|The real story behind the Red Sox’ discovery of New Zealand softballer Beau Bishop||02.11.11 at 11:32 pm ET|
By now, the story of the Red Sox’ signing of Te Wera “Beau” Bishop has made the rounds. He is a 17-year-old catcher who emerged as one of the top fast-pitch softball prospects in New Zealand, but that status was far from lucrative. Until signing a deal with the Sox (he was given a bonus of $60,000, the Boston Herald reported on Friday), he was anticipating a career as a builder.
But that was until Red Sox Pacific Rim scouting coordinator Jon Deeble — the manager of Australia’s national team — was impressed with his very raw tools, and thus was convinced to help set Bishop on a path that will take him from New Zealand to Fort Myers at the start of February. Deeble weighed in via email with the full scouting story of Bishop. Here it is:
“We have been following Te Wera (Beau) for a while now mainly through video. Two weeks ago, I was in New Zealand managing the under-17 Australian team in a World Championship qualifier. It was my intention to work [Bishop] out whilst I was over there,” Deeble wrote. “I was halfway through a game. I went to the bathroom and I saw this kid throwing in the park adjacent to the field where the bathroom was.
“I was walking towards these two kids throwing the baseball and as I was walking, I was saying to myself, ‘Wow, that kid has a great arm,’ and it was so smooth and throwing over a long distance. I said to myself, ‘No that couldn’t be him, could it? So I went up to him and asked him his name. He told me Beau Bishop. I said, ‘You are the kid I am looking for.’
“I was at a junior softball tournament the week before and had heard a lot about this kid but he wasn’t playing, his younger brother was.
“I worked him out and although raw he [showed] the tools we look for in signing a player. He had a good arm, strong with carry. He is a catcher and threw the ball well to second and showed a very good ability to catch and frame the ball behind the plate. Although his swing was built to hit a softball he showed good raw power and hit some balls out of the [park] during our batting practice.
“He showed me three tools we look for, and although this will be a very hard adjustment for him, he showed aptitude and [made] some good adjustments. We need to be patient with him as he will take some time. He is a big strong kid who has never lifted a weight.
“He will go to spring training and extended spring. He will then go home to New Zealand for two weeks, then attend the MLB Australian Academy where he will get 40 plus games in and at least 150 at-bats. He needs experience in hitting a baseball and also catching it. He is amazing how he catches softballs at great speeds over 40 feet. Hopefully he can make the adjustments over 60 feet with a baseball.”
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