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jojo
05-19-2009, 10:50 AM
A huge hat tip to Slyde at Reds Reporter (http://www.redreporter.com/2009/5/18/878937/red-reporter-interview-with-the) for sharing an interview that he did with Nick Krall, the Reds Assistant Director of Baseball Operations.

These kind of things are not only interesting in their own right but they give us invaluable glimpses into the FO. His comments touch on everything from sabermetrics to scouting. It's a great read.


Red Reporter Interview with the Reds Assistant Director of Baseball Operations

Redsmouth_tiny by Slyde on May 18, 2009

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to sit down and have lunch with the Reds' Asst. Director of Baseball Operations, Nick Krall. I recorded the interview and have tried the best I can to transcribe the discussion, though I've condensed much of it down since we had quite a lengthy conversation.

I appreciate the Reds and Krall for giving me this opportunity to talk with him. It was interesting for me to actually talk with someone on the inside. Hopefully I haven't done anything to ruin the opportunity for everyone else in the future.



RR: What's your background? How long did you play baseball and how did you end up with the Reds?

NK: I played all through high school and went to LSU for college. I tried to walk-on, but I was the last guy cut a couple of times. I grew up in Pennsylvania, but I always wanted to play for LSU. I was an LSU fan ever since I can remember.

I played a lot of summer ball and semi-pro leagues. I coached Legion ball, high school, wherever I could get experience. I always wanted to work in baseball. For me, it's always been fun. I love watching games.

Driving home from school one year, the Winter Meetings were in Nashville. My college roommate and I stopped at the Winter Meetings to see what it was like. I saw that there was a job fair there for most of the Minor League clubs, but I was too late to get any interviews. The next year, I went back for the job fair and got a job working in Sales and Marketing for the New Jersey Cardinals.

But I always wanted to work in Baseball Operations, so the next year I went to the Winter Meetings with a different approach and took a clubhouse manager job. It was a great job because I got to go to Spring Training and work in the Minor League clubhouse. I got to travel to all of the cities with the team. I also worked the grounds crew during the Arizona Fall League and Spring Training the next year.

I made some good contacts with some coaches through those jobs, so when I applied for an internship with the Oakland A's the following fall, the manager, Thad Bosley and some others within the organization gave recommendations for me.

After Spring Training in 2002, I interned in Oakland and also worked as the batboy as my secondary job. I learned a lot that year. I got to work with guys like Billy Beane, Paul DePodesta, David Forst, and Eric Kubota, the Scouting Director. They were great. Any question I had, I was free to ask it. I also got to go on several scouting trips, which were great learning experiences for me.

At the end of that year I was looking for a full-time job and Cincinnati had one open, which I ended up getting. I got to work with the video systems and do advanced scouting plus some office work. I've since taken over the coordination of the pro scouting as well as doing some scouting myself. I oversee the video department. I negotiate the 0-3 year contracts. And I help out with arbitration and free agent negotiations.

Star-divide

RR: The Reds have a reputation of being a team that gathers information in a more traditional fashion (i.e. scouting versus sabermetrics). Do you think that's a reasonable assessment?

NK: I think a lot of people would be surprised at the amount of statistics we use. For example, we have a software database called BATS. We used it Oakland and I came in to run it here in Cincinnati. It's a database that marries video with a particular pitch. So for any random guy I can tell you what he did for, say, his last 100 at bats. I can tell you where he hits the ball. I've been able to do the hot and cold zones like you see on Fox for the last 7 years now or so.

There are a lot of statistics that go on behind the scenes like that. They're used a lot, especially within our advanced scouting for things like figuring out match ups and who's good with who and things like that. The fact is that there a lot of teams that get a lot of publicity for using stats, but most teams do use stats. They just don't talk about it as much.

When it comes to contract negotiations, we use a combination of many types of statistics. For me, I think we're a very well balanced organization in terms of that. Walt [Jocketty] looks at everything. Without blowing smoke up the guy's ass, I really have enjoyed working for Walt because he looks at the big picture. If you are only statistical or if you are a scout or whatever, he takes all of your opinions. He listens to everybody and we really do a lot of research to inform him.



