Thursday, January 08, 2004

Whosa dis Faison? 

I have to admit, that when I heard the name Vince Faison, I envisioned a lumbering Italian mobster, straight out of the Sopranos. "Hey Faison, fuhgeddaboudit! You can't hit no fungoes!" just rings in my ears. Not much could be found about Vince in the mainstream press, but I found a good blurb in Baseball America's article on the trade.

Faison, 22, was the 20th overall pick in the 1999 draft out of a Georgia high school. A $1.415 million bonus persuaded him to choose baseball over a scholarship to play defensive back at the University of Georgia. Like plenty of multitooled, multisport athletes, Faison has yet to turn his abilities into consistent production. He hit .230/.318/.298 with four homers, 28 RBIs and 13 steals in 119 games at Double-A Mobile. He has gotten stronger as he has matured, but that has cost him some of his formerly blazing speed. He tries too much to hit homers and doesn't make enough contact. His weak arm limits him to left field.

So he's a failed tools guy, that does not look like he's going to make it. Why bother?

Steve's Mariners Wheelhouse pontificates that Bavasi is showing a glimmer of genius by trading performance for tools, and is in fact, recovering discarded draft picks at pennies on the dollar. Bavasi is, in essence, the anti-Beane at this time when Moneyball is all the rage and sweeping the mindsets of GMs everywhere. I have to admit to being impressed by the Moneyball approach, and certainly the A's results with it, but then I also believe that Moneyball was successful because it was being contrarian, and finding an overlooked resource - the no-tools, high-performance player. Now that this type of player's stock is on the rise because of the success of the Oakland A's, maybe the M's under Bavasi are actually on the cutting edge of a new wave of contrarian signings, picking up high-tools players and developing them into studs.

It sounds good at least to think your GM is doing something smart, and is on the cutting edge, even if that edge is retro. Almost as good as, "Yo Vinnie, knock one outta da park or we wax yur mudda!"

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