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September 20, 2012

Baseball Prospectus News

Introducing the BP Prospect Team

by Ben Lindbergh and Jason Parks

It’s been almost three months since a cryptic instant message from Kevin Goldstein appeared on my screen: “Just had a weird thing this afternoon.” That was my first indication that we might have some remodeling to do. Fortunately, we had a capable successor in place, and once we knew we had to make changes, Jason Parks’ presence made the transition smooth. Our first priority has been to keep the content you’re used to coming: Bradley Ankrom has adopted (and added to) the Minor League Update, Hudson Belinsky has covered The Call-Up, and Jason has coordinated a tag-team approach to the Monday Morning Ten Pack while beginning his preparations for the prospect rankings process.

Now that we’ve solidified the staples, we can expand and experiment. Over the past few weeks, Jason, Joe Hamrahi, and I have drawn upon our own experience and the input of others to put together a bigger prospect staff than we've had at any point in BP's past. The talented team we're introducing today will allow us to increase the volume of our prospect coverage without compromising its quality. We know you still want to see the same stuff we’ve been doing, and we’ll be bringing you even more of it. But we’ll also be branching out. The additional voices in the room will give us the freedom to try a whole host of new things, from frequent scout quote collections to roundtable discussions and prospect debates to information on levels of competition and aspects of the player development process that BP has barely delved into. We hope you’ll enjoy joining us on this journey, and we’ll welcome your feedback along the way.

And with that, I present Jason Parks, who’ll give you a guided tour of the new talent.—Ben Lindbergh

On Friday, August 31st, the fedora-wearing icon of Baseball Prospectus departed for an icon-appropriate job with the Houston Astros, taking with him the pride of a successful tenure and leaving behind a legacy the size of his enormous body of work. I was fortunate enough to receive a push on the back and a slap on the cheek from the powers that be, propelling me from the comfort of the shadows to the pressures of the spotlight, as I’m now tasked with aiding in the design of the site’s minor-league plan without the benefit of its original architect.

With a thousand ideas each requiring thousand steps to execute, we needed a thousand soldiers to transform the conceptual ramblings of an overwhelmed lunatic into a coherent construction. A site is only as good as its staff, and the prospect and player development staff at Baseball Prospectus is deep, armed with specific skill-sets to take the coverage above and beyond anywhere it’s been before. The game has officially changed. We aren’t in the business of replacing a king. We are in the business of building a bigger and better kingdom.

We’ve promised big news, but only hinted at the future, setting the stage for the big reveal when the moment was right and the parties involved were secured. Well, the moment is right. I’d like to take a few minutes and properly announce each new member of our prospect staff, delivering a brief bio and a snapshot look at what tools they are bringing to the table, as well as re-introduce key members of the team that already call Baseball Prospectus home. You won’t find a better collection of talent this side of a pro scouting department.  It’s an honor and a privilege for me not only to work alongside this robust crew, but to be the one that gets to put their names on this page. Speaking of which:

The New Faces

Jason A. Churchill: Jason is an analyst at ESPN Insider and the founder and executive editor at ProspectInsider.com, covering scouting and player development. You aren’t going to find many prospect writers with his combination of scouting skills and industry contacts. Jason will be a weekly contributor to the site and will have a heavy hand and a loud voice in the prospect ranking process. You can follow Jason on Twitter @ProspectInsider.

Nick Faleris: Nick specializes in player evaluation through scouting and data analysis and has provided MLB draft coverage and scouting analysis for the past four years through his scouting service DiamondScape Scouting, a division of DiamondScape Baseball LLC.  He has served as an associate scout for a National League organization in the Midwest region for the 2011, 2012, and the beginning of the 2013 draft seasons. Additionally, Nick has provided pro bono recruiting assistance at the collegiate level periodically since 2007.  Aspects of Nick's analysis have been made public in the past through DiamondScapeScouting.com.

Nick has been practicing law in the field of structured finance since 2006 and was a member of, and published author for, the Journal of International Law and Business while attending the Northwestern University School of Law. He is licensed to practice in New York and Wisconsin. You can follow Nick on Twitter @NickJFaleris.

Chris Mellen: The 2002 Tufts University graduate joined SoxProspects.com in 2007 and began writing about Red Sox prospects shortly after that.  Chris writes the website's scouting reports and authors scouting features based on his first-hand observations, along with interactions with professional and amateur scouts.  He is also a part-owner of the website, where he collaborates on the player rankings and helps manage the operations of the business. You can follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisMellen.