RR: The Reds have made a few player personnel decisions over the last 6 months that appear to have been in favor of defense over offensive players. What has been the organization's reasoning behind these moves?

NK: Let's use Jay Bruce as an example. Bruce played centerfield last year. Jay Bruce statistically wasn't a great centerfielder, but he was good in right. So he goes from playing out of position to playing his normal position and Taveras comes in to play centerfield. If an average fielder catches 88% of the balls in centerfield and you get around 300-400 balls in centerfield, Willy Taveras is at 90% - he catches 2% more of the balls. So say he catches 8 balls a year more than the average, assuming Jay Bruce is an average centerfielder. If Willy is catching 8 extra balls, that's 8 extra at bats that we'll see. Two or three of the following hitters will get on base because of those at bats, so that's 11 total extra at bats that Willy has probably prevented. Now you add in the other guys that are out there (Bruce, Dickerson, Hairston, etc.) and compare them to the players that were previously out there and you could have upwards of 75 at bats saved in the outfield. We've got a flyball pitching staff - that's no secret. You may get 50 extra balls caught, but it's not just those 50 extra balls that matter. It's the .330 on base percentage after that plus the .330 on base percentage after that. It's not just those outs, but the effects of those outs on limiting the number of overall at bats.

If you are eliminating 75 at bats during the season, it means that fewer pitches are thrown, which means the starter can go longer in the game. If you look at the team in 2006, we had relievers who threw a lot of innings before the All Star break and then by the second half they were worn out or hurt. You are putting a lot of pressure on the relievers. So, improving the defense actually improves your pitching staff because you make more outs and you don't have throw as many pitches. You don't have to get a reliever up and sit him down as many times because the pitcher on the mound has things under control and so the reliever gets a real day of rest. That's where our defense has really improved in that way.



RR: Do you guys use any of the Pitch F/X data that is generated through MLB's Gameday application? Have you looked at the rumored Hit F/X that is supposedly coming soon?

NK: We've met with the guys at MLBAM (MLB Advanced Media) during the Winter Meetings this past year to gauge some of the stuff for Hit F/X. So we're looking to see what they have there. As for Pitch F/X, we use our BATS system, which is kind of the same thing but it allows us to link directly to the video so we can see what actually happened on a specific pitch. We do have some Pitch F/X stuff, but we like what we get off of BATS. It's easier to have it all in one system at this point. Plus, there have been some issues with the Pitch F/X and only recently is it starting to get reliable. There are still issues though with a simple bump of the camera throwing the data off and making it less reliable.



RR: When you are looking to trade for a guy, how many scouts typically see him play before you make a decision?

NK: You might have one, you might have 10. It really depends. I'm not sure anybody saw Josh Hamilton play prior to taking him in the Rule 5 draft. Guys knew him from when he was in high school. Chris Buckley knew a lot of people that had information on him, but I'm not aware of anyone who saw him themselves.

Take Jared Burton. He went from throwing what he was during the season and then went to the Fall League and then he blossomed. It could just be a scout seeing something different in a player. A guy might have changed something mechanical and flipped the switch. That's why the scouts are valuable, to catch that.

As for trades, we had several guys see Edinson Volquez before we traded for him. Typically we try to see every pro player a couple of times during the year and then we may send some guys out on special assignment if there is a player we're looking at for possible acquisition.



RR: How does somebody become a scout to the point their opinions are reliable and trusted?

NK: From my own experience, I did not have the experience that many of the scouts do prior to joining an organization. I did the advanced scouting in house and got as much experience as I could. Typically you work with a lot of the experienced scouts and keep learning and keep learning. Even Jerry Walker, who has been around the game forever, is still continuing to learn new things.

I've read a million reports and I'm still learning to do different things. We have conversations all of the time about things like what kind of pitch is this, what kind of pitch is that. During Spring Training Cam Bonifay started quizzing me, "What kind of pitch is this? Why?" And it turned into a back and forth conversation about one pitch. Or it could just be one turning of a double play that sparks the discussion.

