or play in high level tournaments will fail? Of course not, but it does say a lot about who is most likely to succeed at the highest levels.
Back to the rankings…
Some say the rankings mean nothing and to a certain extent they might be correct. Because in the very end the rankings don’t really mean much to anyone other than us. However before reaching that very end they are extremely important. We can go on record as saying that if a player is one of the top 200-300 prospects in the country, there is a more than 99% chance we know about him and have him ranked. The past track record proves the above statement correct.
Of course, we are not perfect and have under rated or over rated some players over the years. Here is what is important… If we think a player is one of the top prospects then the entire baseball scouting and recruiting community also will know it. This in itself does not guarantee high draft picks or highest level DI scholarships, but it does guarantee that the ranked player will be followed closely. We rank them and then others determine the players’ value to their organization or program. The reason our rankings are followed so closely is because of an outstanding track record of being extremely accurate. Once again, not perfect, but about as good as it gets.
So in the end, being a low ranked or unranked player doesn’t mean that player will have no options. Being a ranked player just means there are likely to be many more options.
It amazes us how sometimes a parent will make comments like…
“My son being ranked (#500 or you pick the number) is outrageous. He should be at least ranked (#100 or you pick the number). If this wasn’t so serious it would be funny. It’s amazing how sometimes a dad or mom can be more accurate on the rankings than we are. Guess it’s not really important whether they actually see all these players. They don’t even know who all the players are, but they do know their son should be ranked ahead of them. We spend endless hours, days, weeks, years, doing this and someone’s mom has more accurate rankings.
We do understand what causes this phenomena, it might be called “selective” reasoning. You see, we don’t really care about one player more than another. We only think in terms of how players rank, not how my son ranks. There are a lot of players out there. We have hundreds of people trying to find the best ones every year and we still miss a few. It’s odd that there are parents who haven’t missed a one of them and know exactly where their son ranks on the national list.
One last thing, for now…
In June we came out with our player rankings. Just last week we updated and expanded that list. Over 300 new players were added. Well when the new rankings came out we once again started getting the emails. “How can you drop my son that far? He has done very well all summer! What has he done to deserve this?”
Our side of things…
We didn’t stand around doing nothing for the past three months. We have seen some 30,000 players from coast to coast, Canada and Latin America. If your son moved down 50 spots, it might be because 50 of those 30,000 players were placed in front of him in the rankings. Also there are players who move up on the list based on their ability. Ability that was observed since the last rankings. So usually it’s not a case of a player moving down. It’s a case of other players moving up or being discovered.
Here are examples…
Our present #3 ranked player in the 08 class wasn’t ranked very high before June. So the player ranked #200 or lower in June automatically moves to #201 or lower. Our present #10 ranked player was ranked in the 500s before last June. He is a 6’7 pitcher who throws in the mid 90s with a tremendous slider. He could be considered a probable first round pick. So now the player mentioned moving to #201, moves to #202. Player #22 in our new rankings wasn’t even on our list in June, so now #202 moves to #203. We didn’t know back in June that present #65 would throw 93 with a great breaking ball at East Coast Pro, but we do now and so player at #203 goes to #204. Players at #71, #77, #92, #122, #135, #171, #175, #184, #189, are all new to the list, so that moves #204 down to #213. Then there were some 25 players who moved up into the top 200 based on what we saw over the past three months. So now the player (just an example rather than actually that player) that was formerly #200 on the old list is now #238 on the new list.
Did we think any less of his ability? Not at all, we think about the same regarding his ability and that is, he is very talented. He didn’t move down in our opinion, he just changed numbers. And after all that, we might be wrong and he might end up being drafted before a lot of those we have in front of him. In some ways, 200, 300, 400, 500 are all so close to the same in our mind. It’s just someone has to be 200 and someone has to be 500, we just don’t have any personal feelings involved and put them where we think they belong.
There are many other things we could mention, but we will save that for another time. It should be said, that we surely do understand that parents are more interested in just one player than we are. That’s the way it is and that’s the way it should be!
Thanks for reading this, if you actually got this far. Just thought it might give a little perspective to our side of things.