Mark Anderson: From 1998 to 2003, Mark pitched at the collegiate level for Clarkson University in northern New York. After college, he began working as a Featured Minor League Writer for TigsTown.com, focusing on scouting and analyzing Detroit Tigers prospects. His work for TigsTown.com continues today as the Managing Editor and Director of Scouting. As he developed his scouting acumen, Mark worked as a Senior Minor League Analyst for Scout.com from 2009 to 2011, developing prospect rankings and reports for the annual Scout.com Prospect Guide. In November 2011 Mark founded his own scouting site, BaseballProspectNation.com, where he continues to work today. You can follow Mark on Twitter @ProspectMark.

A Few Familiar Faces

Dan Evans: As President/CEO of Evans Baseball Consulting, Dan Evans has a unique and valuable perspective. He has been in the game for 30 years and has been a decision-maker on both sides of the table, working both as a club’s senior executive and as a player agent. A pioneer in using technology for baseball analysis, Evans orchestrated a complete and successful rebuilding of the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise during his time as their general manager and has the second-best won-loss record (.548) of any Dodgers GM. Dan has been involved in the amateur acquisition process for players such as Frank Thomas, Robin Ventura, Jack McDowell, Matt Kemp, Chad Billingsley, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Sanchez, Russell Martin, Anthony Gose, and Dante Bichette, Jr. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DanEvans108.

Joe Hamrahi: In addition to being our fearless leader, CEO, and bodyguard, Joe also has legit scouting chops, having graduated from the Kansas City Royals’ scout school. Look for Joe to step from behind the curtain more in 2013, bringing his brand of eye-witness talent evaluation to the page. You can read about Joe’s Scout School experiences in a four-part series at Baseball Daily Digest and follow him on Twitter @JHamrahi.

Bradley Ankrom: Bradley Ankrom has written about player development and the draft for Baseball Prospectus since 2011. In addition to his regular articles, Bradley also contributes to the Baseball Prospectus annual and develops applications such as the Prospect Tracker and Transactions Browser for the web site. When he isn't scouring box scores or writing long, convoluted SQL queries, Bradley can be found working as a baseball analyst at Bloomberg Sports in New York City. You can follow Bradley on Twitter @BradleyAnkrom.

Hudson Belinsky: Hudson Belinsky is the bloglord at Halos Daily, where he writes about all things Angels, and covers the minor leagues and amateur baseball in the Northeast. Hudson lives in Ithaca, NY, where he's a college student studying communication with a focus in linguistics. He authors the Prospect Profile at Baseball Prospectus and contributes to The Week In Quotes. You can follow Hudson on Twitter @Hudsonbelinsky.

Jason Parks: Native Texan; manager of minor-league and player development content for Baseball Prospectus; known to make questionable decisions in public places; Martin Kove loyalist/apologist; inflated ego; quality haircut. That’s it. You can follow me on Twitter @ProfessorParks.

This is who we are at the present, and by the time 2013 arrives, we will have added a few more names to the roster. We have received numerous applications from prospective prospect writers, and if you haven’t contacted us yet, we still want to hear from you. We plan on having eyes and ears in various locations around the country, and if you have scouting chops and want to put them to the test during the 2013 minor-league season, I want to see your name on an email in my inbox.

We are building a coverage monster here at Baseball Prospectus, complete with size and strength and enough sex appeal to woo the village beauty into our basement for a generous portion of prospect loving. If you like to read about Minor League Baseball and player development, you are going to have at least an article a day to wet your whistle, and at certain times of the year, prepare your whistle to be hit with a flood. This isn’t yesterday’s Baseball Prospectus. This is tomorrow’s.—Jason Parks

Join Jason for a BP chat today at 1 PM ET. Bring your questions, comments, and effusive praise.

Ben Lindbergh is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Ben's other articles. You can contact Ben by clicking here
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,  Announcements

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

BP Comment Quick Links

Eddie Bajek

I've known Mark for a while through online circles. Prospect knowledge? Definitely. Sex appeal? Notsomuch. Looking forward to the new coverage!

Sep 20, 2012 03:02 AM
rating: 2

Love the determination BP has shown to improve! Can't wait to hear what the new additions have to say! And round table open discussions?! Yes!

