The dawn of a new spring is always a time of change for the Baseball Prospectus Prospect Team. As we move from producing list content back into our regular season mode, we always take a step back to recalibrate our coverage and team for the new season.
What does this mean for you, our reader? We’re glad you asked!
Here’s a rundown of our planned 2019 season content:
- The Monday Morning Ten Pack will continue basically unchanged. Every Monday, from April through September, you’ll read ten reports on prospects that have caught our eye in the past week.
- We’re planning on greatly expanding our Eyewitness Reports this season. Everyone lives for more scouting reports, right? We will have staff deployed to just about every stadium where professional affiliated ball is played, and we’ll be logging more reports than ever before.
- Notes From The Field will be the place to find shorter-form scouting information. These will include accounts from looks that don’t quite warrant or allow a full report, brief commentary on lower-profile and lower-projection players, and updates on adjustments and development (or lack thereof) by players we’ve already written up.
- We will also continue our transactional content: The Call-Up, Transaction Analysis, and the Minor League Update.
- We are going to be writing a lot more full-length articles. A lot will come from the three of us, but also from the rest of our staff. We’ll explore the processes and challenges of scouting and grading young baseball players. We’ll get into the mechanics of both how those players play and how scouts evaluate their present and project their future performance. We might even grade up a some pastores o trés along the way.
Here are some changes we’ll be making in relation to that content:
- We are simplifying our grading system. As we have occasionally noted in the past, the Likely/OFP system we’ve been using really only covered the “50th percentile” to “75th percentile” slice of outcomes anyway. That was a small enough gap that there was exactly a one grade gap the vast majority of the time, and the few times it wasn’t exactly one grade it was a half-tick on either side. Instead, we’re going to consolidate our assessments into a single expected future grade. We’re doing this because, well, this is how casual prospect discussion happens anyway. When you talk about a guy as a “role 6,” that number represents a reasonable upside role grade. And at the end of the day, that’s what we’re all interested in. We will continue to lay out the risk factor that is baked into each role grade, and, in cases where the distribution of outcomes is unusual, we’ll tell you why.
- Our scouting reports will also default to future grades. What we project for players is much more important than what they currently are. When a player’s present skillset is outlying or otherwise notable our writers will tell you why.
- We’re going to try to tell you when we don’t know things. Everyone gets unrepresentative or incomplete looks at players. We do too. You aren’t always going to get a good dig to first on everyone. You can watch an outfielder for a week and never get a true throw. Players play hurt. Players will try out a new swing or a new pitch in game. “I don’t know” is not a popular answer, but it is sometimes the right one.
- We’re going to try to present a wider range of opinions. Sometimes, our evaluations don’t agree with each other. That debate can make for some of the most interesting player discussion. We’ve said in the past that if we published our conference calls, email chains, or Slack transcripts that it would be some of our best material. It’ll be in more formal ways, but we’re going to do that more.
- As hinted at above, we’ve significantly expanded our staff, and two of us have new titles that reflect new roles: Wilson is the new Editor of Prospect Content and Jarrett is the new Prospect Evaluation Coordinator. You’ll meet everyone else below. There are a few new names you’ll recognize, but also many you won’t. We’ve tried to bring in as wide a range of life and baseball experiences as possible, which includes folks with traditional backgrounds like scouting and prospect writing, but also people coming from a different point of view who have interesting ideas about baseball and player development. We’re very excited about the new staff.
- We’re going to try to cover the scene even more comprehensively than we have in the past. We do have limitations, such as where people happen to live, but the core of our evaluation is live reports. We will continue to supplement that with video, industry sources, and yes, dreaded statistical analysis. But our goal is to lead the public-facing landscape in games seen. And that includes games from both the professional and amateur ranks.
We want to be the prospect coverage you want to read. We want to do interesting writing projects. We want to tackle the major issues in baseball and player development. We want to provide the most comprehensive grouping of live player coverage possible.
The three of us have all been wandering around this neck of the woods for a while now, and we’re looking forward to making this season’s the best, most complete prospect coverage we’ve ever put on the pages of Baseball Prospectus.
Thanks for reading,
Lead Prospect Writer
Editor of Prospect Content and Senior Prospect Writer
Player Evaluation Coordinator and Senior Prospect Writer
Mark Anderson has been a scout and staff writer for Baseball Prospectus since 2012. Based in Maynard, Massachusetts, he covers the Eastern, International, and New York-Penn Leagues for BP. He also regularly scouts and leads a team of evaluators focused on Detroit Tigers prospects as TigsTown’s Director of Scouting.
Jacob Bickman is based in Los Angeles and will cover the California League. He spent last summer as an intern with the Wareham Gatemen of the Cape Cod Baseball League. Jacob currently attends the University of Southern California.
Smith Brickner is a senior at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York, majoring in finance. He previously interned with the Elias Sports Bureau and O’Connell Sports Management, where he he assisted with contract negotiations on players including Mike Dunn, Jonathan Niese, and Ryan Hanigan. In addition to BP, he’ll also work as a data operations intern at Trackman in Connecticut during the 2019 season. He is thrilled to be reporting and writing on prospects throughout the northeast for your reading pleasure.
