This week in continuing to look into some of the guys we drafted (also to give a centralized thread to talk about each player), I found an interesting article on Destin Hood. While character does not make a good player, its nice to see us get a real young guy with a good head on his shoulders. Hood has tons of potential, but no one knows how it will translate to the higher levels. I hesitate to make the comparison, but Hood is similar to Elijah Dukes and Lastings Milledge insofar that he has the physical tools to one day be a good or great player, not to say that he will be (but there is the potential). Below is the scouting reports from BBA and PPGC (courtesy of NFA), followed by an article recently published. I hope to see him signed soon. Hood is also currently committed to play WR on Nick Saban's Crimson Tide, but the general consensus has shifted towards him taking the money and playing MLB, especially with the money he will likely get at the second round slot.
“Hood showed his raw power and lightning-quick bat speed when he tied for the home run derby title at the Aflac Classic last fall. Raw and electric are two words scouts use to describe Hood. He has four raw tools but each with above-average projection. An exceptional athlete with a combination of strength and speed, Hood is signed to play football (wide receiver) and baseball at Alabama. At the plate, Hood has bat speed and raw power to rival anyone in this draft class, but his hit tool is currently lacking as he often swings and misses. A shortstop in high school, Hood will most definitely be moved to the outfield due to his below-average arm strength. He is a plus runner, and although his instincts are under-developed, could be an average defender in the future. The team that drafts Hood will believe in his ability to eventually hit. Upon reaching high ceiling, Hood projects as a middle of the order impact bat.”
“Hood made his mark at Perfect Game’s National Showcase in Cincinnati last June, then followed up with strong performances in World Wood Bat Association events in July and the Aflac All-American game in August to establish his baseball prospect credentials before returning to football. In Cincinnati, Hood hit a showcase-best six home runs in batting practice and made it look easy as the ball came off his bat differently than almost every other hitter. As one of the top wide receivers in Alabama and a recruiting target of a number of college football powers, his athletic skills are obvious, including 6.4 speed in the 60 and overall strength. But Hood showed baseball skills and actions that, although raw, were more advanced and natural than most two-sport/primary football athletes. As a high school shortstop, Hood hit .517-4-36 with 43 stolen bases as a junior but his best baseball position at the next level will be as a center fielder. Hood was a two-sport, all-state selection as a junior but after last summer it looks like his primary sport may be baseball, not football—though he signed a football scholarship with Alabama & Hood didn’t play all that impressively as a senior, either at the plate or in the field, but scouts were more interested in his tools and raw athletic ability. They stood out in workouts. His bat, in particular, remains one of the best in the entire draft. Balls explode off his bat and he has well above-average power potential. He spent the season at shortstop because of team need, but it’s a given that he will play either left field or center field down the road. The big issue remains signability. It could be an issue if he slides to the third or fourth round, but most observers believe he’ll be gone in the sandwich round, or second round at the latest”
Article published 6/22 in the Alabama Press Register:
'Beyond his years'http://www.al.com/sports/press-register/index.ssf?/base/sports/1214126137173610.xml&coll=3#continue
Sunday, June 22, 2008
By MIKE HERNDON
At the beginning of the 2008 baseball season, St. Paul's was just 4-5 and the Saints' star shortstop, Destin Hood, was struggling to shine under the steady eyes of a horde of professional scouts.
"At the beginning, I think it got to me a little bit," Hood said of the attention. "I was kind of getting used to it, but you're still at a high school game with all your buddies around and you want to do something special for the scouts."
A few words of encouragement from his coaches went a long way, however, and by the end of the season Hood was again showing what he could do in leading his team. While Hood didn't want to let down his teammates, his coaches reminded him that all they wanted was for him to be himself.
"They've been playing with you your whole life," Hood said they told him. "They're not looking for anything different from you. They just want Destin Hood. That's when everything started clicking."
Hood got hot and finished the season with a .485 average, eight home runs, 32 RBIs and 17 stolen bases, leading the Saints to the 5A state semifinals. The Alabama Sports Writers Association named him to its Super 10 team and honored him as the 5A player of the year.
He adds another honor here as the Press-Register's 2008 high school baseball player of the year.
St. Paul's coach Shane Sullivan said Hood is an amazingly gifted player who has the character to go with his ability.
"He's got size, he's got speed and he's got the power. Those are three things you really can't teach," said Sullivan, who compared Hood's mindset to that of former St. Paul's standout Jake Peavy, who won the NL Cy Young Award last year with the San Diego Padres.
"He's such a good kid; his character's good," Sullivan said of Hood. "Jake was beyond his years and Destin is too."
Hood, who was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the second round of the Major League Baseball first-year player draft, said the tough times early in the season against a tough schedule paid off later — and will continue to do so.
"When it got tough, we depended on each other at the beginning of the season and I think that helped a lot," he said. "Mentally, I thought it brought me a long way to have some tough times, because I may need it down the road. I think it helped me a lot mentally this year."
While he has spent most of his time at St. Paul's playing shortstop, he is projected to be an outfielder in the pros and played about a third of the season in the outfield this year. Hood, who expects to sign with the Nationals and forfeit a football scholarship he signed with Alabama, said he believes the move helped him at the plate by lessening his responsibilities defensively.
"I just felt like I could stand out in left field, catch fly balls and concentrate on hitting more," he said.
"It was a good senior year. Everybody wants a title. My numbers were probably a little bit better my junior season, but that comes with the territory of being a player that's not going to see any fastballs. I think I did a good job of getting acclimated and ending it on a high note."
I like the part in the article about his switch to the outfield. He talks about how lowering his defensive responsibilities (in OF versus SS), he was better able to focus on his plate appearances. This, I think, will prove be valuable to us, as we plan on using him in the outfield and it seems as though we have drafted him for his bat more than his defensive capabilities. It also means, though, that possibly he could be used in the infield as an emergency infielder at either 2B or SS if need be.
In regards to him signing, various parts of the negotiating process with Hood have been discussed in the Draft Picks Status thread, but here is something to add to it all from draft day from the Birmingham News:
Amid the hoopla, I spoke to Destin and his father Dewayne about his future. The main feeling I got is that they're very cautious. I asked Destin whether it'll be football with coach Nick Saban or baseball with a coach-to-be-determined, and he gave a politically correct answer:
"We don't know right now," said Hood, a receiver/outfielder from St. Paul's in Mobile. "It's great (to be drafted), but you still got to negotiate, so we're just waiting on that."
I asked his father, how much would it take to sign? "First round money," Dewane said.
A million dollars? "At least," he responded.
FYI: Last year, the second-to-last pick of the first round -- Wendell Fairley of George County (Miss.) High -- signed for $1 million.
Ill keep you guys posted on anything that comes up. Both guys next to Hood in the draft have signed, so we could see him signed as well sooner than later AND in uniform. We will see...