10/8/21 : Scouts Honor
Just some thoughts on observations over the past few years in watching minor league baseball. I’ve migrated from watching these games in the beginning from a results perspective to more of a “cause” view today. In my mind it’s the concept of how I believe a truly integrated baseball operations department should work.
Data and video capture are certainly important elements in discovering, evaluating and developing baseball talent but in this observers view are not holistic in the equation. Having a “scouts eye” at the forefront of the review in both the mechanics of a player’s performance and their makeup is vital. Combining those elements to feed the development coach is the first 2/3 of the formula. A good development coaching effort, in my opinion, utilizes the combination of Intel to work within the parameters of team instruction guidelines ( for consistency ) while being able to individualize the coaching of the player to get the most out of their physical and mental makeup. It doesn’t mean pounding an all or nothing philosophy but rather adapting it to meet the individual so that they can excel.
As an example, in a recent instructs game one of the pitchers noticeably ( at least to me 🥸 ) was slower in his arm movement on his change up as compared to his fastball and slider deliveries. In some cases the identification of the pitch delivery was skewed by the data capture methodology as to type but not to the naked eye because it was being tipped by the arm motion. In my mind the video capture aligned with the data on the pitch identification process would be combined to reflect to a pitching coach and the player the seemingly mechanical discrepancy and a correction would be ensued. In times past only the scouts eyes would be the identification to pass along .. in today’s world that can be combined with technology to bolster the review and more readily correct the issue.
Just sayin … an integrative solution recognizes and utilizes all parts of the equation from start to finish. That can also apply to the process of identifying talent. Sorry but I’m gonna use the Tampa Rays as an example 🤷♂️. They employ one of the largest if not the biggest group of pro scouts in baseball. They scour other teams to find talent as evidenced by their annual roster makeup which is predominantly configured with trade acquisitions and lower cost free agents. They also employ and utilize a very focused data analysis and video group that captures and deciphers information. The combination of all the resources has put the Rays in a continuous position of acquiring a broad base of talent. Their player development team, both at the minor and major league levels then utilize the input once a player has been acquired to further strengthen the areas that have been reported as excel points. The focus is on strengthening strengths in these cases and not so much limiting weaknesses. They then position and utilize the player in situations where their strengths can prevail. Sounds like an oversimplification and likely is but the point is that there’s a cohesive integration of technology and people working towards a common goal … winning baseball games.
Just sayin … there’s room for every element but to me a large piece of the puzzle remains and always will be the initial and ongoing scout’s eye … it’s a long lived tradition that’s not replaceable in this observer’s view … it’s a scouts honor.
Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️