Bone up on the basics of scouting before the draft.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
Revisit the first part of Kevin's scouting vocabulary primer, which covered the qualities that are evaluated when a scout looks at a prospect's hitting abilities. The piece was originally published as a Future Shock column on March 14, 2006.
In the final installment of the series, there's a look at rating the speed tool, a player's makeup, and the misuse of scouting jargon.
This article is a hodgepodge, a collection of sediments left at the bottom of the wine glass (or coffee cup, if you so desire). I’ll jump from the on-the-field identification and evaluation of the speed tool, discuss my definition of makeup and how it influences the developmental process, and I’ll put a bow on the baby with a brief criticism of those that misuse scouting terminology. It’s a pastiche of subordinate thoughts, but I would be remiss to let them float in the ether. Potpourri Prospectus!
The Need for Speed Speed is the preferred tool of the baseball pest: a player that uses a specific physical attribute to affect the chemistry of the on-field action. Speed can propel a player into professional baseball, and can disguise the overall effectiveness of that player while in the throes of the developmental process. Speed is not required for major-league success, but that isn’t to say speed is detrimental to a skill set; obviously, speed is a tool that is beneficial to possess. But speed is a secondary tool, a catalytic tool, and the evaluation of that tool, while tangible and painless to scout, often clouds the painting of the prospect in question. Speed is a tool with psychotropic properties.
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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.
A conversation with the veteran scout from the D'backs organization.
In the past, scouts have been called the lifeblood of baseball, and even with the increased emphasis on statistical analysis in today's game, they remain a vital part of a team's success. The best of them, like Arizona's Joe Bohringer, incorporate both analytics and traditional scouting methods as they evaluate talent. Bohringer joined the Diamondbacks in 2006, and has a degree from the MIT Sloan School of Management and previously served as an Area Scouting Supervisor for the Mariners and as the Senior Manager of Player Development for the Dodgers. The 2008 season will be his 19th in professional baseball.
Kevin gives us a scouting vocabulary primer, starting with what gets evaluated when looking at a prospect's hitting abilities.
While I've only published seven pieces so far at Baseball Prospectus, I've received a fair amount of feedback from people asking about some of the terminology I use. So I'm taking the next three days to delve into the scouting process and discuss some of the lingo used. Today, I start the discussion by looking at position prospects.
It's not too early to look ahead to the 2006 Draft, which expects to have few position players taken in the first round.
It's only March, and the 2006 Major League Draft is nearly three months away, but it's never too early to check with the talent evaluators to get an early look at which players are gaining and slipping on early boards. The high-school season has barely begun for most teams, but the college season is six weeks in for some teams, offering plenty of opportunity for players to make an early impression. Overall, this year's talent is weaker than it's been in previous years, particularly among position players. "Last year, we had Alex Gordon, Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Braun," said one National League scout. "This year, there is just nothing in that class when it comes to college hitters." One American League front-office executive speculated that as many as 22 of the 30 first-round picks in June could be pitchers, while a scouting director remarked, "Even that number might be a little low." Again, it's early, and as a scout based on the East Coast put it, "We still have lots of times to see these guys. Somewhere between now and June, some guy will start exploding and everyone will suddenly be all over him . . . we just don't know who that guy is yet."