For me, the more games you watch the more you'll gain an understanding of what a big leaguer is. I was fortunate enough that when I started working in Oakland, I probably watched 400 games that summer on video. And I was charting all of the games while I watched them. You start to learn what a big league fastball looks like. You see how a ball comes off a big league hitters bat, and what they swing at and what they don't. The more games you watch, the more experience you get. You can't really go out and learn it in a 2-week training course.

I was talking about this with one of our interns this morning. He asked how I learned to do scouting. When I worked in Oakland we had a guy named Dick Bogard who had been scouting for years, but he still only wrote his reports by hand. My job was to sit there and read all his reports and enter them into the computer. When he'd come into the office, I'd sit down with him and listen to how he described a player and why he graded a player a certain way.

I find myself gravitating toward the older guys because I like to hear what they have to say and because they've seen a million players. They've been around so long, it's neat to see how they see a player. After I've seen a club, I'll talk to somebody else who has seen that club. I'll ask them to read my report and see if I'm missing something. I'll read their report and then compare to what I saw. It's like an apprenticeship where they help me develop my skills.

From interns all the way up to Walt, it's amazing the amount of conversations we have about baseball players during the day. Scouts love to call in while they are driving and just talk about players. My wife always asks how there is so much to talk about, but like I tell her, there's 8000 players in all of the levels. We talk about guys and see why you like or don't like a player. And you just keep learning that way.



RR: How is the data for scouting compiled? How is a player's progress tracked and aggregated?

NK: We have a computer system with a couple of databases. We have one that tracks player development stuff, with manager comments and reports, game reports, and development history for our guys. And then we have one for scouting that tracks amateur guys and professional guys. On the pro side, a guy goes out and sees a club and writes his reports. Back at the hotel, the scout pulls up a computer program that has every bit of information you could think of on that player. The scout then keys in his report to the program and the reports are then synched into the main system electronically. The new report gets married with everything else in the existing system, so we can have like 20 reports on any player over the last several years. We can then track trends in players based on all of this information.



RR: What are the benefits and risks of buying out arbitration years in contracts like we've seen for Evan Longoria and Troy Tulowitzki?

NK: You look at the players that have had their arb years bought out like that, and a lot of those players are special players. It's worked for some and it's failed for others. The risk is injury or poor performance. On the positive, you buy somebody out for a fixed price and you don't have to worry about the arbitration process. The key is that you want to get a fair number for you and a fair number for the player. The team doesn't want to screw over the player. It just doesn't make sense to create that bad blood. You just have to think about whether or not it makes sense to take the risk for that player, because there is very little built-in risk with the 0-3 years for the team. It's not a poor decision to sign the contract, but the number has to work for both sides.

We think about it with every player. We've got a cost structure that we work within every year and if we can find a way to improve that cost structure, I think we have to.



RR: You are in charge of hiring interns and I think we have some readers that might be interested to know what it takes to get into the business? What are you look for in an intern?

NK: To be an intern, you have to have an extensive knowledge of baseball. I'm not saying you need to have worked for a Major League club before, but you have to be around it. You have to have played, or maybe coach, or helped out with a team. I like kids who have worked in the Minor Leagues first because you'll understand the hours it takes. You do different stuff, but you understand the hours it takes. My day can typically last from 9 AM to 11 at night, after a game is over.

You need to be hard working. I want somebody who is willing to do anything they are asked. And you need to be willing to learn.

I've done all kinds of jobs within baseball. I've done everything from cleaning jock straps and toilets because I wanted the opportunity to work in the game. Now I understand the day-to-day life of a minor league team. I now know what it means to be a minor leaguer because of those experiences.

The big things are baseball knowledge, the willingness to learn, and being hard-working. Being a hard worker is probably the most important thing if you want to be a Baseball Ops Intern.

RR: Thanks again to Krall for taking the time to sit and talk with me.

Comments? Discuss?

