Basketball and Base running

This is one of my favorite sports times of the year. The college football bowl season combined with the stretch drive of the NFL regular season always makes for great entertainment. Baseball is in “off season” mode and that is a special time as well, as college and high school teams are getting after it in the weight room and on the track, trying to get bigger, stronger and faster.

For me personally, this time of year gets me especially fired up because basketball season is in full swing! I played basketball throughout high school and I value the memories I made on the hardwood. I still participate in pickup games on a consistent basis- especially during the winter months- and I have become more and more convinced that my baseball career was directly impacted because of my playing basketball. Continue reading

Will He Make It? How I project college players

article by Chris Burke former 1st round pick and MLB player; current ESPN analyst

article by Chris Burke
former 1st round pick and MLB player; current ESPN analyst

One of the best parts about my job as an ESPN college baseball analyst is that I get to travel around and see the next generation of the game’s great players. As a baseball NERD this is quite fun, especially the task of forecasting how a certain player’s skills will translate to the next level. The question comes up often, and while nobody is ever 100 percent sure about a prospect, there are some characteristics that I like to focus on to make my evaluation.

Now, I am by no means an expert in this space, and my experience is very much in the development stage as it pertains to projection, but these are the qualities I look for when measuring a college player’s chances at having a solid pro career.

This issue I will focus on position players (non-pitchers) and in an upcoming issue I will get into pitchers, both starters and relievers.

Projecting Position Players

1) Position profile: There are so many good college players that don’t ever make it to the big leagues, and a big part of that is being what some people call a “tweener,” meaning they’re not quite offensive enough to play their best defensive position, and not quite athletic enough to play a position where their bat would be sufficient.

For instance, a really good college third baseman may get to Double A because of their advanced approach and solid defense, but doesn’t produce enough runs to hit in the middle of the order and can’t run well enough to hit at the top of the order, or play defense in the middle of the field (CF, SS, 2B).

To be a top flight prospect, it really helps to have a clearly defined position.

2) Continue reading