The 2017 Scouting Report

By the Fans, For the Fans


Welcome to the Fourteenth Annual Fans' Scouting Report. For those looking for past results, go here (2008 and prior) and here for 2009, for 2010, for 2011, for 2012, for 2013, for 2014. for 2015. for 2016.

Baseball's fans are very perceptive. Take a large group of them, and they can pick out the final standings with the best of them. They can forecast the performance of players as well as those guys with rather sophisticated forecasting engines. Bill James, in one of his later Abstracts, had the fans vote in for the ranking of the best to worst players by position. And they did a darn good job.

There is an enormous amount of untapped knowledge here. There are 70 million fans at MLB parks every year, and a whole lot more watching the games on television. When I was a teenager, I had no problem picking out Tim Wallach as a great fielding 3B, a few years before MLB coaches did so. And, judging by the quantity of non-stop standing ovations Wallach received, I wasn't the only one in Montreal whose eyes did not deceive him. Rondel White, Marquis Grissom, Larry Walker, Andre Dawson, Hubie Brooks, Ellis Valentine. We don't need stats to tell us which of these does not belong.

The Project

What I would like to do now is tap that pool of talent. I want you to tell me what your eyes see. I want you to tell me how good or bad a fielder is. Go down, and start selecting the team(s) that you watch all the time. For any player that you've seen play in at least 10 games in 2016, I want you to judge his performance in 7 specific fielding categories.


Try to judge 'average' not as an average player at that position, but an average player at any position. If you think that Kris Bryant has an average arm, then mark him as average, regardless if you've seen him play 1B, 3B, LF or RF.



If you don't have an opinion on a particular characteristic of that player, then go on to the next characteristic for that player. This applies especially for you TV watchers, and you can't tell how well Peter Bourjos can read the ball off the bat.

And, most importantly, do not, absolutely do not, look at any numbers. Don't look at his fielding percentage, range factor, zone rating, UZR, or anything else that someone else is telling you. I just want you to rely on your eyes. You are the scout. I need you to rely completely on your own observations.

We know the fans know what they are talking about. We know they know how to observe good and bad fielding. Now, I just want to know what the fans know. And, hopefully, so do you.

Note: The rosters are based on any player with at least 90 innings played for a particular team in 2016. If you have any write-in candidates beyond that, tell me.
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