Sorry for the absence the last few days. I have been in Peoria, Arizona attending our annual scouting meetings at our Fall Instructional League. Though we're not at the St. Regis enjoying golf, the spa, and blowout dinners, it's always a good time.
We've been spending the mornings in meetings going over the 2008 draft - what we did well, what we did poorly, and what we learned - as well as doing some early prep for 2009. More importantly, we're all back together, scouts and player development personnel, for a few days to break down players, share ideas, and talk baseball.
The afternoons have been very valuable, because we've been watching our Instructional League games. Like most organizations, our FIL roster is diverse. We have players from AA to the Dominican Summer League all on the same team. Some are here to work on specific parts of their game, some are trying a position change, and others are here to get more at-bats and detailed instruction. The best part for us, front office and scouts included, is that we get to see all of these guys playing together.
During the spring scouting season comparisons are critically important and terribly difficult. You may have seen one player for two games back in March and another for three at-bats in late May (as well as 100 other players in between), and you have to be able to rank those players with some sound reasoning as the backbone. At Instructional League we get to see these players literally right next to each other, which helps tremendously to reinforce our thought process or to expose a shortcoming.
With both Fall Instructional League and the Arizona Fall League, this is a great time of year to be in Arizona. Though the crowds don't extend beyond friends and family, there are future big leaguers all over the place.