Unassisted
05-19-2009, 10:58 AM
It's hard to believe the job could still be fun when you have to put in the kind of hours that he describes to do it. Fans should be grateful that the Reds have employees who are so dedicated.

jojo
05-19-2009, 11:01 AM
A recent Daugherty article also provided a glimpse into the Reds FO:


Numbers add up to better defense
By Paul Daugherty

I asked Sam Grossman. Sam who?

The Reds Manager of Baseball Research and Analysis. Like most astute baseball people, Grossman has a degree in mathematics from Northwestern. He worked in insurance, decided he'd rather not, took a few minor league internships and was hired by the Reds in 2007. Grossman crunches the fielding numbers.

He reads play-by-plays like they're the Dead Sea Scrolls. They show where balls are hit - their "zone" - and what happened. From there, Grossman employs a double-secret formula similar to the one used by the UZR folks: How hard was the ball hit? Was it off a right-handed or left-handed pitcher? And so on. Then the numbers are compared to the league average.

That's basically how the Reds concluded last winter that Taveras would be a great, um, catch as a free-agent center fielder. "It was as simple as (Taveras) turning into outs a lot of balls hit to him," Grossman says. "He played in two big center fields, first in Houston, then in Colorado. He made plays most visiting center fielders wouldn't make."

He still does. The UZR boys currently rank Taveras the second-best center fielder in the game. Jay Bruce - Jay Bruce! - is seen as the No. 1 right fielder. Overall, UZR says the Reds right now have the best outfield defense in baseball.

From the same article:


"That's how I do it," Jocketty says. "We use (Grossman's) information as a baseline. I use input from scouts, and add my own. It all works together."

bucksfan2
05-19-2009, 11:02 AM
RR: The Reds have a reputation of being a team that gathers information in a more traditional fashion (i.e. scouting versus sabermetrics). Do you think that's a reasonable assessment?

NK: I think a lot of people would be surprised at the amount of statistics we use. For example, we have a software database called BATS. We used it Oakland and I came in to run it here in Cincinnati. It's a database that marries video with a particular pitch. So for any random guy I can tell you what he did for, say, his last 100 at bats. I can tell you where he hits the ball. I've been able to do the hot and cold zones like you see on Fox for the last 7 years now or so.

There are a lot of statistics that go on behind the scenes like that. They're used a lot, especially within our advanced scouting for things like figuring out match ups and who's good with who and things like that. The fact is that there a lot of teams that get a lot of publicity for using stats, but most teams do use stats. They just don't talk about it as much.

When it comes to contract negotiations, we use a combination of many types of statistics. For me, I think we're a very well balanced organization in terms of that. Walt [Jocketty] looks at everything. Without blowing smoke up the guy's ass, I really have enjoyed working for Walt because he looks at the big picture. If you are only statistical or if you are a scout or whatever, he takes all of your opinions. He listens to everybody and we really do a lot of research to inform him.

Very interesting answer right here. I think it speaks to the fact that most clubs have a good balance of traditional and saber scouting going on at the same time. I think perception adds to much to the speculation but teams with a good balance generally are successful.

During the Arizona series I was wondering what happened to the DBacks. They were once a team considered WS contenders and in a short time period they went to bottom dwellers. Thom made a point that the team has made a complete sea change from where they were at the beginning to now where there was a huge emphasis placed upon the saber game. He said that was one reason their young Manager was hired because he would do what the GM told him to. It go me to thinking that when an organization goes to one extreme or another it is never a good thing. IMO the teams that balance the saber world with the traditional world often are the most successful.

jojo
05-19-2009, 11:03 AM
It's hard to believe the job could still be fun when you have to put in the kind of hours that he describes to do it. Fans should be grateful that the Reds have employees who are so dedicated.

And they are notoriously paid below what they might make in other sectors. It's a passion/quality of life thing that drives them it seems....

lollipopcurve
05-19-2009, 11:06 AM
The fact is that there a lot of teams that get a lot of publicity for using stats, but most teams do use stats. They just don't talk about it as much.

There you go. The old "smart team/dumb team" dichotomy is not reality, folks.

