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Run by The Trentonian's Nick Peruffo, this blog will provide daily multimedia coverage of the Trenton Thunder.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

So, you want to be a scout?

Scouting is one of the toughest jobs in all of sports. It involves thousands of hours spent on the road, away from your family, and it also comes with a massive amount of failure. A scout has hundreds of players to see, grade and project each year, and he is going to be wrong a great deal of the time. 

Think of how many Giants officials saw and wrote good things about a guy like Tim Alderson, who has spent the last four seasons in the Eastern League. Same goes for the Blue Jays, who spent a first-round choice on Kevin Ahrens, who, at 23, is on his fourth stint in High-A. 

Those are just two examples of big-money misses from clubs who otherwise have pretty darn good track records of identifying and developing talent. 

Those kind of mistakes happen all the time. Then there's the other end of the spectrum, when a club takes a chance on a guy and comes up aces. That brings us to Vidal Nuno, the Thunder's left-hander who has come out of nowhere to cut his way through the Eastern League. 

The Indians drafted Nuno in the 48th round but released him shortly thereafter, something not uncommon with a club's late draft selections. Nuno spent part of last year in the Frontier League before the Yankees signed him and sent him to Staten Island for eight games and before bumping him to Low-A Charleston to finish the year. 

He started the season with Tampa but was quickly bumped to Trenton after a spate of injuries to the Thunder's starting staff. With Trenton, he's exploded. He's just about eight innings shy of qualifying on the leaderboard, or else his 2.32 ERA would be the best in the Eastern League. 

He turned 25 late last month, and has struck out just better than three hitters for every walk he's allowed (78 to 24). He's also permitted just 77 hits in 85 1/3 innings and has put together a WHIP of 1.18.

The numbers are well and good, but they're superficial. The real question -- one that faces every scout who puts a radar gun, stopwatch and a pair of eyes on him -- is this: Will his stuff translate to the major leagues?

If yes, then the Yankees have a surprise prospect on their hands. If no, then the Thunder have a very nice pitcher for their playoff run, but one who probably won't do much -- if anything -- in the show. 

I get questions about Nuno and his viability in the major leagues nearly every time he starts. Today, when he fanned seven hitters over the first three innings, was no different. My answer today is the same as it has been: I just don't know. 

This is why I take tons of video -- so you, the fan, can put your eyes on Nuno (and many other players) and decide for yourself whether a prospect could help a big club down the road. I took video of five of Nuno's strikeouts today, which I've embedded below.

It's an incredibly small sample, I know, but I'm genuinely interested in what you think. So, take a look at the videos and tell me, either in the comments or @jnorris427 on Twitter, and answer me this: Is Vidal Nuno a big leaguer? If not, why? If so, where you do see him fitting in? Is he an ace or a mid-rotation starter? Does he fit more toward the back end of a rotation? How about in the bullpen?

I'm all ears. 


Blogger Peter Lacock said...

Nuno makes it to MLB.

August 9, 2012 at 10:06 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd say Nuno will pitch in the majors. He shows good command as well as a solid Curve & Slider. I haven't seen much of his Changeup in his videos which may be the difference between him being a back-end Starter or a bullpen arm. As a starter he'll face a lot of RH bats so the Change will be important.

He has a great idea of what he's doing on the mound and knows how to attack hitters. Lefties who can bury their breaking pitches down and in on RH batters consistently can be very effective and Nuno appears to do just that.

August 19, 2012 at 5:53 PM 

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