Alex Rodriguez is used to following the lead of Derek Jeter. Rodriguez will resume his minor league rehabilitation assignment with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Thursday night. You might remember that Jeter had a great time around that city last week.
Rodriguez could make his return to pinstripes next Monday… just in time to have Major League Baseball start taking action on the Biogenesis scandal in which he is reportedly involved.
Years before joining Jeter as a teammate in the Bronx, Rodriguez, then a shortstop, was compared to the Yankees’ star as both a minor and major leaguer. An amateur scouting report showed that A-Rod was seen as the next version of ‘The Captain’ as far back as high school.
Mariners’ Vice President of Player Development and Scouting Roger Jongewaard filed a report on a then 17-year old Rodriguez when the future star was a senior at Westminster Christian High School in Palmetto Bay, Fla. His quick assessment included the following notes:
• Similar to Jeter only bigger and better.
• Better at 17 now than all the superstars in baseball were when they were seniors in HS.
• Generates a special feeling when watching him play.
• Driefort would be a good pick but Rodriguez is better!
The “Driefort” Jongewaard mentions is former major league pitcher Darren Driefort, then of Wichita State, whom the Dodgers took with the second pick of the 1993 MLB Draft — one pick after the Mariners chose Rodriguez first.
The use of Jeter’s name in evaluating Rodriguez also illustrates that MLB execs knew how good the Yankees’ prospect was going to be; he didn’t make his big league debut until 1995.
While A-Rod has fulfilled Jongewaard’s prophecy by delivering better power and production numbers than Jeter during his career, he’s never been able to touch the team’s all-time hits leader in popularity among Yankees fans. Performance enhancing drug use and disappointing post-season numbers have left Rodriguez with an equally questionable place among baseball’s greats.