The National Baseball Hall of Fame did something really cool last year when they made thousands of historical scouting reports available to the public. This post is part of a series in which we'll look at the reports of players that have passed through Houston during their career. A lot of these are, understandably, difficult to read, so I'll do my best to transcribe them as-is while including pictures of a few of them.
Today we'll look at Bobby Abreu. While Abreu is best known for having a long career as a power/speed/patience guy for the Phillies, among other teams, he actually started his career with the Astros. Originally signed as an international free agent out of Venezuela, Abreu was left unprotected in the 1997 expansion draft and was taken by Tampa Bay and immediately traded to Philadelphia, where he averaged about 6 WAR over the next 7 seasons. Hard to imagine two franchises not realizing the talent he possessed. He did get to play 74 games for Houston before 1997, where he hit .248/.325/.362 with 3 HR and 7 SB. For his career, he hit .291/.395/.475 with 288 HR and 400 SB before retiring following this season.
We have three scouting reports for Abreu, two from 1995 (from his time in Tucson) and one from 1997.
The first from 1995 was from Yankees scout John Cox.
Arm 55/60 Run 55/60 Baserunning 60 Hit 50/60 Power 40/55 Field 50 Hustle 60.
Prospect type: Outstanding
Average size, strong athletic body, has body strength. Will be solid player. Fair contact. Can drive ball. Solid avg arm. Good speed when underway. Still young.
Other comments: Average size, long arms and legs, well proportioned, appears heavier than 160. Good body strength. Hustles, plays hard, aggressive. "Grows" on you! Makes fair contact. Still trying to figure out breaking ball, can drive fastball. Tries to pull too much now. Needs to use the whole field. Should have average power in future. Solid avg speed. Better when underway, fun to watch go 1st to 3rd! Good arm - inconsistent - but when everything works is impressive. Still young. Learning to play. Has tools. Needs time.
The next from 1995 is from White Sox scout John Kazanas.
Physical description: Athletic actions, frame has chance to carry more strength.
Scout Judgements: Definite ML Prospect
Strong points: Outstanding approach to hitting, sweet short compact stroke w/outstanding balance, knowledge of K-zone, good 2-strike hitter, spray ball to all fields. Gap to gap guy, run well especially 1st to 3rd, arm avg to above w/ good carry and rot (rotation?), 4.16 speed to 1B, can play LF-RF fairly well occasionally gets good jumps.
Weak points: Not strong yet, pop not there for corner guy, occasionally does not get first step quickness stealing bases, trouble occasionally vs LHP front shoulder goes. Routes in OF still can get better - needs work in CF for experience.
Summation: Young good looking hitter. Mark Grace type and when strength comes he should be able to linedrive some HRs. Defense skills are a little short and experience will help improvement. 3 tool guy now with a high ceiling.
LD hitter. Contact 50. Quality contact 50. Instincts 50. Aggressiveness 55. Arm accuracy 55 strength 50. Base running instincts 50 1st step 45.
Attitude: Competes - knows he is good
Instincts: Still learning feeling out process
The final one is a short one from Cubs scout Hugh Alexander from about a month before Abreu was lost to the expansion draft. As a bonus, it includes looks at Scott Elarton and Richard Hidalgo.
Good looking young hitter. Average power. Good speed.