Sep 20, 2012 03:40 AM
rating: 2

Agree 100%. Roundtables and the like are a great idea, as it will be especially interesting to highlight when views of a prospect diverge within BP. And the scouts' comments are a great feature -- glad they will be expanded too!

Sep 20, 2012 04:13 AM
rating: 0

Clarkson! My neck of the woods.

Sep 20, 2012 04:17 AM
rating: 1
Mark Anderson

Let's Go Tech!

Sep 20, 2012 07:48 AM
rating: 1

I think oe thing that would be nice to know sooner rather than later is the intended structure of the off-season rankings. Kevin would start team Top 20s around Nov 1 and roll them out steadily through the end of Feb, I guess.

I think it's been mentioned that team lists are something that will continue. Are the teams going to be divided amongst these people and they'll be the individual experts on those teams? Are they going to be the product of a consensus approach perhaps without an indivial byline even, like the BP Annual chapeters?

I'm sure you haven't worked out many of these details yet yourselves, which is fine. Every update is loaded with generalities about how great it's going to be, but at some point soon I hope there is a transition to the specific nuts and bolts of what it's actually going to be.

Sep 20, 2012 04:27 AM
rating: 0

Yeah, it's not like they've told you anything like the list of people they have employed or things like that. Nothing specific at all there.

Sep 20, 2012 05:10 AM
rating: 6
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

I don't think that we need to provide specifics to every move we plan on making. The prospect rankings will continue, and the product will be on par with previous efforts; although, it will have a new structure and assembly process. With a deep rolodex of industry sources and a talented collection of in-house talent, we will produce a comprehensive and exciting series of prospect rankings, I will guarantee you that. It's not going to be delivered exactly like Kevin's product, but the work will be as thoughtful and as thorough.

Part of the excitement of a dining experience is waiting for the meal to arrive. You don't want to spoil the magic by watching the kitchen create the sausage.

Sep 20, 2012 05:22 AM

Looks like a great collection of talent and I look forward to seeing what is delivered. For what's its worth, I loved the "under 25" rankings and hope that will continue to be part of the package.

Sep 20, 2012 05:36 AM
rating: 5
Bradley Ankrom

I'm a big fan of those, too, and expect them to continue.

Sep 20, 2012 06:47 AM
rating: 0
Eddie Bajek

I would love to see them baseball-wide, not just team-specific. I also understand that would be a huge challenge.

Sep 20, 2012 06:59 AM
rating: 2
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

We are going to change it this year. Instead of ranking the best "under 25" in a system, we are going to rank the best "under 10" in a given region. I'm going to spend the off-season scouting the coach pitch leagues.

Yes. The "Under 25" will continue. I love that feature.

Sep 20, 2012 07:04 AM

KG was the single biggest reason I always renewed my subscription so I was sad to to see him go. Fortunately, him working for my favorite team eased the "loss". That's not meant as a knock on anybody that has worked or currently works at BP. I enjoy all of the content. That being said, I am really looking forward to seeing what the fresh blood brings to the table. I am confident things will move forward in a positive direction. After all, my future fantasy/strat baseball success is riding on your shoulders.

Sep 20, 2012 06:00 AM
rating: 2

Thanks, guys, for the info. I look forward to the new coverage. I'm sure it will be great.

FWIW, several years ago Kevin did a series around August where he ranked prospects by position. Each article was a top ten, I believe. Is there any chance of this type of ranking system rising from the ashes?

Sep 20, 2012 06:18 AM
rating: 4
Scott Gilroy

Mark Anderson is a smart addition but I would expect nothing less.

Sep 20, 2012 06:19 AM
rating: 1

I have to say that I was concerned about what would happen to prospect coverage when Kevin left, and like many others, the content that Kevin and Jason provided was one of the main reasons that I subscribed.

I'm very pleased and reassured that BP appear to have thought quite deeply about what they should do now, and have brought in a range of different folks with lots of different expertise. I'm sure it's not going to be exactly the same as before, but I'm feeling a lot more comfortable that we'll get comprehensive and high quality coverage of the prospect world.

Sep 20, 2012 06:20 AM
rating: 2

I agree Behemoth. I look forward to the work of all the new/existing prospect writers.

