MLB Week

May 21, 2006

A scout's take

On Chris Shelton, Detroit Tigers 25-year-old first baseman

Offense -- This is his breakout year. Obviously he came out of the chute scorching hot. The thing he does so well is you can't classify him as an opposite-field or a pull hitter. He uses all fields and can handle good fastballs. Teams can get him out with breaking stuff, but you better not hang it because he has plus power and can hit it out at any part of the park. His stroke is real short for a power guy.

Defense -- Defensively, he is a very good hitter. No, he works at it and his defense is getting better. With the kid's work ethic, he has gone from being a real liability to adequate now.

Intangibles -- He's a blue-collar kid. I think he is a soft, chunky-body guy. He doesn't look like an athlete. But because of that, people look past him and they shouldn't. This kid is a good player.

Note: "A scout's take" features the opinions of one major league scout on a particular player each week. A revolving roundtable of scouts is used. Because of potential tampering, the scouts will remain anonymous.

Say what?

" I know how old I am and I know that I don't use any of those bad things people are talking about that I use."

St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols, 26, on rumors that he's older than his listed age and his insistence that he's never taken performance-enhancing drugs.

Numbing number

13

That's how many Kansas City Royals have thrown a wild pitch already this season. With 30 wild pitches through their first 39 games, the Royals are on pace to obliterate the post-1900 single-season record of 96 set by the 2000 Cincinnati Reds.

What's up?

Surprise teams abound

Who would have predicted that the Milwaukee Brewers (starting tomorrow) and the Arizona Diamondbacks (starting Friday) would come into Cincinnati in late May and people would care? But we're talking about three of the most surprising teams in baseball, and at least one could end up in the playoffs.

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