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Orioles Restructure Their Scouting Staff

Orioles Restructure Their Scouting Staff

PostPost #1 by ofahn » December 16th, 2011, 11:52 am

Ken Rosenthal reported (story and link below) that Dan Duquette has reassigned six pro scouts to amateur scouting duties. IMO this is good news but it raises some questions.

Is this a long term commitment to increasing amateur scouting or just a temporary move that reassigns employees no longer in the teams plans? There is no question that this team needs to significantly increase it's scouting assets. I would like to see them do this by hiring the best scouts available, giving them the assets they say they need to get the job done, and paying them at a level that would make them want to stay.

Has Duquette come to accept the benefits of integrating statistical analysis into traditional player scouting? I raise this question because Duquette was mentioned on numerous occasions in Michael Lewis' book Moneyball as the flip side of Billy Beane's analytical focus on player evaluation. In fact, it was after the 2002 season covered in the book that Duquette was let go by Red Sox owner John Henry, and Beane was offered the Sox GM position that he turned down. Theo Epstein, a Sox Asst. GM and Bill James disciple, was then offered the job and we all know how that turned out.

I have learned in thirty years of running a business that there is no "one size fits all" solution and that there's a little good in every approach. I have also learned that new ideas aren't bad because I don't yet understand them. That's a round-a-bout way of saying that you CAN teach an old dog new tricks but that one trick does not fix all problems. I wish I could read Duquette's mind to know if he's willing to use all of the tools available to him or whether he's just doing "window dressing".

Do you see this as a step in the right direction? Please provide an explanation so others can better understand your POV.

Dan Duquette is taking the Orioles in a dramatic new direction, one that will renew the debate over the value of scouting vs. statistical analysis in baseball.

Duquette, the team’s new general manager, essentially dissolved the Orioles’ professional scouting department Thursday, reassigning six pro scouts to the amateur side.

Dave Engle and Bruce Kison will remain major-league scouts, and the Orioles will make greater use of video and statistical analysis in scouting the majors, Duquette said.

“As you get more video and statistical analysis on a player, the longer they’re in professional baseball, it’s not as vital to have them seen by eyes, professional eyes,” Duquette said. “Players establish a record of their work.

“Some of the trends that the statistics track, they’re not trends that professional scouts would normally see in a short look.”

The six scouts who were reassigned are Todd Frohwirth, Jim Howard, James Keller, Ted Lekas, Lee MacPhail IV and Jim Thrift.

The scouts might have little choice but to accept their reassignments; it will be difficult for them to find new jobs at this time of year.

While Duquette indicated that the changes will reinforce the Orioles’ amateur scouting department, the scouts view the reassignments as little other than demotions, sources say.

“It’s a more efficient way to structure the Orioles, better for identifying talent and utilizing people’s strengths to help the team,” Duquette said.


http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/balt ... ent-121611
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Re: Orioles Restructure Their Scouting Staff

PostPost #2 by Tucker Blair » December 16th, 2011, 12:18 pm

I am on the fence with this shakeup. I like the statistical analysis approach. I am a big fan of that, and was glad to hear it.

Regarding the scouting shakeup. I am glad that they are starting to assign MORE people to the amateur side of the game. HOWEVER, they simply gutted the pro side, which hurts them there. It also was kind of a slap in the face to essentially demote all of the pro scouts, and I simply doubt they will be back next year after that.

Is this a long term commitment to increasing amateur scouting or just a temporary move that reassigns employees no longer in the teams plans? I want to say it is long term, but when the guys are "probably" going to leave next year because they were "demoted", It's hard to say that.

Also good points on the Statistical side Ofahn, it makes sense to me the way you put it.
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Re: Orioles Restructure Their Scouting Staff

PostPost #3 by Tucker Blair » December 16th, 2011, 12:27 pm

Roch Kubatko @masnRoch
#orioles hire Danny Haas as national crosschecker, according to release

Another move
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Re: Orioles Restructure Their Scouting Staff

PostPost #4 by ofahn » December 16th, 2011, 12:41 pm

TuckerBlair89 wrote:Regarding the scouting shakeup. I am glad that they are starting to assign MORE people to the amateur side of the game. HOWEVER, they simply gutted the pro side, which hurts them there. It also was kind of a slap in the face to essentially demote all of the pro scouts, and I simply doubt they will be back next year after that.


I was thinking that these scouts might leave too; however, that will mean the team has six slots to fill. Let's hope they do. I would also like to see them hire at least six more pro scouts and I see from your last posting that the process has started.
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Re: Orioles Restructure Their Scouting Staff

PostPost #5 by Tucker Blair » December 16th, 2011, 12:47 pm

In my opinion, you can never have enough scouts at any level. I was having an interesting discussion on twitter about this:

DD could have come to the opinion that these pro scouts were simply not getting the job done.
The amateur side is so terrible that he HAD to reassign these scouts.
Maybe he possibly had already decided that they were going to be gone in the future anyways, so he would squeeze out all the tools and assets available before they go (not a fan of that aspect if that was true).
DD could possibly have people ready to jump into the pro scout placements.


