Saturday, March 10, 2007

I Will Do My Best To Do My Duty

The WaPo finally writes the article I've been waiting for for the last six months: a look at the scouting department, what upgrades they've made, and why Nats fans should be so confident about the changes to the system. Read the whole thing, but here are some encouraging things:

In 1995, [Chuck Lamar] was hired as the general manager of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, a position he held until he was fired a decade later.

LaMar now considers that "a 10-year detour."...

"I am a scout," LaMar said. "I've always been a scout, and I always will be a scout."

Take that as you will, but anyone who read the SI piece claiming that Lamar was being considered as Bowden's replacement has to be breathing a sigh of relief! I know I'll be able to sleep tonight.

"The people who say the draft is a crapshoot are the people who aren't successful at it," [Ass. GM Mike] Rizzo said. "I think evaluating players is a skill. It's a talent. It takes experience. To call it a crapshoot really minimizes what successful teams do, and that's make informed, educated choices. I don't think it's luck that determines success. It's hiring the best scouts and trusting them."

My own belief is that a good scouting department can pick out more players than average who can give league average performance at below-market cost -- ie: good stopgap young players. The more you have of them, the more cash you have to spend on the truly elite players. Kids like Albert Pujols (13th round pick) or Mike Piazza (62nd round pick) ARE a crapshoot. Unless you have the #1 overall pick, you don't draft Hall of Famers. You get lucky.

Moose Stubing, who spent four decades with the Angels, came aboard last November as a special assistant to Bowden. "They gave me the title," he said at the time. "And they made it hard to resist."

Translation: They paid a more-than-competitive rate. "They just flat-out bought a lot of these people," said one source.

Damn cheap bastards.

[Scouting Director Dana] Brown said the club had little chance to do well in later rounds because its best scouts were spread too thin.

"Our depth in this draft will be way, way better than in the past," Brown said.

Brown did a good job with limited resources taking 'safe' picks, but he didn't necessarily have the resources to take the best players -- or at least the ones with the highest ceiling.

The point about depth is an excellent one, too. Those lower picks certainly can be a crapshoot, but every additional piece of data they have when making a decision, is going to increase the likelihood that they're making the right one.

It's encouraging news.

So much (OK, all) of "The PLAN!" is predicated on a strong, successful minor league system. I can still quibble with what they've done to the major-league roster this year, but it's impossible to find fault with anything in this; that's a damn good thing!


  • The first time I let it go. I saw it again this morning and I've got to say something.

    Amy Shipley with the Washington Post needs to go down to a CVS in Viera, Florida and buy two notebooks-One for the Nats-the other for the Orioles.

    Because the Nats played the O's yesterday Amy decided to phone it in and have one "notebook" column this morning called "Orioles & Nationals Notebook." Just stop. They are two seperate teams. They are two seperate cities. They have two different identities-hence two seperate notebooks. The concept is not thrown out the window when they play each other. In fact, the seperation needs to be made even more clear.

    Essentially Amy "crossed the streams" in the Nats column this morning by including her insipid O's factoids. She put journalistic expediency ahead of the cosmic order of the universe. This is bad. I refer you to the movie "Ghostbusters" for clarity:

    Dr. Egon Spengler: There's something very important I forgot to tell you.
    Dr. Peter Venkman: What?
    Dr. Egon Spengler: Don't cross the streams.
    Dr. Peter Venkman: Why?
    Dr. Egon Spengler: It would be bad.
    Dr. Peter Venkman: I'm fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean, "bad"?
    Dr. Egon Spengler: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.

    Amy, just buy a seperate notebook and make an apology in tomorrow morning's Sunday edition. I don't want my molecules to explode at the speed of light.

    Much obliged,

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/10/2007 1:29 PM  

  • Let's show the Nats Pride!

    Tell Fathead that they should have a Nats logo!!!

    Come on!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/10/2007 2:42 PM  

  • Sam:

    I admit that my issue is straddling the fine line between clever and stupid. But I intend to to cite any and every time I feel slighted by the Birds. Isn't it enough that we have to share the same god forsaken cable channel.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/10/2007 8:25 PM  

  • Why does no one in the Post, or even in the Nats blogosphere explain what the philosophy of The Plan is? I mean, has no one read Moneyball, or what? So far I have read The Plan entails signing hard-throwing high school pitchers. How many of these have made the Majors historically? Moneyball says very few. There are too many unknowns between high school and success.

    How about position players? What are we looking for? Power? OBP? OPS? Average?

    What makes a good scout? The Post article, and this blog, suggest quantity of scouts is key. I doubt it. Just signing lots of scouts means nothing. What if they are all morons?

    What wins games? And what are the market anomalies that lead most teams to over-value skills that don't win games, and under-value skills that do win games?

    I don't know if Moneyball is the last word either. But it raises questions I see no one even adressing.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 3/13/2007 11:37 PM  

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