Sep 20, 2012 07:14 AM
rating: 0

Part of me feels like this is saying it takes 4 people to replace Kevin. But that feeling is overwhelmed by the one that says what is being offered up now will even surpass what KG and Jason did on their own.

So here's to Jason and the Prospectnauts!

Sep 20, 2012 07:20 AM
rating: 1
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

Kevin, much like Keith Law and JIm Callis, are rare freaks that bring an incredible skill-set to the table. They stand out for being the best because of years of thoughtful and insightful work, and a credibility within the industry that you can't just purchase at the store or assume because of a title. You can't replace individual talent like that should they depart, so we aren't going to try.

We are going to focus on the content and coverage, using all existing and available resources to do so. It would be foolish to try to replace Kevin Goldstein the man. Our goal is to create our own identity and build our own reputation through quality content that we hope will surpass anything offered on the site before. We have lofty goals, but we plan on achieving them.

Sep 20, 2012 07:33 AM

I hear ya' Jason .... I appreciate the thoughtful response.

Sep 20, 2012 07:45 AM
rating: 0

I will gladly pay the extra annual dues all this will surely require!

Sep 20, 2012 07:40 AM
rating: 0
Richard Bergstrom

Out of curiosity, why so many prospect writers? I also hear about the pending satellite coverage for local prospect coverage.

Not saying it's a bad thing, per se, but why not grab a few statisticians/sabremetricians?

Sep 20, 2012 07:43 AM
rating: -3

Because the people demand it, and the people must be fed.

Either that, or it's just that Kevin is very difficult to replace, and the thrust of the option they've gone for is to get several part-time guys to write about things they know lots about.

Didn't they get Russell Carleton back recently, and Max Marchi? They're pretty sabrish, no?

Sep 20, 2012 08:00 AM
rating: 3
BP staff member Russell A. Carleton
BP staff

Why yes they did...

Sep 20, 2012 10:13 AM
Richard Bergstrom

I love Russell. Though, truth be told, since he's been back he's been writing more about how he, as a sabremetrician, perceives intangibles and other topics that came up while he worked for a MLB team. I don't think he's had a quantitative sabremetrics article since he's been back.

And hey, I like Max a lot too. Eh maybe I'm just looking at things wrong but Marchi seemed to be brought on as a straight replacement for Fast. All things considered, he's done a great job. But, it's not like Fast (or, if you want to go farther back, Fox or Silver etc.) left and they replaced each one with three sabremetricians.

Sep 21, 2012 09:22 AM
rating: -2
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

Kevin was one of our few full-time employees. He wrote much more often that Mike, so we lost more content when he left.

Sep 21, 2012 09:39 AM
Richard Bergstrom

I didn't know that. I know Mike didn't write a lot, but I figured it was because he was spending time researching.

I also know there were people like Jay who wrote a lot but passed off things like the Hit List to others before he left.

Sep 21, 2012 12:42 PM
rating: 0
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

It was because he was spending time researching, at least in part, but he was writing roughly once every two weeks before he left. Kevin was writing almost every day.

Sep 21, 2012 12:47 PM
BP staff member Joe Hamrahi
BP staff

This is the introduction of the prospect team. We felt we needed to address this now in light of KG's departure. As we do every year, when December and January roll around, we'll introduce new talent we're bringing on. We are always on the lookout for quality personnel, whether it be in the area of sabermetrics, analytics, mechanics, prospects, or fantasy. This year alone we brought on heavy hitter like Dan Brooks, Harry Pavlidis, Doug Thorburn, and Dan Evans. We also brought back a great analyst in Russell Carleton, and Colin Wyers started his own weekly column. Not to mention the fact that Ben Lindbergh is now full-time and has tripled his statistical and analytical output. So, I'm pretty confident we're not neglecting many areas of coverage. We're up to about 35 staff people right now. The minor league/prospect team makes up about 15-20% of that...not much more than any other area.

Sep 20, 2012 08:07 AM
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

What Joe said. We'll consider anyone we think will improve the site, but Kevin's departure left a void on the prospect side, and we want to do more than just fill it--we'd like to go above and beyond what we offered before. We're certainly not cutting back on statistical/sabermetric content, which we've also offered more of over the past year. BP has never had more than two regular prospect writers on staff at any one time, so if anything, it's an area that's been underrepresented. We talk all the time about the best approach being a blend of stats and scouts, so now we're walking the walk.

