I’m a big fan of prospect handbooks to the point that it makes my wife annoyed that I keep them once they’ve gotten past the year when they were written. I keep them because it’s fun to look back and some guys now that they’ve hit or missed and see what was said about them back in the day. Here are a couple of examples from the 2006 Prospect Handbook written by John Sickels. See if you can guess who they are. Only one was in the Cubs system at the time it was written, but both have Cubs ties.

Profile # 1

“_______ has power and lots of it. He controls the strike zone very well, boosting his OBP and enabling him to see enough cripple pitches to generate plenty of home runs, at least at the minor league level. Scouts worry that his bat may be too passive for the Major Leagues, and that pitchers with the right combination of stuff and aggressiveness will be able to contain him. His MLEs show him as a .240ish hitter at the ML level, albeit with enough power and walks to be useful. He is versatile defensively, best at first base but he can play third or corner outfield in a pinch. I don’t think he will hit quite enough to be a regular, at least for a good team, but he could help some clubs as a platoon player / pinch hitter / Ron Coomer-style guy.”

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Profile # 2

“Drafted in the first round out of a Missouri high school in 2004, ______ has tremendous offensive potential that he is just now starting to tap. Nagging injuries held him down in the first half of last year, but he heated up as the summer progressed, and finished the campaign on a tear in the Florida State League. _______ has a picture-perfect swing from the left side, the kind of swing that should keep his batting average high and produce lots of power. His strike zone judgement needs work, though he is adept at making contact against stuff that other players would chase and miss. I’m high on his bat. His glove is a problem. He is OK at third base, but is blocked by __________ at that position. He may end up at second base, but will need time to settle in. I predict a major offensive breakout for _______ in 2006.”

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail