Scouts had some unique takes on baseball's stars

Updated: May 17, 2007, 10:58 AM ET
By Gene Wojciechowski | ESPN.com

What's that auction house offering for Barry Bonds' 756th career home run ball? An Austin Powers-like "one meeeellion dollars?" Big whoop.

Scout
AP Photo/Charlie RiedelThe radar gun helps. But the impressions formed early don't always hold up.

I'm prepared to match that dollar figure, arrange for Karl Ravech of "Baseball Tonight" to narrate your company softball league video and commission an "Outside the Lines" report on Orel Hershiser's hairstyle IF you record a perfect score on the following quiz.* All you have to do is match the then-high school or college player with the actual free-agent reports filed years ago by scouts for one major league team.

The players: Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, Mark McGwire, Derek Jeter, Randy Johnson, Frank Thomas, Ken Griffey Jr., Manny Ramirez, Roger Clemens and Bonds. (A player's name can be used more than once.) No. 2 pencils sharpened and ready? Please begin.

Options? We've got options!
SportsNationWait! This column comes with a fork in the road. Either continue on and read it below (with the answers at the bottom of the column), or click at the link below to take the quiz interactively and see how you measure up against the rest of SportsNation. Take the quiz!

1. "Is not yet 17 years old and has body of 22-year-old. Has more overall ability than any player I've ever scouted or ever seen. Has a chance to be a superstar ... Could hit .300 and 30 HRs-plus for many years. Is a 16-year-old kid with a 22-year-old body and 12-year-old mind at times. Needs to show willingness to work and dedicate himself to the game."

2. "Player goes by middle name ... High school players do not want to pitch to him ... Far ahead of most Midwesterners baseball-wise. Chance to get heavy with body. Will have to play third base, first base in future. Bat potential gives player chance."

To consider:
Rodriguez
Rodriguez

Pujols
Pujols

McGwire
McGwire

Jeter
Jeter

Johnson
Johnson

Thomas
Thomas

Griffey Jr.
Griffey Jr.

Ramirez
Ramirez

Clemens
Clemens

Bonds
Bonds

3. "Tall, slender, has reached physical maturity ... He doesn't work much at improving anything and gets by on the ability he possesses in his physical body."

4. "Live bat if I ever saw one. Can drive the ball. Can also throw, run, field average when he wants to ... He can do about what he wants when the spirit moves him ... Not an easy sign[ing], and a potential pain. Undisciplined on and off the field, but so talented he can play winning ball and should mature eventually. Not a bad kid, just spoiled."

5. "Does not pitch inside with intent for me. Curve will hang. Did not see fastball changes, but did so off curve. Cannot consider for Round One."

6. "Looks lackadaisical at times, but don't let it fool you -- he can play! I don't feel he realizes his baseball potential. He works hard. Only player between games taking ground balls. A good one!"

7. "Tremendous size and strength makes him a very intimidating hitter ... as much power potential as any free agent I've ever scouted. Fielding ability will be in the low average range."

8. "Solid frame. Has gotten rid of the putty fat he had in recent years and maybe could stand a little more muscle in the shoulder area, as he looks thin here compared to rest of his body. He seemed to think he strengthen [sic] some here, but he looks strong enough to me right now ... His parting remark was, "You are getting an infielder, as well as a pitcher."

9. "Has all the tools to be future major league superstar. One of the best I have seen. Carries himself very well considering all the attention he is getting."

10. "Struck out four times in the two games I saw him play and did not drive the ball. (I also saw Ted Williams look bad in a couple of ballgames, but difference is saw him over a two-year span.) Might be a little overconfident, but I'm not certain that is a weakness ... Might weigh 220 in the future. All muscle now."

11. "A super-nice kid. Homebody type. Very smart, wants to study medicine. Loves a challenge. Wants to be up in tough situations. Plays with fun. Teammates love him."

12. "I just can't project this delivery and arm action to the big league level. May be prone to arm trouble and I question his ability to handle stressful situations on the mound ... No prospect."

13. "Put back on list ... Took him off last report, but would like to add him back on. He does have arm strength. Will show you 89-90 fastball with regularity."

14. "This boy may be best free-agent hitter I've seen. Compact swing, super bat speed, drives every ball."

15. "Hit tremendously long home run on this date. Also hit two balls to right field that would have went through wall."

16. "This player will be complete. Like not only physical tools, but the way he plays the game. This guy is a ballplayer. Ball jumps off bat. Has speed. Can throw and field. Nothing not to like."

17. "Has a chance to become a complete player (except arm strength) ... His attitude and approach to the game is a natural concern and has to be looked into. But his ability and potential should not be overlooked."

18. "Was temporarily thrown off ballclub for sulking. Has demonstrated a tremendous lack of desire. Is obviously only interested in how he's doing. Is no longer a prospect in my book. He'd be more trouble than he's worth."

19. "Has enough raw talent to be interesting prospect. He's still maturing also."

20. "If he was there [at our] pick in first round it would be a miracle."

21. "Forget about him. He will be gone."

22. "I am convinced (after six games) that [he] is not a good hitter (bat not quick)."

23. "This young man is making me change my mind on his hitting ability."

24. "Has a big league body and arrogance right now ... Bat is so quick he had trouble hitting ball fair."

25. "Does not have feet to become catcher. Has a zest for the game. Bat will carry ... Toilet stance with straight front leg. Hands high, bat wrapped."

26. "Physical tools and ability to work with. Needs to make some adjustments at plate. Take a chance with because of power."

27. "If you thought Barry Bonds was interesting, wait until you see this kid. Took four pitches (intentional walk) with bat tucked under arms and arms folded across chest. Sat down on second [base] twice. A bit of a canine, but I'D TAKE HIM IN A SECOND."

28. "Cat-like in outfield."

29. "Lean build ... Seems born to play this game ... Off-the-field habits have been a problem. Does not practice a lot nor does he hustle on the field."

30. "Will probably end up at first base."

31. "Has a good arm, but I don't care for his delivery ... To his credit, he does get a lot out of it."

32. "Ideal size for pitcher when body firms up. Potential two average major league pitches. Mechanics indicate development likely."

33. "Has the potential to hit a lot of home runs."

34. "Really progressed and matured as a person. Much more socially poised and accepted ... I enjoyed my visit with him."

35. "I feel there is good talent here to work with. A few minor adjustments should produce a good major league pitcher."

OK, pencils down. All those with perfect scores, please e-mail your addresses so I can send you your million-dollar checks.

*= Can't cash check until Greg Anderson speaks. Must drive to Bristol, Conn., to speak personally with Ravech and OTL host Bob Ley.

The answers
1. Junior; 2. Pujols (Jose is his first name); 3. Bonds; 4. Bonds; 5. Clemens; 6. Ramirez; 7. Thomas; 8. McGwire; 9. A-Rod; 10. A-Rod; 11. Jeter; 12. Johnson; 13. Johnson; 14. Ramirez; 15. Junior; 16. Jeter; 17. Bonds; 18. Bonds; 19. Clemens; 20. A-Rod; 21. A-Rod; 22. McGwire; 23. McGwire; 24. Junior; 25. Pujols; 26. Thomas; 27. Junior; 28. Ramirez; 29. Bonds; 30. Bonds; 31. Johnson; 32. McGwire; 33. McGwire; 34. Bonds; 35. Clemens.

Gene Wojciechowski is the senior national columnist for ESPN.com. You can contact him at gene.wojciechowski@espn3.com.

Gene Wojciechowski | email

Columnist / College Football reporter

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