REDREAD
05-19-2009, 11:16 AM
awesome article jojo, thanks for posting it. very insightful.

nate
05-19-2009, 11:16 AM
Good read, thanks!

jojo
05-19-2009, 11:17 AM
There you go. The old "smart team/dumb team" dichotomy is not reality, folks.

Sure it is. It's just that some teams have been forced to keep up with the Jones. It's no secret or grand revelation that baseball is moving toward the integration of stats/scouting.

There is a reason that MGL gives UZR away now. It's partly because it's tough to sell something to someone who already has it (i.e. major league FOs).

That said, there is a whole spectrum of devotion/efficacy related to how and how well the stats are used/integrated and there is a spectrum relating to how far along FO's are in the process.

jojo
05-19-2009, 11:18 AM
awesome article jojo, thanks for posting it. very insightful.

Slyde hit for the cycle on that one.

lollipopcurve
05-19-2009, 11:51 AM
Sure it is. It's just that some teams have been forced to keep up with the Jones. It's no secret or grand revelation that baseball is moving toward the integration of stats/scouting.

There is a reason that MGL gives UZR away now. It's partly because it's tough to sell something to someone who already has it (i.e. major league FOs).

That said, there is a whole spectrum of devotion/efficacy related to how and how well the stats are used/integrated and there is a spectrum relating to how far along FO's are in the process.

Of course there's a spectrum. But the differences in where teams are on the spectrum do not evidence themselves in anywhere near as a dramatic a fashion as can be labelled "smart" or "dumb." Why aren't the teams considered to be "ahead of the curve" dominating the game or dominating the draft? Because the innovations they've made -- and perhaps are still making -- are not giant difference makers. They're tools you need to do good finish work on your house, not build it.

BCubb2003
05-19-2009, 11:58 AM
What struck me about his description of the database and the stats used is that they seem to collect what traditional scouts have always looked for: What pitches players can hit and where, whom they match up against, etc. There wasn't anything about the stats that are redefining the game in situational terms, as we like to discuss here. But if it came from Oakland, maybe that analysis is part of it too.

bucksfan2
05-19-2009, 12:14 PM
What struck me about his description of the database and the stats used is that they seem to collect what traditional scouts have always looked for: What pitches players can hit and where, whom they match up against, etc. There wasn't anything about the stats that are redefining the game in situational terms, as we like to discuss here. But if it came from Oakland, maybe that analysis is part of it too.

There is only a finite number of data points that can be taken away from a baseball game. It would be interesting to see once those data points are taken away and plugged into a computer what stats/tools the actual organization uses. On RZ we see all kinds of different stats thrown out and I would love to know if actual organizations are putting those into use or not.

What I did find interesting was the breakdown of how a slightly above average CF can effect the game.

camisadelgolf
05-19-2009, 12:49 PM
Big 'thank you' to everyone involved with putting this stuff together. This is one of the most interesting reads on RZ.

BCubb2003
05-19-2009, 12:56 PM
What I did find interesting was the breakdown of how a slightly above average CF can effect the game.

Yes, that's definitely an example of seeing the game differently.

jojo
05-19-2009, 01:03 PM
Why aren't the teams considered to be "ahead of the curve" dominating the game or dominating the draft?

I don't know, the AL east looks like a beast when considering talent distribution. Milwaukee was built by an "integrative" brain trust. Texas seems like they've distinguished themselves with player development too.

Stuff happens and no approach makes killer antibodies against stuff. There is also a ton of talent with plenty to go around and competitive advantages don't last forever in mlb (major league borg).

Old school and new school have started dating because, well, it makes for a better chance of finding love compared to only dating within a single school.

gonelong
05-19-2009, 01:27 PM
Very enjoyable read.



NK:
...
You may get 50 extra balls caught, but it's not just those 50 extra balls that matter. It's the .330 on base percentage after that plus the .330 on base percentage after that. It's not just those outs, but the effects of those outs on limiting the number of overall at bats.
...


I thought that sounded familiar, just on the other side of the ball. :)


I think that just like making a cake, the ingredients do matter, and while you can judge salt or flour on its own merit, it's the mixture that really counts.

