Hey look, another top prospect headed to Milwaukee.
The Situation: Though they entered the year with inscrutable expectations, the Brewers find themselves on top of the heap that is the NL Central. Recently, however, they’ve had several of their key hitters go down with injury (Ryan Braun, Jonathan Villar) leading to the promotion of one of their top prospects, Lewis Brinson. Luckily for the Brewers, Villar’s injury came right after the projected Super 2 deadline, meaning they’ll get to pay Brinson less when it comes to arbitration.
The Background: The Brewers acquired Brinson in 2016 from the Rangers in the Jonathan Lucroy trade, alongside pitcher Luis Ortiz and, later, outfielder Ryan Cordell. The Rangers drafted Brinson in their loaded 2012 class out of Coral Springs high school in Florida, taking the lanky outfielder with their first-round pick, 29th overall.
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The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport's annual report card shows that MLB continues to struggle with racial and gender diversity.
This week, The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) released their 2017 report card for Major League Baseball’s hiring and employment practices regarding racial and gender diversity. When grading MLB, TIDES looks at a variety of positions at the league level, the team level, and the organization itself, including the makeup of on-field or field-related staff as well as executives.
Their findings were not surprising to anyone who has been following the recent news cycles around hiring within Major League Baseball. While the league itself (specifically, the commissioner’s office, MLB Advanced Mecia, and MLB Network) scored the highest in both racial and gender diversity, the gender diversity number specifically dropped from 2016. On a team level, the gender diversity situation was even worse, with senior team administration receiving a D+ and professional administration a C-.
If we break these numbers down further, and look at how many of the women filling 27 percent of the “team senior administration” and 28.1 percent of the “team professional administration” roles are in positions that are—while incredibly important to the health of the team as a business—not related to the product on the field, the world is even bleaker. TIDES provides a breakdown of every woman and person of color in these senior roles, and the list of women only has six out of 82 women in roles that could be considered to have an impact on-field (athletic trainers, coaches, or scouts), and two of these are general “vice president” positions, with two others being “general partner” roles.
When we look at the 28 percent of women employed in “professional administration roles,” we have to take into account that TIDES includes specialists, technicians, analysts, engineers, and programmers alongside “assistant managers, coordinators, supervisors, and administrators in business operations such as marketing, promotions, publications, and various other departments.” When restricted to, again, roles that directly impact the product on the field, that 28 percent is almost certainly much lower.
While MLB overall scored a B for racially diverse hiring practices in 2017, this again represented a falling off from their score in 2016—somehow, in a single year, the league lost 8.5 points off their TIDES-given score. People of color fill 44.3 percent of coaching roles, but as we know, only three current MLB managers are men of color. The league office employs the next-highest level of people of color in all positions, at 28.1 percent, with the teams falling off steeply from that—only 11.7 percent of vice president or equivalent positions.
Baseball is trying to reach a bigger, younger audience, but its marketing has yet to reach the 21st century.
For an industry with no direct competitors, a brighter inside future than ever, and a very owner-and-league-friendly system of dispensing with profits, Major League Baseball sure seems convinced that they’re dying. And for a company publicly despairing, they don’t seem to have any understanding of what little things they could do to make life easier on themselves. Nowhere is this more apparent than in their seeming inability to move their marketing efforts into the 21st century.
No matter what kind of organization you run, from a small start-up to a multinational telecom, the fundamentals of the game are the same: How do you communicate your message to the people you want to reach? How do you determine who you want to communicate with? What image of yourself do you want to communicate?
These three questions are what it all boils down to. It is extremely easy to get lost in the day-to-day of marketing, in the buzz of new ideas and what’s “hot” at the moment. It’s more difficult to refine down to the fundamentals.
MLB parted ways with the Korn Ferry search firm as it continues to struggle filling front office roles with minority candidates.
It’s Thanksgiving, which means it’s time to travel several hundred miles to have an awkward dinner with your family. It’s a season of eating too much, rehashing old family arguments that were silly to begin with and even sillier 20 years later, and dealing with Uncle Larry. You know Uncle Larry. The one who voted for that candidate whom you can’t stand and who would now like to take a few moments to describe why he did so.
We here at Baseball Prospectus know that you’ve probably come to the site to get away from it all and to think about topics that aren’t so emotionally loaded. So, as a public service, we figured we’d write about race. It’s OK, both our Uncles Larry voted for Rick Porcello too.
Last week, Bob Nightengale of USA Todayreported that Major League Baseball is no longer working with executive search firm Korn Ferry, whom the league had retained a little more than a year ago to help teams identify racial and ethnic minorities to fill front office vacancies. When Korn Ferry was hired, there was a growing concern internally that nearly all of the top executives in the game were white, and MLB wanted to do something about it.
To bolster their efforts, MLB created an internal Diversity Pipeline Initiative, headed by former Pirates director of baseball personnel Tyrone Brooks. In the past year, though, several general managers have been politely excused from their duties and havebeenreplaced, mostly by 30-something, statistically-savvy Caucasian guys who used to work for the Cleveland Indians.
Toronto takes a 2-0 lead over Texas as the ALDS heads to Canada.
Here’s the thing: The Texas Rangers are a good team. Maybe they’re a good team that was helped a little by whatever luck or deity-type-thing you prefer in the regular season, but they’re a good team. The Toronto Blue Jays are also a good team. Their luck was maybe a little more confined to simple human err in a one-game playoff, but luck it still was, and so they found themselves in Arlington these last two games, riding on a wave of momentum that seemed like it could take on any day’s pitcher.
If you believe the earnest quotes of every Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays player or coach, there won’t be a basebrawl during this series because everyone very much wants to play baseball and win baseball games. We’ll see how long that decision actually stands, though.
Adrian Beltre is a Hall of Fame player, but his impact goes beyond the numbers.
There has never been anyone like Adrián Beltré.
This is where one would normally jump into a dissection of his incredible talent and on-field accomplishments, and then end in a rigorous whacking-over-the-head with his Hall of Fame-worthy accreditations. Maybe we should, anyway, but what really stands out when Adrián Beltré plays baseball is joy.
Beltré is one of the best third basemen to ever play the game, with one of the more unusual careers. He’s an offensive dynamo, a defensive wizard, and his successes on the biggest stage could be an excuse for him to be any average dour and over-serious veteran player--or at least, the kind of personality void that happens from prolonged exposure to the media.
Instead, Beltré approaches games like there’s nothing else he’d rather do. He’s one of the rare people in the game who can treat it with the levity it deserves without inciting the ire of less-forgiving opponents. He approaches every plate appearance with purpose--with dedication to his craft and an honoring of his talent--but imbued in all that is joy.
It’s difficult to talk about this kind of thing without tipping straight over into raw sentiment, something that has its place in this game, but not overmuch. It might even be easy to diminish the accomplishments of the player in over-simplifying him to a set of reactions and meme-able GIFs, instead of taking it all in as a whole and marveling at both the humor and the pride.