Flashback Friday: Grady Sizemore & What Could Have Been
Anyone familiar with baseball scouting has heard the term 5 tool player almost incessantly but what does it really mean?
A 5 tool player is someone who can hit, hit for power, has speed, excels defensively,
and has an above average throwing arm. Players like this are incredibly rare coming along maybe once in a draft, maybe once a decade, this makes finding a true 5 tool player incredibly valuable.
Some recent examples of this in today’s MLB are Mike Trout and Fernando Tatis, incredibly rare talents in the “Face of Baseball” conversation perennially. Not only are these athletes incredibly talented on the field but they also drive up jersey sales, fan attendance and interest in the team.
In a 2004 ESPN scouting report it seemed the Indians seemed to be in possession of one of these up and coming stars in a young outfield prospect.
His name? Grady Sizemore.
In this report John Sickels wrote, “Scouting reports about Sizemore begin with his athleticism. He has a fine combination of speed, strength, and flexibility. He's stronger than most speedsters and faster than most sluggers.” Suddenly the interest of Tribe fans everywhere had been piqued, this was after all a team coming off a 94 loss season with not much to look forward to. What would the future hold with Sizemore anchoring the lineup.
What Could've Been
Unfortunately, both Indians and baseball fans alike will never really know what Grady could have been at his peak as nagging injuries derailed his career at age 27, causing him to play only 104 games over the next four seasons. Had he not gotten hurt Sizemore was definitely on a path to become one of the all time greats, and even though he did, Grady in his prime was still one of the most exciting players of the early 2000s.
Although this story is mostly about what could have been, for three years from 2005-2008 Grady shone about as bright as anyone in the game. Missing just nine total games and being named to the All Star game all three years as well as two Gold Gloves and a SIlver Slugger. Moreover, Grady was an absolute Cleveland fan favorite even inspiring a “Grady’s Ladies” cult following.
And as a young kid for those years Grady played with a passion and brought excitement to the game every night. Let us also not forget that those Indians teams for the most part were pretty mediocre, making the playoffs just one time in 2007, propelled by an excellent season from their star center fielder. He slashed .277/.390/.852 with 24 homers 78 RBI and 33 stolen bases (oh and he won the Gold Glove) a simply incredible stat line showcasing all 5 tools. Regardless of how his career ended I am happy I was alive to see the best of Grady Sizemore.
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