Prospect Writers To Baseball Scouts? Trend Or Dying Fad?
A sincere congratulations to Conor Glassey on being hired as an area scout with the Cleveland Indians. Although he’s been out of the writing game for awhile, the notoriety received and lessons learned as one of Baseball America’s prospect writers undoubtedly helped him achieve the dream of many baseball writers in the industry. As more buy the tools of the trade (radar guns, video camera, stopwatch, etc.) and travel to minor league games, it was only a matter of time before talent was targeted by Major League Baseball organizations. If a team is willing to look under every rock in Bulgaria to find talent, then how hard is a Google search?
In recent years, other baseball prospect writers have made the leap to MLB scouts as well. As somebody who has been writing about baseball prospects since 2008, it’s exciting to meet scouts like Jason Grey, Carlos Gomez and Jason Cole at the ballpark utilizing the skills learned while establishing themselves as credible prospect writers. It reminds me baseball writing has come a long way.
Back in 2009, I was the only person with a video camera at the ballpark worried fans would consider me a weirdo or pedophile because 17-year old Wilmer Flores was a member of the team. And while collecting video is still not a wholly accepted practice by media relations departments, it continues to improve and media credential requests have been updated to mention new media.
Today, it seems as if the Blue Jays have an army of video scouts at every minor league park. Both the home and away teams have cameras set up behind home plate and two more cameras are positions on the first and third base lines. Even the scouts — especially younger ones are armed with video cameras, scouting from angles and collecting video for a more thorough report. The way baseball teams collect data and information is changing and prospect writers are positioned to take advantage.
Why Prospect Writers Can Be Great Baseball Scouts
Whenever Will Middlebrooks has a hot streak, Boston Red Sox readers familiar with my panning him back in 2009 are quick to point out errors in the report. It’s an example of being held accountable for prior scouting work and forces prospect writers to improve. What’s true in life is true in scouting: One learns more from swings-and-misses than home runs.
Over years, a writer builds an online portfolio to include video, social media, blog posts, etc. What better way to apply for a scouting position than to have an entire career’s worth of work available for the world to view? From video to social media and blog posts, an organization can glean personal and professional insights into a potential employee.
It’s also an opportunity for prospect writers to establish a pattern of growth over multiple years. The 2008 me is a shell of the evaluator writing today. In some ways, it’s embarrassing to look back and reflect on past work. And with scouting being a learned skill, showing the ability to improve is vital to being a quality scout. Is an individual set in his/her ways, or is there an ability to learn and implement an organizational philosophy? While no scouting director will sift through a few hundred scouting pieces, a representative sample is more valuable than the stack of resumes to the ceiling.
YOUscout Hitter and Pitcher reports were created as a jump off point for aspiring prospect writers who dream of being scouts. Over the years, readers repeatedly discuss learning from my scouting work, so it made sense to create an area for them to share with the ROTOscouting community and beyond. While other baseball writers have graduated from Internet shaming fantasy baseball enthusiasts to targeting aspiring scouts, a look at our Starting Lineup page reveals a group of grinders who’ve learned by doing. After all, the same prospect writers who poo poo the next wave are the ones who were wet behind the years a few years ago too.
5 Aug 2014 / Mike Newman /
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