I don’t often hang grades on prospects in my articles. I certainly have a strong interest in grading and I wouldn’t be able to do this job without a pretty good understanding of the process and scale involved. All the same, I’m typically reluctant to do things that would be perceived as me “playing scout,” and it’s easy to embarrass yourself and lose credibility as a writer by consistently pushing a poor grading scale in your pieces. Grading is something I put a lot of thought into, but I find it often doesn’t add much to my articles to include grades.
I had a discussion with a scout a few years ago about grades, and how averse I was (and still am) to labelling someone as having an “80” or “8” tool. The scout quickly agreed with me. We laughed about how despite the fact that there aren’t many 8’s out there, the first few times you see one it’s often… a bit underwhelming, believe it or not. The first time I saw a tool I thought deserved an “80” I thought about it for a couple innings, made damn sure I really felt that way and then finally wrote it down. Then I had a visceral reaction: “Is that it?” “Is that all there is?” “Where is the light shining down from the heavens and the choir of angels that’s supposed to announce this??” The consequence of hanging an 8 on a player’s tool means in 20 or 30 years I should be able to say that tool was the best I ever saw – or at least in the discussion thereof. “That is the best arm I’ll ever see??” The scout laughed and agreed with my sentiment, expressing his own similar reservations and doubts.
Well, I don’t have any reservations or doubts about saying Miguel Sano has 80 power. I’m confident that in my old age if someone asks me who had the most power I ever saw that the name “Sano” will quickly come to mind.