We can call Day 1 a success from an “I got an Idea” as to what scouts look for in a prospect. (Drafted prospects can catch and throw the ball, hit and hit with power, and run faster or better than the rest of the players on the field.) I was able to locate the player Robby was there to see, but that all I was able to do or asked to do. We made plans to meet Saturday at another High School, in Redlands this time. I was told there were possible players from both teams that could get drafted. I arrived early as I have serious problems with being late to anything, even if I have driven to a location several times I still fear (False Evidence Appearing Real) getting lost. Both teams had arrived and were stretching and just starting to begin pre-game activities. I found Robby and he explained to me the scout grading system for throwing. I was told to watch all the players’ throws during pre-game and determine a current grade for the player’s arm strength. Robby told me the scale is from 20-80. A 40 arm is below average, 45 is slightly below average and 50 is a Major League Arm. A grade above 50 is plus arm strength and I determined by our conversation that it would not be impossible, but got the idea it was not going to be the norm for a player to get a grade higher than 50 as a current grade. We watched pre-game together and I graded the players’ arms saying my grades out loud so Robby was able to gage where I was in my opinion of every player’s arm. Overall I stayed in the ballpark, rarely did both Robby and I have the exact same grade on the better arms, but we shared a like grade for the non-prospect players with below arm grades. The position player he was there to see, I located as the right fielder. Robby told me that with any luck we would also see this player pitch and catch today also. The head coach for the high school team was involved with the Anaheim Angels and the Angels were coming in to see this player so it would be a great opportunity to see him play multiple positions.
Robby had also asked that I bring a stopwatch to the game. This would be my second lesson of the day as to how to grade hitter’s run times from home to first, base runner steal times from first to second base and catcher throws to second base (pop times). This was a tricky one for me. Robby told me to start the watch when the ball reaches the home plate and stop the watch when a player touches first base for hitters, start watch on first movement on steals and start and stop the watch when I hear the pop of the catcher’s glove and that of the second baseman or shortstop on steals or throw downs between innings. So I practiced the start/ stop/ reset and repeated all day. This took me sometime and took much longer to get good at. After each runner reached first base safely or was put out at first, catcher’s pop times between innings and a few players stealing second base, we would compare watch times. I was often a little quick on the button pushing or had forgotten to reset the watch, but with practice I did pretty well by the end of the day.
At the end of the day we talked about what I thought about scouting and Robby gave a lot of constructive criticism. I was very excited about the past 48 hours of getting to hang out and learn from my friend. Robby then asked if scouting was something I was interested in doing on a more regular basis? I told him “Yes, very much.” Robby then offered me my first opportunity in Professional baseball and I signed a non-salaried commission based scouting contract. On April 5, 2003 I became a member of the Florida Marlins Baseball Organization.