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The Covey Chronicles Continued

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November 24, 2009

Before we discuss Dylan Covey’s stuff, there’s another aspect worth mentioning. It’s called mound presence. The view here is that when scouting amateurs, this doesn’t really mean anything. If a guy throws 82, I don’t care if he wears a mask, snarls and spits blood and flips off the other guy like he’s acting like the 87-year old owner of an NFL team. 82 is 82 and it won’t scare anyone. But when stuff is super premium, when it’s so obvious, you have to take into consideration some of these intangibles. Why?

Because when the guy is close to the big leagues, you want to be able to envision him on a big league mound. Does he stay calm? Does he do too much when he’s pressed? The fact is that these are the elements that very often derail players with the physical talent to play in the big leagues. These are aspects that are commonly overlooked in amateur baseball.

A hitter can have great hands but sometimes he doesn’t trust them; he can’t slow himself down, he’s afraid to fail, so he winds up doing too much, breaking what got him there in the first place and it snowballs from there. Aggressive baseball is good, but not at the expense of what you do best.

A pitcher can become overwhelmed by the atmosphere. He gets squeezed, he gets mad. A ball drops. A bunt finds a hole. Stuff that doesn’t happen in May happens in October. Mistake pitches that are OK elsewhere are hammered in the big leagues. Self-doubt creeps in. The mind messes with the physical.

If you don’t have talent, you don’t have to worry. For those who do have the obvious major league caliber talent, the question has to become about more than physical scouting. A wise scout once said that scouting is more than sitting in the sun and writing little numbers in little boxes.

So I give you Dylan Covey pitching in Anaheim Stadium. Putting a kid on a big league mound is a scouting version of the country psychology test. You don’t need a radar gun to scout this guy. His fastball sat at 94 and he’s got the top level of talent that makes it look easy. He pounds the strike zone with quality low strikes and works both halves of the plate. He changes speeds with an 82 slider, and the pitch that separates him from the pack is a hard curveball, 78 on Wednesday night. I’ve seen it in the mid-80s. It’s going to be his best weapon as a pro.

Covey pitched here like the big league mound was just another mound. And as a scout, you LOVE that. You love seeing the guy who doesn’t see the difference between the mound in a big park or the mound in the backyard. This is a trait that almost all your successful major league pitchers possess. It’s a mental thing, pure and simple. Your gun won’t tell you. You need to observe the player. So Covey passed that test. Stuff is there, and it’s so good that he’s not going to be far from the big leagues after the draft. You know what’s in his arm, now here’s a look at what’s in his head. A mound is always a mound. It’s a pile of dirt wherever you go. The old hitting saying applies here to the mental aspect:  It ain’t the arrow. It’s the Indian.

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More on Dylan Covey:
Read May Dylan Covey Scouting Update
Read earlier Dylan Covey Scouting Update
Read Dylan Covey Q&A
Read Dylan Covey March Scouting Update
Watch Dylan Covey Scouting Video
Read Dylan Covey Season Debut Scouting Update
Read Dylan Covey Scouting Report
Watch more Dylan Covey Scouting Video
Watch more Dylan Covey Scouting Video
Read Fall 2010 Dylan Covey Scouting Update

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