In 2013, Jason Parks unveiled the Advanced Scouting Series as a means to take an eye normally geared towards the minor leagues and turn its critical nature towards the oncoming playoff contenders, providing a glimpse into how granular major league teams get when analyzing players. I loved this idea, not only because it was new and fresh, but because it was ambitious.
When an industry contact suggested we take up the idea in advance of the MLB Trade Deadline, I think I agreed before they finished their sentence. It might not be as new or fresh as it was in 2013, but it’s something we don’t see enough, and it remains ambitious. It has the added benefit of allowing our evaluators to reset their baseline for what “it” looks like. Over the course of a minor league season, our team gets to as many games as they possibly can and, by and large, they see a great many players who are not major leaguers. It can be easy to lose the refined sense of just how good major-league average really is. Just how many tools major-league bench players have. Bearing down on bona fide major leaguers and getting down to the nitty gritty on what enables them to function provides a valuable refresh to our team.
While Parks’ original reports focused on players in advance of the playoffs, we’ve maintained the structure of the reports for the most part, substituting a portion at the end for a summation/recommendation to acquire, as these were framed as reports ahead of the trade deadline. The granularity of the reports remains, with an intense focus on how these players do what they do, and who they’ve done it against. The reports are composed of in-person views supplemented by video of games surrounding the in-person look. They are labor-heavy, but we believe more than worth the work. We hope you agree. —Craig Goldstein