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Frank Thomas' Scouting Report from 1989 Predicted He'd Be a '.250 Hitter, Tops'

Frank Thomas played 19 seasons.
Frank Thomas played 19 seasons.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Matthew SmithCorrespondent IIIAugust 13, 2013

Former Chicago White Sox first baseman Frank Thomas is a surefire Hall of Famer. Apparently, though, at least one scout had his doubts.

This scouting report, which was submitted in advance of the 1989 MLB draft when Thomas was taken seventh overall by the White Sox, misses the mark a couple of times.

Among other things, it says the former Auburn Tiger projected to be a “.250 hitter, tops," would “hit 20 HR on [a] bad year if he gets 500 AB” and graded out as a "C" prospect.

He was right about Thomas being “one huge person” and his fielding concerns, however, as Thomas is still “huge” and finished his career with 80 errors and a .991 fielding percentage. 

Report courtesy of Diamond Mines of the National Baseball Hall of Fame 

Larry Maxie, the scout who submitted the report, had an eye for talent, too. Some of the players he signed include former White Sox and New York Yankees starter David Wells and Greg Myers, who caught for 18 seasons.

To his credit, he only saw Thomas play in three games, and it appears that the future All-Star’s defense overshadowed his offensive prowess.

In hindsight, it is hard to fathom that a scout could have been so wrong when evaluating a player that turned out to be one of the greatest hitters in MLB history, but that is what makes the evaluation process so much fun. Sometimes, there’s just no accounting for the type of trajectory a player’s career will take.

And for the record, the fewest home runs Thomas hit in a single season with at least 500 AB was 24 in 1996 while still with the White Sox, but he hit .323 with 46 doubles and finished eighth in MVP voting.

Thomas finished his career with a .301/.419/.555 slash line, 521 home runs, 1,704 RBI, 495 doubles and 4,550 total bases.


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