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September 3, 2014

What's Next

BP's Prospect-Coverage Plan

by Nick J. Faleris and Chris Mellen

During any journey, change is inevitable, with the success of the trip often hinging upon a traveler’s ability to adapt to that change without losing his heading. When Nick and I first started outlining a plan for life after Jason Parks, our initial thoughts (after few deep breaths) gravitated to the trove of in-house talent Parks had assembled during his two seasons at the helm of the prospect team, and it quickly became apparent our ability to adapt would be more about tweaking and tightening what we have than undergoing any major overhaul.

This tightening starts with our core structure, which we will be breaking out into four regions of coverage: East, South, Midwest, and West. By creating a more formal structure we hope to more efficiently funnel information across our well-stocked prospect team and provide more focused, and more balanced, top-to-bottom coverage for you all. Additionally, this will further our ability at the top of the organization to evaluate as deeply as possible each league and organization, while working in tandem to avoid gaps and stay abreast of the daily happenings within each region.

As was the case this year, our evaluators will continue to be out at the fields daily. Their assignments, however, will more frequently be shaped by our overarching organizational goal: to increase the depth and balance of our pro and amateur coverage and to facilitate a more efficient and comprehensive content package. (Nick will touch on that.)

As to structural specifics, Nick will lead the Midwest and West regions, overseeing everything that falls within them, and continue his amateur and pro work in the field. Jordan Gorosh, Mauricio Rubio, and Chris Rodriguez join him, with Jordan and Mauricio entrenched in the Midwest and Chris in Southern California. In the coming weeks, we will also be making some announcements on new evaluator additions in key coverage areas in these two regions, so stay tuned.

I’ll lead the East and South, with my coverage in the field focused in the Northeast and special assignments throughout the regions. Mark Anderson and Al Skorupa join me in the Northeast, with Tucker Blair and CJ Wittmann holding down the Mid-Atlantic. The South will be covered by Jeff Moore, Ryan Parker, Ethan Purser, and Chris King, with Ethan’s coverage extending into the Southern and South Atlantic Leagues and Ryan handling special-assignment scouting within the region. Jeff and Chris provide comprehensive coverage in Florida, tag-teaming both coasts in the talent-rich state.

In the coming weeks and months we will continue to roll out details and announce new team members, but for today we simply wanted to share the working framework with you. Jason left the cupboard stocked, so for you, the reader, it’s really business as usual. We’ll dive into the Fall League, then move on to the organizational Top 10s and the Top 101, all while unveiling some cool new features. The more things change, the more they stay the same here at BP. –Chris Mellen

* * *

In addition to the organizational and structural changes mentioned by Mellen above, our vision for the future of prospect coverage at Baseball Prospectus will include an overhaul on the content side, again more about improving structure and efficiency than anything else. The details of this overhaul will be unveiled as we get closer to the launch date of each such change, but for now I want to briefly touch on the overarching themes you will see in BP’s approach moving forward.

First and foremost, we wholly anticipate this year’s rankings to be the most robust package Baseball Prospectus has ever produced in this arena. That means upholding the excellent standard set by Parks in the rankings themselves while expanding the amount of ancillary analytical information. The result is going to be a meaty dive into the top prospects in each organization and, hopefully, a fuller picture presented to you of the strengths, weaknesses, and overall outlook for these players of interest.

Thanks to the efforts of Bret Sayre, who assumes a prominent spot as the prospect team’s Coordinator, we have structured the offseason content to roll out at an accelerated pace. This offseason, more will be coming your way and it will be in your hands more quickly than ever before. Bret will be heavily involved in the day-to-day goings-on, and this week he has already helped us kick off our rankings discussions, generate new ideas for content, and work on accelerating production. Bret, Chris, and I, along with Joe Hamrahi, Sam Miller, and the rest of the BP team, have already spent dozens of hours laying out the framework going forward, and this offseason’s improvements will be just the tip of the iceberg.

Setting aside the specifics for our in-season coverage for the time being (we will have plenty of time to dig into those details with you), the overarching theme you will see implemented is an increased focus on our regional coverage, which should better utilize the impressive horsepower we have with our collection of evaluators, analysts, and writers. That means more consistent coverage across all leagues and organizations, as well as a more structured approach to how the coverage is provided to our readership. In short, as is the case with the rankings, we expect the end product to be more robust than in years past, and delivered more efficiently.

We have been living with and refining this vision for weeks, and with each passing day and each phone call, email exchange, and text chain, our excitement grows. Parks did a huge favor to the readership, and Baseball Prospectus on the whole, by putting together such a deep and talented team on the prospect side. This past year of prospect content at Baseball Prospectus has set a new standard for what we do. Chris, Bret, and I are now tasked with setting even loftier goals and pushing ourselves, and the prospect team, to make sure those goals are realized. We have only scratched the surface of this prospect team’s potential; it’s time to see what this baby can really do. –Nick J. Faleris

Nick J. Faleris is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Nick's other articles. You can contact Nick by clicking here
Chris Mellen is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Chris's other articles. You can contact Chris by clicking here

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