- Buster Olney, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Managers, coaches, scouts and general managers like watching a catcher who can throw missiles to second base. They enjoy seeing a young power hitter go through a good round of batting practice, clubbing the ball over distant fences, especially to the opposite field. They'll always say nice things about a middle infielder with great hands.
But nothing draws a crowd of evaluators like a young pitcher who throws the stitches off a baseball, whizzing fastballs and/or spinning breaking balls. It's not only about the pitcher's glove-popping ability, about watching how helpless the hitter looks, but also about what that talent could mean. As Madison Bumgarner so clearly demonstrated last October, one great young pitcher can change everything about a team, about what's possible.
This is why three dynamic young starters probably generated a lot of conversation Wednesday among the evaluators who were lucky enough to see them in person, with word quickly rippling through the industry.