Sep 20, 2012 08:13 AM
Richard Bergstrom

KG's hard to replace and really did a lot. I just saw the Prospect Team and for some reason I wondered if BaseballProspectus became BaseballAmerica ;)

Sep 21, 2012 09:38 AM
rating: 0

As KG said on one podcast, you are just killing it, Joe. BP's gone from a great niche site to an indispensable behemoth. Thanks, Joe!

Sep 20, 2012 10:38 AM
rating: 5
BP staff member Joe Hamrahi
BP staff

Wow, thank you for the very kind words. Too kind in fact. We just try to give people enjoyable baseball coverage. We love this stuff as much as you guys do so it's important to us for our product to have value. I wake up each morning looking to read what our guys wrote too. If I didn't, there would be a problem! Seriously, though, the people we have here really care, and we do take people's comments and opinions to heart.

Sep 20, 2012 11:18 AM
BP staff member Chris Mellen
BP staff

I will add that I'm looking for this new plan for prospect coverage to get going. I think people are really going to enjoy it and the information, evaluations, different point of views, etc. are going to make it cutting edge. Its going to be big. Jason brings a strong passion to this, a #want if you may, that's a big driving force. I'm excited to get to know the readers out there and be a part of continuing to bring you guys top notch prospect coverage.

Sep 20, 2012 08:03 AM

"... different points of view ..." Yeah, this is what's starting to appeal to me about this new era of prospect coverage --- the opportunity to sift through differing, hopefully even conflicting opinions.

Sep 20, 2012 23:24 PM
rating: 0
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

Yep. Just make sure that you always believe mine. #want

Sep 21, 2012 12:35 PM

Many congratulations to the new voices being added to this team. I'm familiar with most of you already through reading and admiring your existing body of work at both BP in some cases and throughout these here Interwebs in general.

I'm looking forward to the eventual rollout of the new look in rankings this fall/winter as well as the coverage of my favorite part of the baseball universe that will follow. While I'll miss Kevin, the tactic BP has chosen in moving forward is appropriate recognition that as KG did not grow on a tree, a successor to his mantle would not so easily be found.

Sep 20, 2012 08:26 AM
rating: 0

Guys, thanks for everything you do. You make the baseball experience so much better.

Sep 20, 2012 09:14 AM
rating: 4

The last two articles I read on this site were Adam Sobsey's glorious recap of the Triple-A championship game, and this introduction to the new, expanded prospect team.

BP is the Texas Rangers' farm system of baseball web sites.

Sep 20, 2012 11:02 AM
rating: 3

Talented lineup. Some are familiar and some are like new presents under the tree! There was one word I did not see - "podcast". "Up and In" is dead and appropriately so. There is, however, great value in not just reading about prospects but to listening to people whose opinions are respected talk about prospects. I hope it is, at least, under discussion!

Sep 20, 2012 11:06 AM
rating: 1
BP staff member Joe Hamrahi
BP staff

A new podcast absolutely is being discussed! It probably won't happen until next season at the earliest, but there are some ideas being talked about.

Sep 20, 2012 11:13 AM

Looking forward to the continuation of the quality product KG brought to the table in the area of prospects.

KG is why I subscribed, but I'm willing to give the new staff a chance, and am confident they will not disappoint.

Sep 20, 2012 12:07 PM
rating: 0

Sounds great.
Now how about a new website format and portal to match the content.

Sep 20, 2012 12:24 PM
rating: -1

Sounds like great stuff. My only request would be for Professor Parks to bring back his "Present, Future, Longshot" series where he discussed the present best player at a position, the prospects that could be the next big thing, and then the longshot prospects. That wad a great series.

Sep 20, 2012 12:42 PM
rating: 4

Well wlecome guys. Here is an example of what you'll get with your new job. Profar or Machado... any thoughts ?

Sep 20, 2012 17:49 PM
rating: 0
BP staff member Hudson Belinsky
BP staff

My answer is yes.

Sep 20, 2012 17:53 PM

Kevin was the number one reason that I subscribed to BP, so I was quite dissapointed to hear that he was leaving. That said, I couldn't be more excited about the direction you guys are taking the prospect coverage. I am very much looking forward to the prospect rankings and all future minor league coverage. Great work guys!

Sep 20, 2012 20:29 PM
rating: 0
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