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Must-click link: Rocco Baldelli, scout

Jun 2, 2011, 12:20 PM EST

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Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com has an excellent article about Rocco Baldelli, who’s quickly becoming one of the Rays’ top scouts after health problems ended his playing career at age 28:

Crasnick: Rocco Baldelli’s new role

Tampa Bay remarkably has 12 of the first 89 picks in the draft, so Baldelli’s reports on high school and college players will play a big part in the Rays’ future.

  1. bleedgreen - Jun 2, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    Good for him. He seemed like a good guy. They talked him up quite a bit during the Rays/Phils WS, and then I never heard of him again until his medical problems.

    • bradwins - Jun 2, 2011 at 5:52 PM

      By the time of the Rays/Phils World Series his medical problems had already basically ruined his career. He only had 2 full seasons (2003 & 2004) before the injuries started snowballing on him, and he never got back to 100% before he was (mis)diagnosed with his condition.

      I played AAU basketball with Rocco in Rhode Island growing up (he was a year older than me). I didn’t know him exceptionally well, but I know he was universally liked and thought of as a great kid. It is very hard not to feel terrible for him for how his promising career just dissipated. He was labeled early on as a potential superstar.

      Rhode Islanders seem cursed, as in addition to Rocco, the latest top prospect to come out of the Ocean State has also had his career derailed by a rare medical problem. Ryan Westmoreland was the #1 prospect in the Red Sox organization before he was diagnosed with a cavernous malformation on his brain stem during last year’s spring training. He had it operated on, which saved his life, but he is still trying to restart his baseball career, but there is a real chance that it never happens for him.

      Two sad stories, but I’m glad to see Rocco making the most of his situation. Hopefully things will work out as well for Ryan, wherever his life takes him.

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