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.