Skills + opportunity = production

Having a high OBP players gives the next guy in the lineup an extra (hypothetically) 60 ABs during the season. If the next guy in the lineup is Paul Bako it minimizes the effect of those ABs.

If we get rid of a Balko and get someone like Hernandez, I think you have not only added Skills, but you have better taken advantage of current opportunities, as well as provided the next batter with more opportunities. I think there is a cumulative/exponential aspect to building a roster.

I also think this is why being at least league average at all positions is so important, you don't break the scoring chain as easily.

GL

/like this move, hope to see more.

RedsManRick
05-19-2009, 01:57 PM
Regarding the use of stats, particularly with their reference to "hot and cold zones", we have to consider that simply using stats is not the same thing as using them well. Everybody scouts. But not everybody scouts as well as the Twins or the Braves. I have no doubt that every front office uses stats and has an integrated database. But if they don't have analysts who understand the data and can turn the "stats" in to real information, then the Reds are still behind the curve.

This was a great interview and I'm glad Slyde shared it; I'm just not completely sold that the Reds are using analytics well quite yet.

lollipopcurve
05-19-2009, 02:09 PM
I have no doubt that every front office uses stats and has an integrated database. But if they don't have analysts who understand the data and can turn the "stats" in to real information, then the Reds are still behind the curve.

This was a great interview and I'm glad Slyde shared it; I'm just not completely sold that the Reds are using analytics well quite yet.

What would it take to satisfy you? What is it that you know about other organizations' use of analytics that has yet to be revealed to you about the Reds' use? I'm assuming you feel there are some out there leveraging their information the way you think the Reds should. Would be interesting to hear the specifics.

For me, this quote indicates the Reds could be putting the hot/cold zone info to immediate use (advanced scouting > pitcher/hitter matchups):


So for any random guy I can tell you what he did for, say, his last 100 at bats. I can tell you where he hits the ball. I've been able to do the hot and cold zones like you see on Fox for the last 7 years now or so.

There are a lot of statistics that go on behind the scenes like that. They're used a lot, especially within our advanced scouting for things like figuring out match ups and who's good with who and things like that.

vaticanplum
05-19-2009, 02:22 PM
For me, the more games you watch the more you'll gain an understanding of what a big leaguer is. I was fortunate enough that when I started working in Oakland, I probably watched 400 games that summer on video. And I was charting all of the games while I watched them. You start to learn what a big league fastball looks like. You see how a ball comes off a big league hitters bat, and what they swing at and what they don't. The more games you watch, the more experience you get. You can't really go out and learn it in a 2-week training course.

I was talking about this with one of our interns this morning. He asked how I learned to do scouting. When I worked in Oakland we had a guy named Dick Bogard who had been scouting for years, but he still only wrote his reports by hand. My job was to sit there and read all his reports and enter them into the computer. When he'd come into the office, I'd sit down with him and listen to how he described a player and why he graded a player a certain way.

I find myself gravitating toward the older guys because I like to hear what they have to say and because they've seen a million players. They've been around so long, it's neat to see how they see a player. After I've seen a club, I'll talk to somebody else who has seen that club. I'll ask them to read my report and see if I'm missing something. I'll read their report and then compare to what I saw. It's like an apprenticeship where they help me develop my skills.

From interns all the way up to Walt, it's amazing the amount of conversations we have about baseball players during the day. Scouts love to call in while they are driving and just talk about players. My wife always asks how there is so much to talk about, but like I tell her, there's 8000 players in all of the levels. We talk about guys and see why you like or don't like a player. And you just keep learning that way.

This pretty much sums up why I could never be a scout. And there was a time in my life when I honestly thought, hey, I should be scout. I love baseball, I love to watch it...but I don't know that I could watch THAT MUCH baseball. Or maybe I could, but it wouldn't be good for me.

I feel like scouts are the kinds of guys who may well never get nookie again in their lives. And they're perfectly fine with that.

