Scouting Notebook: Week 3

With so much attention given to breaking down prospects piece by piece, looking at their strengths and weaknesses with great detail, we present Scouting Notebook here at Using the valuable input of professional scouts, we take an advanced look at 2007 draft prospects Matt Rizzotti and Warren McFadden.

The grading system for the traditional scouting reports used in this article can be simply explained. Scouts use a 2-8 (20-80) grading scale, 8 being the highest possible grade for a tool. An 8 tool is reserved for an elite tool such as Barry Bonds' power. A score of 5 for a skill is considered to be Major League average. You will notice two grades: Present/Future. That represents the grade of a player's current tool and the grade the player is projected to have in the future. Adjustments to the players' "Overall Future Potential" can be made to accurately depict the grade deserved for the player's potential upside.

Matt Rizzotti - 1B, Manhattan College (Jr.)

Draft Class: 2007
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Position: First Base
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 235

Present/Future Scouting Grades

Hitting - 4/5
Power - 6/7
Speed - 4/4
Arm - 4/4
Fielding - 5/5
Overall Future Potential - 50
Adjusted Overall Future Potential - 58

Physical Description: Few players are as physically imposing as Matt Rizzotti at any level. At 6-foot-4 and 235-pounds, he is muscle-bound and as strong as an ox. He has thick, muscular legs and broad shoulders. His legs are extra long and make up much of his height. Physically, he resembles major league all-star, Jim Thome. Rizzotti also is not totally physically mature and looks like he could become even bigger.

Mechanical Distinctives: He has a firm, solid base in the box and hangs his upper body out over the plate, showing no fear whatsoever. There is very little movement in his stance, and he creates the majority of his torque from his back leg. He leans on his back leg heavily and produces extraordinary lift in his swing. His swing has some length to it and he is forced to start his swing earlier which hurts his outer-half plate coverage. There is very little effort in his upper body during his swing and he gets excellent extension through the ball.

Abilities: Power is the name of the game for Rizzotti. He already has plus raw power, and could have plus raw power down the road if he can shorten up his swing and recognize the breaking ball quicker. At this point in his career, he is looking to pull the ball too much but shows raw power to the gaps, which could be a weapon if he commits himself to using the whole field. His fielding has come a long way and he is a diligent worker. His range and foot speed will likely be below average due to his size but his average arm and soft hands should make him a solid defender at first base.

Summation: He figures to be a big time power hitter at the next level but will likely strike out quite a bit. With the ability to drive the ball out of the park at any time, he'll be a factor and should be a starting player on a decent team at the big league level. He lacks speed but profiles as a slugging first baseman.

Warren McFadden - OF, Tulane University (RS So.)

Draft Class: 2007
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Position: Outfield
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 200

Present/Future Scouting Grades

Hitting - 4/6
Power - 6/7
Speed - 5/4
Arm - 5/5
Fielding - 3/4
Overall Future Potential - 52
Adjusted Overall Future Potential - 60

Physical Description: A thick, strongly built, stocky outfielder, McFadden is built similar to Tigers' outfielder Gary Sheffield. His lower half is slightly out of proportion with his top half, as he has very muscular legs but has a lot of room to grow on his upper half. He is likely to do some more growing considering he is not totally physically mature, but he is already one of the strongest players out there.

Mechanical Distinctives: McFadden bats out of a wide, slightly open stance and he appears very comfortable while in the batter's box. He holds his hands just above his shoulder and very loosely. Everything in his pre-pitch approach exudes confidence and comfort at the plate. His swing requires very little effort because of how well he fires his hands quickly through the zone, but he sometimes lacks balance at the plate and most of his problems start with his lower half. His front side tends to fly open on outside pitches and he ends up way out in front on a large percentage of pitches.

Abilities: All the tools are in place for Warren McFadden to be a lethal power hitter and excellent all-around hitter, but he may never be much of a defensive player. His thick lower half suggests he may get very heavy-legged in the future, cutting down on his range and overall speed as he matures physically. He lacks pure instincts in right field and needs to work on his jumps and routes. His average to slightly above average arm should keep him in right field. His swing and approach are rough around the edges but professional coaching should be able to work most of them out. McFadden loves to work and is always one of the first players at the field. And, despite his flaws, McFadden's game translates well to the professional game. His power is produced by the strength in his hands and wrists.

Summation: He has some issues to work out in his game, but McFadden has the right toolset to be a starting right-fielder at the big league level. His power should remain above average, and experience and coaching should continue to polish up the rawer parts of his game.

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