Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ain't no foolin, this card is 5 Toolin'

You always hear scouts talk about the tools that each player has, how they are 2 way players or 5 tool talents. What exactly is a 5 tool player in the eyes of scouts?

"A 5 tool player is one that has great speed, can hit for average, hit for power, a great throwing arm and is excellent defensively."
This 2012 Topps Triple Threads highlights 3 of MLB's best 5 tool athletes.  Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, and recently traded Justin Upton.  The card is numbered 23/27 and features jersey relics of the young superstars.

We've all seen Triple Threads cards before so I won't focus too much on the card.  Instead I want to examine each of these players tools and if they truly are 5 toolin'.  I will take a look at each of their 2012 statistics. 

Besides Assists, it's really hard to judge sabremetrically how strong a player's arm is.  Sure you can look at runs saved, but that also includes their range factor so believe me when I say that all 3 of these athletes possess a strong throwing arm, but that is probably their worse of their 5 tools.

First we'll start with last year's rookie phenom.
great speed: 49 SB and only 5 CS.  CHECK
hit for average: .326 (2nd place in AL) won a Silver Slugger CHECK
hit for power: 30 HR or 1HR per 18.6AB CHECK
excellent defensively: saved 20 runs and put up a 2.1defensive WAR CHECK

great speed: 20 (lowest of his career) CHECK
hit for average: .327 (2nd place in NL) won a Silver Slugger CHECK
hit for power 31 HR .553slugging percentage CHECK
excellent defensively: .997 fielding percentage won a Gold Glove CHECK

great speed: 18 with 8 caught stealing BETTER THAN LEAGUE AVERAGE
hit for average: .280 (won a Silver Slugger in 2011) CHECK
hit for power: 17 (31 in 2011) slugging .430 AVERAGE FOR POSITION
excellent defensively: saved 2 runs and put up a -0.4 dWAR NOT BETTER THAN AVERAGE

So it looks like the card features the players in the right order for guys that are 5 toolin' 
Mike Trout (if he can continue his success) will be the most tooled player in the game.
Andrew McCutchen, although he has lost some of his presence on the basepaths since 2010 is still a threat to steal, but has gained becoming a bigger threat at the plate with the bat.
Justin Upton had a monster 2011 season and will be pushed in Atlanta to put up better numbers now that he 
is playing alongside 2 other 5 tool outfielders his brother BJ Upton and Jason Heyward.


  1. Replies
    1. There was a version on ebay a few months back where they all had patches and it was numbered out of 3 which sold for only like $40. Now the /36 versions of this card are selling for over $50 a pop. Don't get me wrong, I was happy to get this for around $20 but it would have been nice to had the patch super rare version to my collection for that price.