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September 4, 2012

Baseball Prospectus News

Changing of the Guard

by Jason Parks

We welcome change when it brings about good fortune, or new hope, or bad Scorpions songs, but the fear associated with the unknown aspects of change can paralyze your progress and limit your desire to accept a new reality. At Baseball Prospectus, we are walking into a new tomorrow without our most prominent and respected figure, a baseball mind of such merit that the major leagues finally purchased his contract and called him up to the active roster. In uncertain times, the drug of choice is certitude, and I’ve been bird-dogging the streets for dealers and distributors. How do you replace a seasoned veteran of national prominence over a weekend?

I haven’t been in the prospect game as long as Kevin, and I can’t stand next to his resume at this stage of my career and pretend we are equals. I was casually writing for a team-specific blog when Kevin and I became friends, and this is after I spent years reading his work and impersonating his pomp on various platforms. We were friends before we were co-workers, and we were co-workers only because we were friends and he thought I’d make a good podcast partner. Can you imagine the brain trust at Baseball Prospectus after that request was made? I didn’t have a footprint on Twitter. The “industry” didn’t know my name. I had developed solid contacts, but mostly on the [Texas] Rangers side of the coin, and even though I felt some degree of confidence in my scouting knowledge, my world was so small that any standing was significant. Kevin fished me out of a small pond and relocated me into the national waters of Baseball Prospectus. He’s my Robert Shaw.

With only two full seasons under my belt at the highest level, I’m hardly a grizzled, drunk, combative fisherman crushing beers in one pull and wearing wool sweaters—although I have been known to crush beers and I do own a few wool sweaters—but I have learned more in the last two years working at Baseball Prospectus than I did in the 10 years before that. Thanks to my affiliation, I’ve been able to walk through many doors that were previously closed to me, ranging from access to fields and practices to correspondence with front office personnel. My network of sources has grown from a handful to a healthy hoard, and through these contacts I’ve been able to refine some of my scouting chops; if you hang around scouts and watch games at their hip, it’s amazing how much you can learn about the game that you were completely and utterly ignorant of. I learn something new every day, be it a description or a particular approach that I had previously dismissed or been blind to. The more I learn, the more it freaks me out how little I actually know about the game, and I absolutely love that. I can’t wait to take another step forward and learn that my knowledge of the present will be judged harshly against my knowledge in the future.

This brings me to the state of things at Baseball Prospectus, at least as it pertains to the future of the minor league side. We can’t replace Kevin Goldstein the man, but we are going to offer you premium content that will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the output of recent years and hopefully exceed that product down the line. I'll be taking on an expanded role as I lead the the prospect and player development side of the site. Future Shock was Kevin's baby and, therefore, will be retired like a jersey in the rafters, but some of the qualities of that baby will continue to live on in different forms. For the 2013 season, it is our goal to continue the tradition of daily minor-league recaps, not to mention a Monday Ten Pack in KG’s honor. We will continue to produce “poll the industry"-type pieces, keeping you attached to how some people within the game view talent and player development. The team prospect rankings will continue, as will the top 101, although the process will be tweaked to fit the hands of the new artists tasked with the construction. Speaking of new hands…

Baseball Prospectus will be adding talent to the roster in the coming weeks. This talent will work closely with me on all team prospect rankings and the top 101, serve as frequent contributors to the site on all things prospects and player development, and pair nicely with the talented staff we already have in place. I’m very excited about these moves, and I look forward to the day when I can cheer the announcement. That day will be coming soon, and we're keeping this quiet for now only to protect the parties involved and to make sure we don’t counter a big-body blow with an off-balance haymaker. The moves we have on the agenda will make Baseball Prospectus a better site, and it’s worth the extra patience to see it through. Trust me, this is going to be fun.

One final note on the upcoming minor-league coverage for 2013: Baseball Prospectus will be setting up networks of regional prospect coverage, and we have already started the process of recruiting talent for such an endeavor. To keep the readers close to the action of the moment, these satellite reporters will be providing tangible scouting data from minor-league games in their regions, and we will pair that information with other reports being generated in order to build more accurate and in-depth player profiles. If you want to know what pitches a prospect throws, how fast he throws them, and from what arm slot, we are going to provide you with that information, and we are going to keep it updated. Our goal is to provide you with the most comprehensive coverage available by the most convenient means, and once we cut the ribbon on this construction site, you are going to understand why I feel so confident about this.  Turns out, change isn’t as scary as I once thought.

Jason Parks is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jason's other articles. You can contact Jason by clicking here

Related Content:  Prospects,  Scouting,  Minor Leagues,  News

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