The head of Seattle's new Department of Statistical Research elaborates on the ins and outs and evolution of baseball analysis.
A new era of Mariners baseball began when Seattle hired Jack Zduriencik as their general manager following the 2008 season, an era that will include an increased emphasis on statistical analysis. Helping to lead that charge will be Tony Blengino, who previously served as Milwaukee's assistant director of amateur scouting under Zduriencik, and now holds the title of special assistant to the general manager, baseball operations. A chief financial officer and author of the book Future Stars, before joining organized baseball in 2003, Blengino will head Seattle's newly created Department of Statistical Research. Blengino talked about his new role, and how the Mariners hope to build a championship-caliber team through a perfect marriage between traditional scouting and statistical analysis.
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As the deadline to sign 2008's draft picks nears, what do so many big-buck standoffs really signify?
With four days left until the August 15 deadline for teams to sign their draft picks, more than a third of the June draft’s first-round picks remain unsigned, including four of the first five players taken. As Kevin Goldstein noted last week, the implementation of that deadline pushed many players to wait until the deadline to reach an agreement, and those that waited did so successfully. So for many players—such as Buster Posey and Eric Hosmer—this may go down to Friday at midnight.
The influx of international talent of the game has a relationship to the ways in which the industry works with all amateur talent.
The completion of the Little League World Series served to remind me of the growth in international baseball. There's reason to think about that, now more than ever now that 28 percent of baseball players in 2006 were born outside of the United States, the highest percentage of all time. With the introduction of the World Baseball Classic, Major League Baseball now actively promotes the game around the world. The hoped-for growth in the popularity of the game promises to expand the talent available to teams, which should make the game even stronger.
Do teams that went without rookies for extended periods of time have something to tell about organizational behavior?
I attend perhaps two baseball games a month during the regular season. I really ought to go to more, because a lot of my column topics come when I'm sharing a couple of beers with a friend and exchanging ideas, enjoying the leisurely pace of live baseball without the distractions of TV or the net. On Tuesday night, I took in the Sox-Royals game with Josh Orenstein of the MLBPA, and one of the subjects that came up was how long a team can conceivably go without developing a rookie.