IowaRed
05-19-2009, 02:25 PM
I would be interested to see how this information is received and then used by the coaching staff. If they are given serious consideration or considered to be too "new school" for an "old school" guy and what Jocetty's directives to the coaches are.

Kc61
05-19-2009, 02:28 PM
Just want to thank everyone who's posted these articles on this thread. This is one of the most interesting threads we've had on RedsZone. It really explains why the Reds have gone in certain directions -- in particular, the impact of having a rangier, good defensive outfield on this team.

I'd love to hear the team's thinking, defensively, on the infield. I'm sure they love Phillips at second, but I wonder how they view Votto, the shortstop situation, and most interestingly EE. Sounds like, last off-season, the outfield defense was the main objective.

Also interested to hear their views about catching defense. What skills do they see in Hernandez that were missing from last year's catchers.

Again, a most interesting discussion.

TRF
05-19-2009, 02:54 PM
This pretty much sums up why I could never be a scout. And there was a time in my life when I honestly thought, hey, I should be scout. I love baseball, I love to watch it...but I don't know that I could watch THAT MUCH baseball. Or maybe I could, but it wouldn't be good for me.

I feel like scouts are the kinds of guys who may well never get nookie again in their lives. And they're perfectly fine with that.

best.

take.

ever.

westofyou
05-19-2009, 03:00 PM
I feel like scouts are the kinds of guys who may well never get nookie again in their lives. And they're perfectly fine with that.

Finding the perfect player is the nookie a true scout is chasing, then telling the boys about the time you saw the 16 year fill -in-the-blank play in a Pony League game back in the day and knowing that alone is enough to elicit low wolf whistles, grunts and tobacco spits of approval from the whole group is a satisfaction only they shall know.

Scrap Irony
05-19-2009, 03:33 PM
Tom Greenwald once said the happiest day of his life was "finding" Mickey Mantle and understanding true generational talent. He always insisted Mantle was the greatest single prospect in the history of the game.

RANDY IN INDY
05-19-2009, 04:06 PM
Would be interesting to hear the scouts conversations in the early years before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. There were some great Negro League players with tremendous skills. In watching those players, and you know that a lot of them did, those scouts had to see some "jaw dropping" talent. Would be interesting if you could have been a fly on the wall during those times when they were discussing the kind of talent that existed in the Negro Leagues. When you know the game of baseball and you see something special, you can't dismiss it, regardless of race. They couldn't, by rule, play in the big leagues, but you have to think that the people who really knew the game knew that these players were special.

Ltlabner
05-19-2009, 04:46 PM
There you go. The old "smart team/dumb team" dichotomy is not reality, folks.

Huh?

How do you go from...


The fact is that there a lot of teams that get a lot of publicity for using stats, but most teams do use stats. They just don't talk about it as much.

...to the tired old stats vs scouts argument? There's no mention of being smart, dumb or anything.

BCubb2003
05-19-2009, 04:51 PM
Finding the perfect player is the nookie a true scout is chasing, then telling the boys about the time you saw the 16 year fill -in-the-blank play in a Pony League game back in the day and knowing that alone is enough to elicit low wolf whistles, grunts and tobacco spits of approval from the whole group is a satisfaction only they shall know.

Whatever happened to Toe Nash, anyway?

redsmetz
05-19-2009, 04:56 PM
Whatever happened to Toe Nash, anyway?

From a Baltimore Sun discussion board:


After six months of diligent workouts, Nash was signed by, ironically, the Cincinnati Reds on December 17,2002. After an arrest shortly thereafter for domestic violence and parole violation, the Reds released Nash, who was sentenced to five years in prison, where he remains today."

Team Clark
05-19-2009, 08:41 PM
There you go. The old "smart team/dumb team" dichotomy is not reality, folks.

True. It all boils down to interpretation. Who's making the decisions and what is the philospohy. The thing that always bothered me about the Reds was the "LACK of QUALITY" of the people doing the interpreting. Getting better each year. Baby steps. :D

RFS62
05-19-2009, 09:17 PM
Very nice read. Thanks everyone.