By Mike Steffanos
I received the following email from someone who read my post from earlier today:
calling devaney a "soft tosser" as your continually do in your write up is nonesense. i sat next to a scout in florida for 2 of his starts in 06 and the guy had a gun and devaney was always at 90-91 with his fastball. you make it sound like he throws and 83 mile an hour fastball or something. and look at his strikout ratio. its not incredible but pretty very good. a "soft tosser" would never strike out that many batters. and he's 6'4 220 pounds. that might not mean someone will throw 95 but a guy that size will never be a "soft tosser". you need to do some better research and stop just parroting hearsay
I don't reproduce this here because it's remarkable to get an email critical of something that I wrote -- that happens several times a week -- but because it brings up a couple of good points about all of the previews I wrote.
First and foremost, I hope that I did make it clear that I'm referring to the scouting reports of such sites as Baseball America and Scout.com for information on many of these guys. I'm not sitting in minor league ballparks with a radar gun and a clipboard noting what these young pitchers throw. Wish I could afford to do that, but I can't. I have collected the material from multiple sources and put it together in writing the individual previews. I take no credit for the excellent source material that made these possible. I hope that was clear in each preview.
Secondly, referring to Michael Devaney as a "soft tosser" -- as I did once in the article, not "continuously" -- is just a slang way of saying he doesn't possess a big fastball (scouting reports have him sitting in the high 80s and maxing out at 92, by the way). I wrote positively about Devaney, which our angry correspondent also seemed to miss, and I try to keep it positive when I talk about players here. I'm not looking to put anyone down here, and have respect for the players I write about in this space. Even to make it as far in the minor leagues as Devaney has advanced is overcoming odds that most ballplayers won't.
I hope these two points are obvious to most who read the site. Other than that, I could care less about the negative emails like the one cited above. If I'm having a crappy day I'll send back a snarky reply, but normally they just earn a quick push of the delete button.