All the above are the reason I think could possibly be true.

I also see a lot of people calling the Orioles morons, idiots, etc. I can totally see why DD was not liked in Boston. He makes some cut-throat decisions that could easily be seen as rude or unethical. I honestly am tired of caring about that though, I just want to win.

If these moves make the club better in ANY aspect, I am OK with them.
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Re: Orioles Restructure Their Scouting Staff

PostPost #6 by Tucker Blair » December 16th, 2011, 12:57 pm

Don noted that Contracts expire in January. I don't know exactly how that works, but I think we should probably put our foot on the brakes before completely condemning the Orioles for these moves.
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Re: Orioles Restructure Their Scouting Staff

PostPost #7 by ofahn » December 16th, 2011, 1:04 pm

TuckerBlair89 wrote:I can totally see why DD was not liked in Boston. He makes some cut-throat decisions that could easily be seen as rude or unethical.


To paraphrase Samuel Johnson: Using courtesy as an excuse for the failure to act is the last vestige of the clueless.
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Re: Orioles Restructure Their Scouting Staff

PostPost #8 by Don » December 16th, 2011, 3:20 pm

People are getting their panties in a bunch for no sound reason at the moment.

The role of MLB advanced scouts, MiLB scouts, amateur scouts, special assignment scouts, etc... has morphed and switch hats at times where one guy might be at a MLB game out west, watch a pitcher from the California league on the following day, he could even attend a local showcase in the state as well. There are times when the amateur scouts will be overlaps for MiLB coverage when trade lines start to kick up to get multiple eyes and additional views.

What I am trying to say is a number of teams ask their staffs to put on multiple hats and this is nothing new?

There were six re-assigned. If they are not taking a drop it pay, it is a re-shuffle, and not exactly a demotion. It does not mean that any of those six may not be sitting in the stand of an MLB game if they happen to be in the same area for other tasks. These guys are smart enough to multitask.


I have wondered when the role of advance scouting and professional scouting would dwindle with the amount of cameras, guns, models, etc... that track everything to a "T" with hitters and pitchers. The eye does not lie, but multi-camera angles and hand held devices can give each player an advance read if he studies his opposition. They still will have scouts giving there assessments, but the players and technology could easily make up for this stuff.

Again, who knows if these 6 guys will be putting on multiple hats over a season. This might be "a title issue only" thing.

I said a few hours ago. DD has been called many things, but an idiot is never one of them. He is a smart and articulate man, who knows his way around baseball. Give him the time to sort this out, he may surprise you.
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Re: Orioles Restructure Their Scouting Staff

PostPost #9 by birdwatcher55 » December 16th, 2011, 4:28 pm

Long Overdue!!! 8-)
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Re: Orioles Restructure Their Scouting Staff

PostPost #10 by ofahn » December 16th, 2011, 4:59 pm

birdwatcher55 wrote:Long Overdue!!! 8-)


As, unfortunately, are so many other items on the list.
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Re: Orioles Restructure Their Scouting Staff

PostPost #11 by Matt P » December 18th, 2011, 3:09 am

TuckerBlair89 wrote:I am on the fence with this shakeup. I like the statistical analysis approach. I am a big fan of that, and was glad to hear it.

Regarding the scouting shakeup. I am glad that they are starting to assign MORE people to the amateur side of the game. HOWEVER, they simply gutted the pro side, which hurts them there. It also was kind of a slap in the face to essentially demote all of the pro scouts, and I simply doubt they will be back next year after that.

Is this a long term commitment to increasing amateur scouting or just a temporary move that reassigns employees no longer in the teams plans? I want to say it is long term, but when the guys are "probably" going to leave next year because they were "demoted", It's hard to say that.

Also good points on the Statistical side Ofahn, it makes sense to me the way you put it.

I highly doubt the organization can get any worse without them than it was with them.
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Re: Orioles Restructure Their Scouting Staff

PostPost #12 by Rising O's » December 18th, 2011, 9:21 am

I was thinking the same thing. Our scouts were probably a negative 3 war anyway. Of course when players would rather play video games than prepare for a baseball game, it doesn't matter if there is any advanced scouting.
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Re: Orioles Restructure Their Scouting Staff

PostPost #13 by ofahn » December 18th, 2011, 10:15 am

Rising O's wrote:I was thinking the same thing. Our scouts were probably a negative 3 war anyway. Of course when players would rather play video games than prepare for a baseball game, it doesn't matter if there is any advanced scouting.


Of course, there's no rule that requires the team to allow distractions in a minor league club house. Maybe it's time to change the rules and make it stick.
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