Jason Churchill's site would be 2 Legit 2 Quit if it had nothing other than Jason's interviews with minor-league experts. I'm not talking about unsourced comments so much, but when guys like Pedro Grifol give him material that can be attributed... well, the site's worth a visit for that alone.
In this excellent PI article, Pedro Grifol publishes his own evaluation, as it were, of one Stefen Romero. Dr. D, who is Pedro Grifol's biggest fan outside the Safeco shot-calling offices, will kibitz. Says Grifol:
"[Romero] has extremely strong and quick hands, tremendous hand-eye, with torque, power and leverage. He has the knack of finding the leather ball with the fat part of the bat and hitting balls hard."
You can imagine how pleased Dr. D was to run across this comment, having triangulated the material laid out in the first five sections of this report. For Pedro Grifol to zero in on the quickness and strength of Romero's hands, well, at the time it kinda felt like getting an essay back with a big grade.
... as we mentioned before, though, we've got to take the other side as it pertains to leverage. Personally I think that Romero is ripping it up without leverage, so far, and who KNOWS what he'll do once he stays back on the ball. Edgar -- another wrists and hands guy -- broke through precisely when he learned to sit back over his right haunch as he let his wrists loose to rain bloody death on the American League.
"The knack of finding the ball with the fat part of the bat" - I wouldn't know, not sitting on the bench watching him every day. But it's consistent with the idea that he's got great wrists, that he relaxes into his bat launch, that he can fine-tune the bat barrel with the wrists. And of course the stats bear it out, especially in BABIP.
"He has great confidence," Grifol added. "He's a leader, he has presence ... a lack of fear. He has an ability to not allow and 0-for-4 effect his next at-bat or the next day. He separates so well. Unbelievable makeup. The scouting department has done a tremendous job finding players like this."
A pro scout who's seen Romero in the California League this season concurs: "Yeah, he's got something there that not all players have. You have to pay attention to see it, but it's often the reason some guys make it and some don't, even though they have all these great tools at their disposal."
This, we deduced from Romero's relaxed aggressiveness at the plate. It sounds funny, but aiki sensei divide students into six or eight vertical tiers based on subtle nuances in their relaxation. Romero is one in a thousand with respect to this factor.
It's nice to hear that Romero can fail one day, and go out and impose his will the next day. How does he do it? Bobby Fischer said, "Psychologically, you must be confident in yourself, and this confidence must be based on fact." Some guys know they can do it. ... you know that you can type. Romero knows that he can cover a pitch.
He doesn't chase much -- "he has good knowledge of the strike zone," Grifol said -- which indicates Romero is simply aggressive early in counts.
At this stage, however, that doesn't matter, as the Mariners just need hitters. "That's for Jack (Zduriencik) and Eric Wedge to figure out," Grifol quipped. "They'll find the right place for him. All I know is this kid is a good hitter -- no, great, I'll even say great."
And, as we all know, Romero has jumped up a league and "miraculously" started seeing some BB's. Seems like we'll always be haunted by the mystery of EYE ratios and career arcs. Kyle Seager's, as in.
A GREAT hitter? Huh.
Notice that Grifol is, unconsciously, speaking in terms of WHEN Romero is starting for the Mariners, rather than if. ... Dr D cannot /cosign on Romero's future in the bigs. But who would you rather hear this from - me, or Pedro Grifol?