Doyle has both refined and raw talent needed to be drafted
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Major League baseball has leaped headlong into an age where it uses computer-generated information the same as its players once used sunflower seeds, Mail Pouch chewing tobacco and power drinks.
Fact-laced numbers and analytics keep General Managers in their cushy offices. But the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros didn’t churn out enough victories to reach well into the post season with long scrolls of numbers alone.
Those teams — and others — needed quality baseball players, whose value came from how they performed on the field and whether they could stay on the field without visiting the disabled list for too many days and nights.
Players swing the bat, throw first-pitch sliders and score from first base on hits in the alleys.
While scouts have been pared in number, they still chase after any amateur player that shows them exceptional ability in any of five categories.
A vast majority of the players the Major League scouts and their General Managers want come from NCAA Division I colleges, countries outside the United States and the high school ranks.
Few come from schools involved with NCAA Division II leagues or junior colleges.
The five categories scouts historically chronicle are (1) hitting (2) hitting with power (3) running speed (4) fielding and (5) throwing ability or arm strength. The most qualified scouts pay close attention to a player’s “baseball instincts” and “feel for the game”. Raw athleticism is a factor in whether any player will ever reach the major league level, but “baseball instincts” can outweigh slight deficits in a category or two.
Shepherd has a player who will be eligible for the June Major League draft of amateur players.
Once a player enters college, he can’t be drafted until after he’s been there three years or he turns 21 years of age.
The Rams’ Brenton Doyle is completing his junior season. Doyle is 6-foot-3 and is a lean and athletic 200 pounds — just what professional baseball is looking for in an outfielder.
Other than his near-ideal body, Doyle has other traits or physical skills enough to find his way onto every team’s radar.
He is exceptionally fast and would be given a grade of “A” or even “A+” by scouts. His fielding is already comparable to all but a scant few major leaguers. He would be given a grade of “A” in that category.
Doyle is an exceptional base runner and that’s where his baseball instincts lead him to be graded highly by scouts.
He does hit with power, but doesn’t pull enough long balls to left and left center for a right-handed hitter facing Division II pitchers.
He doesn’t show an ideal throwing motion, not coming completely “over the top” when he releases his throws. He does possess arm strength, but would probably be given a “B” or “B-” in the category of throwing or arm strength.
Where Doyle will fall several rounds in the draft is because he swings and misses at too many pitches and has too many strikeouts against the quality of pitching he usually sees.
NCAA Division II pitching is replete with throwers with only a fastball and curveball. Their control is too often ineffective and they rarely can dominate hitters.
Doyle batted .415 as a sophomore in 2018, and finished at .399 after the 2019 regular season. Scouts aren’t interested in batting average per se. They want an acceptable bat speed, a large percentage of a player’s swings making contact and hitting the baseball “hard” or crisply when they do make contact.
Playing for the Wilson Tobs in the summer collegiate Coastal Plain League in 2018 is where Doyle drew considerable attention from the scouting fraternity. He struck out too frequently but batted .313 in 46 games while playing on the same team with Division I athletes from Coastal Carolina, UNC-Chapel Hill, Georgia Tech, Georgia, Oklahoma State, South Alabama and Indiana State.
Doyle runs as well or better than nearly any college player at any level. His fielding is superior. And his “baseball instincts” are rarely seen anywhere.
He will be drafted in June. Just how high is going to be based on whether some big league team sees him as a Major League player by the time he’s 26 years old.
He may have done his many exploits in the Division II ranks . . . but he’s going to be drafted this June.