Before they were stars: A's scouting reports

Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

Barry Zito was compared to Bill "Spaceman" Lee, it took a lot of money to sign Mark McGwire because his dad was a dentist, Eric Chavez was only a fair student in high school ... and other insights gleaned from old scouting reports.

Recently, the Baseball Hall of Fame put hundreds of scouting reports on the internet. Among baseball nerds, workplace productivity plummeted.

So I became curious, wanting to see scouting reports for former A's. Here are some selected excerpts, but you can search for yourself here. There aren't really any scouting reports for newer players (read: pretty much the entire A's roster), but it's great for players who came into the majors in the 90s and 2000s, and before.

Barry Zito, Pierce Junior College:

4 pitches — none of which are plusses. No glaring weakness except his stuff is not there. All pitches below average.

For his delivery + size, he should have better stuff. His father is thinking big money. For me he is a A draft, 6-8th round.

Bartolo Colon, High-A Kinston:

Dominant 1 or 2 starter stuff who should move quickly. Solid command of 3 pitches. Very advanced kid for experience, will only improve w/exp. Studies game while charting pitchers from behind backstop. Looks at hitters weaknesses. Type of kid to build staff around.

Miguel Tejada, instructional league:

Avg tools across board with power improving in future. Solid player that can play SS and also play 2B-3B. Good actions in field with arm strength. Will steal a few bases but not a burner.

Eric Chavez, Mt. Carmel HS:

Eric has the skills to be a M.L. asset. He has the potential to hit for an average and will hit some HRs in the future. I believe he is more suited for 3B and could be a Boggs type player. Has signed a letter of intent to U.S.C., but is only a fair student.

Jason Giambi, Cal State Long Beach:

Good looking body, player is getting a lot of ink, looks good in uniform but does nothing ave, does not display ease in playing the game.

Here's a scouting report with remarks about Tony LaRussa, Joe Rudi, Dave Duncan, Reggie Jackson and Rollie Fingers.

Rollie Fingers, Upland High:

First saw player 2 years ago in Legion Ball. Has developed into well built athlete. Pitches and plays outfield. Shows promise at both positions. Strong throwing arm. Runs easily and is fast. Want to see more of him with bat.

Mark McGwire, USC:

Jr. this year at USC. No question (but?) he will be on US Olympic team. Will take large bonus — father is a dentist. New Britain type.

Nick Swisher, Ohio State:

Outstanding bat potential. Did not get a chance to see in OF, but feel he would prob be more comfortable out there. Appears to be a high-strung guy - expecting a lot out of himself and teammates. Feel he would fit as one of our seven.

Vida Blue, De Soto HS:

Has Major League arm & body. Shows velocity quite often despite faulty delivery. Major League prospect.

Adam Piatt, Mississippi State:

Solid player that may be limited by hitch in swing. I have seen him show plenty of power and has other tools to play the game. If he can make that adjustment I believe that he could be a very productive hitter with above average power and a solid but not flashy defensive player.

Shane Komine, Nebraska:

Can't imagine there are too many pitchers with better stuff or with a better chance to pick up a W, especially in a big game. Stuff is several points higher than listed OFP, but lowered because of long-term medical issues. If there is a creative scenario out there that would fit for us - would love to have this guy in our system. Fun to watch - tough to beat. Any pitch at any time.

Eric Byrnes, Southern Oregon:

This is a guy who will always play above his tools. Developed a solid hitting approach and stayed with it all year. Takes aggressive swings, but under control. Does not look pretty in OF, but will get the job done. BA arm, but accurate. Feel that this guy will hit his way to ML.

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