PG: Do we owe too much now, when you go on the pitching f/x and all the stuff, the data that's online, and you've got the supposed velocity of every pitch, of pitcher in the major leagues available to you at 6 o'clock in the morning?
JF: I think the one thing that they have yet to track or graph is deception in the delivery — and that is where it really starts and ends for a pitcher. Does he have a different look to the hitter when he's on the mound throwing the pitch? Does the hitter not pick it up 'til it's already out of his hand, or can he track it early? 'Cause you see guys that throw in mid-upper 90s — Daniel Bard has to locate at a hundred. Because he's got a delivery that is very smooth and the arm is long and it's trackable. Versus David Riske, just as a name, really a deceptive delivery that you couldn't see the ball 'til it was already out of his hand, and at 88 miles an hour he was throwing all these pitches by guys. So deception is probably one of the more important things — it goes right along with change in speeds and disrupting hitters' timings.
PG: I remember back here in '86, people talking about Good and Darling and all — The one guy nobody could see and nobody could hit was Sid Fernandez. Who actually threw about 86 miles an hour, but it went down-up and nobody could see the ball.
CS: And that's another thing too, when you talk about money ball and when that first became mass market, and you had Billy and Theo and the younger crowd of guys understanding where you got value out of players, it was position players in the five tools, those magic five tools. The tool they never scouted for was, was the guy a baseball player? Because that's a tool that some guys — Kevin Youkilis had it. I mean, there was no tool where you would look at and say, 'he's fast,' or he didn't do anything spectacular, but he was a spectacular baseball player. And they did that with position players, and I saw it here a couple times. You go to spring training and you see a pitcher in spring training who I would look at and go, 'Really? I mean, is there a camera, this is a game show or something?' [crowd laughs] And the guy would go out and get three outs. And that walk-to-hits, innings-pitched statistic, which is crucial, which really defines a pitcher in the big leagues — there's ways to track that before a guy becomes a professional pitcher, that doesn't have anything to do with the radar gun. And it gets back to what he just said — the deception. Javier López, Mike Myers, as you know, very unconventional left-handers. But there are right-handers that do it too. And being able to find that in a 17, 18-year-old kid is as rare a talent as being able to find that hidden gem that doesn't have one of those five tools.
PG: Phil, when you're out scouting players either from other organizations, amateur, or even guys low in the minor leagues, what do you look at? Do you kind of prioritize what you're looking for?