Kevin Carter will primarily cover the Texas League and occasionally the amateur draft out of North Texas. He is currently working as a business analyst and formerly worked as an Associate Amateur Scout covering the North Texas region.
Jenna Ciccotelli covers the International League for Baseball Prospectus. She is based in Boston and is a junior at Northeastern University, where she studies journalism.
Alexis Collins is based in Richmond, Virginia and will be contributing to Eastern League coverage, while also working as part of the stats team at Baseball Prospectus. She is a former contributor at 2080baseball.com. Alexis is currently working as a Business Performance Data Analyst and enjoys doing Crossfit.
Ricky Conti is briefly covering the Carolina League while finishing up his collegiate baseball career at Swarthmore College and majoring in Mathematics and Economics. Starting in the summer, he will be based out of Southern California and primarily covering the California League. Ricky was the winner of the 2018 Topps Ultimate Scout Contest and has been regularly attending minor league games for the past two years.
Spring Marie Cullen is a first year writer at Baseball Prospectus and a new addition to the Prospect Team. As a frequent contributor of the online entertainment publication Starry Constellation Magazine, she’s fine tuned her interview and reporting expertise, and is eager to make the jump into sports writing. Combining her passion for America’s favorite pastime and love of the written word, she’s come on board with the goal of shining a light on untapped talent. She loves a good underdog, even if she’s a diehard Yankee fan.
Scott Delp had a career as a teacher, guidance counselor and coach but has always been obsessed with baseball. When he retired and moved to Florida, he was determined to get involved in some way with the sport, and wrote for several websites and even did a weekly baseball-only radio talk show on the ESPN affiliate in St. Augustine for a couple of seasons until starting at BP two years ago. He’ll be covering the Southern and Florida State Leagues again this season, in addition to contributing on the fantasy team. He is probably the resident curmudgeon on staff, but promises he’s never chased anyone off his lawn.
Steve Givarz rejoins Baseball Prospectus this season. He will be focusing his coverage out of the Tampa area on the Florida State League and the Gulf Coast League.
Nathan Graham will be entering his fourth year covering the Midwest League for BP. He is currently working as a middle school science teacher and is based out of Southwest Indiana. His previous baseball experience includes associate amateur scouting for the Cincinnati Reds and advance video scouting for the Sydney Blue Sox of Australian Baseball League.
Samuel Hale is joining the Prospect Team in 2019, with a focus on the Texas League. When he’s not working or covering the minors, he fights crime at night as a mercurial yet chaotic neutral otter. Other interests include Japanese wrestling, vinyl records, and wondering whether the Dallas Stars will ever get that one piece they always seem to need.
Wilson Karaman is the Editor of Prospect Content. He’ll be keeping the trains running on time this year, working with our staff to ensure we’re hitting the games we need to hit, seeing the prospects we need to see, and writing about all of it in an interesting way. In addition to his editorial work, Wilson is a senior prospect writer. Based out of Los Angeles, he’ll again cover the California League in this, his sixth season at Baseball Prospectus.
Keanan Lamb is beginning his first year with BP after stints with the Blue Jays and Marlins minor league video departments, as well as writing scouting reports for a handful of teams and media outlets. Originally from the Pacific Northwest and a graduate of the University of Oregon, he resides in Jacksonville, Florida, where he enjoys amateur baseball and going to as many games in the Florida State League and Southern League as possible.
David Lee is based in South Carolina and Georgia. He has covered the South Atlantic League for several years with added coverage of the International League along with amateur ball in the two states. David was previously a sportswriter at The Augusta Chronicle, and now works in marketing and communications.
Jason Lefkowitz has been a professional baseball scout for three MLB organizations over the past seven years, evaluating players from high school to the majors. He was also a member of the selection committee for the Team Israel in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Prior to his time scouting, Jason was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator with two Division 1 baseball programs.
Marcus Meade has been writing about sports in some capacity for more than a decade. In that time, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism, a masters in English, and a doctorate in Rhetoric and Composition. As a day job, he works as a professor in the Writing and Rhetoric program at the University of Virginia.
Kate Morrison has been at Baseball Prospectus since 2014, working with the Prospect Team and the R&D department. In addition to providing Texas League coverage, Kate writes about the bigger minor league picture, the intersection of statistics and scouting, and women’s baseball. When not covering baseball, Kate can be found commenting on cycling, gymnastics and figure skating and working in social and digital media in the DFW Metroplex.
Tyler Oringer joins the Baseball Prospectus Prospect Team for his first season. Tyler joins the team after a year covering the Mets and their farm system for BP Mets. He is a senior at Boston University and has held various writing, editing and sports management positions at BU and outside of school. As a member of the Prospect Team, Tyler will cover and produce scouting reports out of the Cape Cod Baseball League while he spends the Summer of 2019 as an MLB Scout Liaison for the Orleans Firebirds. In addition to his work out of Cape Cod, Tyler will help with scouting MILB teams in the Massachusetts and New York area when needed.
