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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

19 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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Can't wait, I'm sure it will be terrific!

Sep 03, 2014 04:47 AM
rating: 0
dREaDS Fan

Have you finished the 2015 Top 101 listing yet? Kidding. Good luck.

Sep 03, 2014 07:08 AM
rating: 4
BP staff member Nick Faleris
BP staff

Don't laugh -- the work is underway! The even better news is, while we will be operating at a quicker pace this year we are, as a team, using this as a transition to an even more aggressive publishing schedule in 2015.

I think you will all enjoy the stuff we have rolling out over the next few months. By December 2015 I think you'll look back five years and be blown away by how far we've expanded and improved this side of BP's content. That's a testament to Parks, Joe, Ben, Sam, Chris, Bret, etc. and the back-end time we've put into building the best evaluative machine this side of the industry wall.

Sep 03, 2014 07:37 AM

In BP I Trust

Sep 03, 2014 07:08 AM
rating: 3

Is there plans to keep publishing the BP Futures Guide?

Sep 03, 2014 07:59 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Nick Faleris
BP staff

Yes, and that work is already underway, as well!

Sep 03, 2014 08:02 AM
BP staff member Chris Mellen
BP staff

We've definitely already been put to work!

Sep 03, 2014 09:13 AM

When Jason Parks replaced Kevin Goldstein, I remember thinking that there was no way BP could improve upon what KG brought to the table. In my opinion, they did.

Same holds true here. Odds are, things will get even better because each prospect team adds to what the previous team built.

BP is a machine.

Sep 03, 2014 09:15 AM
rating: 12

Was going to get into specifics - but in the interest of brevity, love everything you said. You're taking a solid organization and refining and enhancing its strengths, as it should be. Kudos to your leadership and your staff.

Sep 03, 2014 10:01 AM
rating: 0

One question if I may: what are the plans for the top 11s? Will there be one voice on each, with contributions from others or will they be the BP prospect staff's lists?

Sep 03, 2014 10:38 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Nick Faleris
BP staff

The product itself for each team will be produced by either Chris or myself on a team-by-team basis. As in year's past when Jason produced the lists, we will be basing the rankings on personal observation and analysis, leveraging BP institutional knowledge by soliciting thoughts from the prospect team, and of course cross-checking with industry sources.

Sep 03, 2014 10:47 AM

As noted yesterday, BP is like a system that keeps graduating top talent, while replenishing the farm with more high ceiling quality. Good luck Gents in your new roles. Very exciting.

Sep 03, 2014 10:50 AM
rating: 0
John Carter

What I would like to see from the Monday Morning report or some other weekly or every-other-weekly (bi-?) report is a focus on prospect that may have taken a step up in their game. It is nice to know if someone is unexpectedly struggling, but catching the up-and-comers - the next Mookie Betts, for example, before my fantasy league mates do is what I imagine many of us are after. Perhaps, there aren't enough prospects who take a surprisingly big step forward in a week to merit such a feature, but I do want to know about it when it happens. I appreciate these things creep up and are hard to identify and, perhaps, that's what your weekly report and your daily reports try to do, but I find them overwhelming. Too much information for me. One good game doesn't mean much, though, I know you are very aware of that and try to warn us and give us the appropriate perspective. I hope I explained myself well enough. Thanks for listening.

Sep 03, 2014 14:18 PM
rating: -2
BP staff member Nick Faleris
BP staff

Great point, John. A big focus of our in-season coverage for next year addresses this very issue -- I'm confident you'll be happy with our approach to making sure you on top of all of the breakout guys in real time.

Sep 03, 2014 15:08 PM

Any thoughts of having a prospect-focused podcast?

Sep 03, 2014 15:25 PM
rating: 0
BP staff member Nick Faleris
BP staff

Definitely; the new podcast is in the works.

Sep 03, 2014 15:37 PM

Obviously you can't (& shouldn't) keep a man from pursuing his dreams; but - can BP legitimately offer a package that competes at least monetarily? Just wondering...been subscribing for a long time & thought I would ask. Loaded question/answer for sure, & still love every penny I put into this site...

Sep 04, 2014 06:40 AM
rating: -1
BP staff member Joe Hamrahi
BP staff

I'll answer this the best I can. We do our best to offer competitive compensation packages to the people we'd like to retain. But when it comes to competing with teams, we're often competing against an experience and opportunity we can't match.

Sep 04, 2014 07:30 AM

Looking forward to it. It's been a pleasure to see Kevin Goldstein bolster BP's prospect coverage in his time here and leave it in Jason Parks's hands. Jason built a mighty empire over the past couple years, and while I will miss his writing, what you guys have achieved bodes well for the future.

Sep 04, 2014 08:24 AM
rating: 0
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