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September 2, 2014

The Future

BP's Prospect Team

by Joe Hamrahi


Sometimes I forget how truly fortunate I am to work in baseball. I quit hearing the sound of the crack of the bat or the pop of the glove. I become numb to the smell of the freshly cut grass, the sound of the organ, and the roar of the crowd as the home team walks off with a win. Because, you see, not unlike many of you, my primary responsibility is to look ahead. My job is create the vision for a company and try to improve on what we have, build on what’s been developed, and help bring new and innovative content to an audience that demands it every day. So, yes, while I still get to a few dozen games a year, enjoy the warmth of Arizona after a long winter in New York, and watch countless games on MLB.TV, there are times when the game right now, at this instant, is not at the forefront of my mind.

But what I never, ever forget are the people I get to work with…the readers, the fans, the players, scouts, front offices, media colleagues, and of course, the staff here at Baseball Prospectus. When I first sat down to write this piece, my intention was to thank Jason Parks and introduce our transition plan for the BP prospect team. I will cover those topics shortly, but forgive me for a moment if I stray.

There have been droves of talented people who have come through Baseball Prospectus, but when I looked back at the list today, it was truly mindblowing. The sheer number of those who have gone on to successful tenures in baseball (like Keith Woolner, Dan Fox, and James Click) or who have had careers blossom at much larger media outlets (like Keith Law, Jonah Keri, Jay Jaffe, and Will Carroll) is remarkable. Since I joined BP in 2008, I’ve had the honor of working with the likes of Christina Kahrl, Kevin Goldstein, Nate Silver, and Joe Sheehan. I’ve witnessed the incredible work of Mike Fast, Colin Wyers, Max Marchi, and Dan Turkenkopf. I’ve watched many a baseball game with Zach Mortimer and Jason Cole as they decided who should be assigned the next “3.” And of course, I’ve had the privilege to work with two of the most talented people I’ll ever meet, Ben Lindbergh and Jason Parks. I’m not afraid to admit it, my sentimental journey proved to be a bit emotional.

The great thing about my little reflection is that it underscored the fact that Baseball Prospectus has, and always will, attract top talent. While it is impossible to “replace” people like Jason Parks and Ben Lindbergh, or Kevin Goldstein and Christina Kahrl before them, we continue to assemble some of the brightest minds in the industry.

I am very proud to go to work each day with Editor-in-Chief Sam Miller, Director of Technology Harry Pavlidis, and our new super recruit, Assistant Editor Sahadev Sharma. I am thrilled to be supported by R.J. Anderson, Daniel Rathman, and Rob McQuown, who never quite get the credit they deserve. I’m astounded by the research and analysis each week by Russell A. Carleton, Robert Arthur, and Dan Brooks. And what can I say about our fantasy staff? They took things to a whole new level in 2014, beyond anything we’ve ever seen here before at Baseball Prospectus…even with Craig on the team! (Yes, just a joke.)

Of course, none of what we do at BP would be possible without Dave Pease, who’s been a mainstay for almost 18 years. Dave has seen it all and provides me, and us, with a much needed perspective that we all need from time to time. Dave is also the man behind many of the Baseball Prospectus publications (like Dollar Sign on the Muscle) and a great ideator.

So what about the prospect team, you ask? Don’t worry, I didn’t forget them. They’re the primary reason for this article in the first place (thanks a lot Jason!).

Before I introduce our new prospect team leadership, I want to take a moment to thank Jason Parks. Over the past few years, Jason built a team that epitomizes the developing culture at Baseball Prospectus. We’re not just colleagues anymore. We’re a family. And no one is more responsible for that transformation than Parks. It’s the reason we have stadium events and try to connect as much as possible with the public. It’s the reason we’re out at spring training for an entire month watching players, and it’s the reason we now have boots on the ground viewing prospects across the majority of the continental U.S.

It’s also the reason we feel that the transition from Jason Parks to our new team leadership will be seamless and allow us to take our content to a new level.

So without further ado, I introduce to you the new Co-Directors of the Baseball Prospectus prospect group, Nick Faleris and Chris Mellen.

Nick Faleris has seven years of experience evaluating and writing about prospects at the professional and amateur levels and has been involved in talent evaluation at the amateur level dating back to 2005. Prior to joining Baseball Prospectus, Faleris spent three draft classes as an associate scout for a major-league club, providing coverage in the Midwest region. He has additionally served as a coach, advance scout, and freelance evaluator (supplementing collegiate recruiting efforts) at the amateur ranks.

Over the past two years Faleris has headed up Baseball Prospectus' draft coverage and has participated heavily in the construction of the Top 10s and 101s, with his further work featured regularly in the weekly Ten Pack series. Nick is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the Northwestern University School of Law and is a practicing structured finance attorney and Sports Industry team member in the Milwaukee office of Foley and Lardner LLP.

Chris Mellen began writing about prospects in 2007 for SoxPropsects.com, where he assumed the role of Director of Scouting and partner. Prior to joining Baseball Prospectus in 2012, Mellen authored scouting reports for SoxProspects based on first-hand accounts and interactions with members of the industry, along with providing creative direction and management of day-to-day operations. His expertise resides within pro scouting and player development, as he spends a large majority of each season in the field.

Since joining BP, Chris has been heavily involved with the creation of the Top 10s and Top 101s, while also authoring scouting reports/prospect features based on his observations throughout the season. The 2002 Tufts University graduate resides in the Boston area, where he's also been a finance professional for the past 12 years, specializing in project management.

Effective immediately, Faleris and Mellen will be responsible for all amateur and minor-league content and oversee the day-to-day operations of the prospect team, a very formidable team that includes Mark Anderson, Jeff Moore, Jordan Gorosh, Ethan Purser, Tucker Blair, Ryan Parker, Mauricio Rubio, CJ Wittman, Chris Rodriguez, Chris King, Al Skorupa, and a few players to be named later.

In addition to Faleris and Mellen taking on new roles, Bret Sayre will assume the additional title of Prospect Team Coordinator, working directly with Nick and Chris to help drive and organize content.

A lot of thought, effort, and input have gone into planning this transition, and I’m very excited to write the next chapter of prospect coverage at Baseball Prospectus. Since I’m privy to the blueprints of our new leaders, I can tell you we are prepared to raise the bar. But you’ll have to wait until tomorrow when Faleris and Mellen, #Flow and #Diesel in Parks-speak, unveil the details of those plans!

Joe Hamrahi is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
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