Jeffrey Paternostro is the Lead Prospect Writer at Baseball Prospectus. As Sam Miller made very clear when offering him the job, he is responsible for 30 team lists, a national 101, a midseason 50, and org rankings, and then whatever else he wants to write. The whatever else can be found in his “The View From Behind the Backstop” column. He also co-hosts a Mets adjacent—and at times baseball-adjacent—podcast with Jarrett Seidler, For All You Kids Out There. You can usually find him at Eastern and New-York Penn League parks during the minor league season, bemoaning the cold, mid-ninth-inning pitching changes, and fireworks nights. He has been with Baseball Prospectus since 2015.
Keith Rader is based in Cincinnati, Ohio and beginning a third season with the BP Prospect Team. He spent six seasons in business operations with the Kansas City Royals, and graduated from the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau Scout School in 2015. A graduate of Arkansas State University and Southern Illinois University, he will be covering the Midwest, South Atlantic, and International Leagues throughout the 2019 season.
Jen Mac Ramos is a member of the Baseball Prospectus prospect team and the R&D team. By day, they work for a youth media nonprofit program. They’ll be covering the California League this season.
Nick Schaefer is Baseball Prospectus’ Minor League Editor. Based in New York City, he is that rarest of creatures: a baseball writer and a lawyer. He also co-hosts The Catbird Speaks, a podcast centered on the White Sox but broadly covering all things baseball. Previously, Nick was co-Editor In Chief of BP South Side. This will be his fourth season at BP.
Jarrett Seidler is the Player Evaluation Coordinator at Baseball Prospectus, as well as a senior prospect writer. He will work primarily out of the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions and write his theoretically weekly “Guarding the Lines” column. Along with Jeffrey Paternostro, he co-hosts For All You Kids Out There, a weekly BP podcast that covers the Mets, prospects, general baseball happenings, The Good Place, and whatever Becky Lynch does on Monday Night RAW. This is his fourth season contributing to BP.
Sumair Shah will primarily cover the PCL and West Coast amateur prospects. He is based out of the Seattle area and currently works at Driveline Baseball in the R&D department. Sumair played college baseball at Chapman University while studying Finance and Data Science.
Ben Spanier graduated from attending Major League Baseball games in the New York metropolitan area to attending minor league baseball games in the Piedmont plateau of the American South after studying economics at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina. Ben has spent the last two years taking copious notes on minor league happenings in Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and Burlington for Tall Pines Baseball Folio and now feels reasonably comfortable on the humid nights that make up the Carolina, Sally, and Appy League seasons.
Forest Stulting, a native of Greenville, S.C., graduated from Furman University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies. Since graduating, Stulting has worked with the Greenville Drive (2016-17) and Oklahoma City Dodgers (2018) in their respective media relations departments. Stulting also joined the Arizona Fall League’s media relations team for the 2018 fall season. In June of 2019, Stulting will begin classes at Northwestern’s Medill Graduate School of Journalism to earn his Masters of Sport Journalism.
Brandon Williams has scouted 350-plus Cal League games over the past three MILB seasons, along with amateur tournaments in California, Arizona, Georgia, and Florida. He is a proponent of undersized middle infielders, athleticism, and baseball instincts, and his favorite Cal League mascot is Bernie of the Inland Empire 66ers.
Matt Winkelman is joining Baseball Prospectus for his first season writing about prospects and the minor leagues. Previously he has written about the Phillies and prospects for Crashburn Alley, The Good Phight, Phuture Phillies, The Dynasty Guru, his own site Phillies Minor Thoughts, and way too much on Twitter.com. His interests focus more around how we think about prospects and development than which prospect is actually the best.
THE BP PROSPECT TEAM ON TWITTER
Mark Anderson: @ProspectMark
Jacob Bickman: @jbickman6
Smith Brickner: @SmithBrickner
Kevin Carter: @KevinWC7
Jenna Ciccotelli: @jennaciccotelli
Alexis Collins: @AlexisCBaseball
Ricky Conti: @rconti35
Spring Marie Cullen: @springin2action
Scott Delp: @frugalscott
Steve Givarz: @SteveGivarz
Nathan Graham: @nathangraham3
Samuel Hale: @thesamuelhale
Wilson Karaman: @vocaljavelins
Keanan Lamb: @keananlamb
David Lee: @David11Lee
Jason Lefkowitz: @jlefko02
Marcus Meade: @MarcusMeade
Kate Morrison: @unlikelyfanatic
Tyler Oringer: @TylerOringer
Jeffrey Paternostro: @jeffpaternostro
Jen Mac Ramos: @jenmacramos
Nick Schaefer: @Nick_BPSS
Jarrett Seidler: @jaseidler
Sumair Shah: @sumair_shah
Ben Spanier: @b_span2
Forest Stulting: @forest_stulting
Brandon Williams: @BallgameScout
Matt Winkelman: @Matt_Winkelman
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