Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Travel

Like many baseball people, I've been traveling for the past few days doing some last-minute coverage for the amateur draft. This morning I'm off to the SEC Tournament in Hoover, AL.



Typically, I wouldn't broadcast my whereabouts, as part of the game in the draft is trying to figure out what players other teams like. In this circumstance, though, I'm sharing because of a few reasons:



1) The Padres have a Scouting Director and a VP of Scouting & Player Development. I am neither.

2) I'll see approximately 120 amateur players before this draft, so it's not as though I'm just seeing five players the Padres really like. I'm trying to see as many players as possible.

3) Every team will have anywhere from one to four representatives at the SEC. There are a number of players at the tourney who will be drafted in the top five rounds. No secrets in Hoover.



In summary, my attendance somewhere isn't much of an indicator.



Sometimes the gamesmanship goes a little too far. A few weeks ago I was leaving a high school game and on my way to another one. I was expecting to be in the car for at least an hour, so I planned to stop at the bathroom before leaving. With no indoor bathroom in site, the port-o-potty on the way to the parking lot was the only option.



As I approached, I thought I heard a voice. It was only when I reached out my hand to grab the door handle that I heard the voice loud and clear. It was a scout, inside the port-o-potty, on his cell phone reporting what other teams were in attendance at the game. Out of respect for his effort (and sacrifice), I kept walking.



This may be a little more Austin Powers than 007, but it does illustrate the competitive nature of the draft. We all know what players we like, and none of us are telling. :-)



I'm not sure where I'm heading after watching the tournament's first day (four games starting at 9 am tomorrow). Nevertheless, I'll try to provide some sort of update from the road. They're closing the doors on the plane, so I have to shut down.



The is the first time I try to post from my blakcberry, so I hope this works.

15 comments:

Jeff said...

That's pretty clandestine there, haha.

You've been doing the draft a long time, Paul, are there any guys who you were really high on that have been the most disappointing in terms of development? Any guys who you weren't fond of surprising you and making great players?

Eugene Tierney said...

How many games do you normally go to in a week leading up to the draft?

Jaim said...

Makes me wonder if the perceived value of information (on players and other teams) has increased in proportion to the ultimate dollars at stake. Then again, there probably have always been a few paranoid scouts dishing out dirt from a port-o-potty or a phone booth somewhere (before there were cell phones). Who knows. ;)

On a side note, just wanted to applaud you - and thank you - for blogging like this. I find this stuff fascinating, and I've learned a lot just from what you've posted so far. Hope everyone appreciates this opportunity to peer through this window into your world.

Just wanted to say thanks and encourage you to keep it going.

Michael said...

Great Post! I tottally understand the gamesmanship. The one thing I can't understand is why the Rays are so secretive about who they're leaning towards with the first pick. It's not like someone is going to steal their player.

I know you don't work for the Rays, but do you have any insight into what the thought process behind that is?

skiier4384 said...

Cool Story

field39 said...

The term "Need to get away" comes to mind right about now.
When you are looking at a lot of players in a short period of time. What do you focus on? Is it possible to get any kind of feel for a hitter, over a handful of at bats?

sdsuaztec4 said...

Just out of curiosity, how closely are the Padres looking at MWC pitcher of the year and SDSU Ace Steven Strasburg? That kid is INCREDIBLE.

bullpeners said...

Thanks, Paul, for the effort to keep up with the blog. I am really enjoying your insights and am very interested in this years draft. We sure need something else to think about right now!
Sort of off the topic but can you explain why the Pads don't have an advance scout at the major league level? What is the organizational philosophy to explain this choice?

Steve Adler said...

Paul D!

That's freaking funny! So was the devil on your shouldn't pushing you to at least kick the prot o pot? Maybe even rush the guy and shake him up?? The temptation had to be there!

I dont have an actual question though. As far as position players, more specific outfielders. If we drafted what became an advanced prospect.

1. Would it be more likely that he was a HS or College player and..

2. what type of time table could we expect to see him in the bigs?

Thanks

Daniel Wilson said...

G'day from Australia DePo :).

How much power/SLG does a hitter have to have before you can start disregarding his lack of OBP?

Eric said...

First, I just wanted to say thanks, Paul, for this blog. I'm sure there are plenty of disgruntled Pads fans out there at the moment, and it takes some intestinal fortitude on your part to continue to be open and honest with us. I'm really enjoying reading.

I think it's funny how secretive teams are for the MLB draft. The NBA draft I can understand because the number of kids and picks are so finite. In MLB, not only are there a ridiculous number of prospects and picks, but most of the picks (including first rounders) will end up fizzling and never doing much anyway.

It seems a little like hiding your lottery numbers from the guy next to you.

Voros said...

I do wonder about the value of the paranoia regarding the draft. Other than at the very top of the first round, the draft is as much a matter of quantity as it is quality. You try and give yourselves as many bites at the apple as possible and hope for the best.

Worrying about what someone else is doing (particularly since you can't trade picks) to me would only distract you from the more important task at hand: getting your own evaluations as accurate as possible.

Spacely said...

to michael,
Logically speaking, there are 29 other teams that are setting up their gameplans based upon what they perceive is going to be the first pick. If that club keeps it under wraps, that might be throwing a monkey wrench into a few other teams plans. And really, getting what you want while messing everyone else up is pretty much the pinnacle of gamesmanship.

Christopher said...

Hi Paul,

Thanks for this blog and for giving us some insight into what goes on behind closed doors.

I'm curious, other than Headley and Antonelli, what other current prospects is the front office excited about?

Stevie said...

Paul,

I appreciate this blog. It's nice to have someone who is high up the ladder in Major League Baseball to have some connection with fans of teams and baseball in general.

Thank you!

-Stephen