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Tom Verducci
March 25, 2002
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Athletics
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March 25, 2002

Enemy Lines

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an opposing team's scout sizes up the Athletics

"Nasty, nasty, nasty starting pitching. Mark Mulder has a great lefthanded body and the perfect delivery. His fastball is one of the best I've seen, and he has command of three pitches. He's still learning, too, which should scare the league. Barry Zito has always been a scrappy, rough-around-the-edges guy, but what he lacks in velocity he makes up for with guile and instinct. If Tim Hudson is healthy, he might be the best pitcher in baseball not named Pedro. Nothing Hudson throws is straight. He has a heavy ball, and he's a competitor in the David Cone mold....

Everyone is talking about how great Billy Koch will be, but Jason Isringhausen had much more upside. Koch just throws hard and straight, and if you can hit a good fastball, you'll get him. Jim Mecir has the best sinker on that staff....

Terrence Long is a brutal centerfielder. He has a tough time judging balls in front of him, and he doesn't go back and forth well. His arm is strong, though. He should be in a corner....

David Justice is a second bad outfielder, which is a problem. His bat looked very slow in the playoffs, but they seem to think he's still got the pop. I'm doubtful....

Carlos Pe�a reminds me of Keith Hernandez during his heyday with the Mets, except he has a bit more pop. Pe�a is sweet around the bag, and he might hit 25 homers, drive in 90 runs....

Ramon Hernandez is a highly underrated catcher. He took some heat because he wasn't throwing guys out in the playoffs, but that's not his fault. Oakland's pitchers don't hold runners well."