Jays Scouting Update: 27-Jan-11

Alex Anthopoulos has directed a ton of effort and money to revamping the way the Jays conduct their scouting operations, which is why I decided in 2010 (actually almost exactly 1 year from today as I posted the initial copy on January 26th 2010) to maintain an up-to-date account of who is doing what for the Jays scouting operations. The link to our scouting page, available here, had last been update on Jays Journal in October before I returned to the Jays Website to see what changes had been made. You can see at the link all of the scouts and their areas of coverage or responsibility, but I thought it would be beneficial to take notice of those who were added to the team, who was promoted, and where the Jays added numbers to their scouting team. Here is a summary of changes made to the Jays scouting department sometime between October 2010 and today:

  • Russ Bove, a scout since 1984, was hired by the Jays in November of 2010 as a National Cross-Checker, and has already been promoted to a position as a Major League Scout. It is possible that he and Alex Anthopoulos previously crossed paths while he was a “special assignment scout” for the Montreal Expos in 2004, when Alex was still with the organization. He joins Jim Beattie, Ed Lynch, and Sal Butera in that role. Russ was last with the Mets organization and left on what we can easily call a “raucous note“. There was apparently no communication to Russor other scouts in the Mets organization who were all fired by the Mets in November. His statement about the event was as follows: “There was no communication letting us know whether we were in or out,” Bove said. “They strung us along pretty good. I don’t care I’m fired, but to do it on Nov. 1, after the contracts ran out, is totally unprofessional and unprecedented. I talked to a million people and they never heard of that. To not be able to talk to other clubs and leave us hanging is pretty low. But I can understand a new guy comes in and wants to bring in his own people.” This ESPN article was the source of the quote.  Jays fans should be very happy to have Boveon board, as he represents yet another very respected and knowledgeable baseball mind for the Jays to benefit from. He was in charge of the Mets 2005 draft, when they selected guys like Mike Pelfrey (9th overall), Josh Thole (13th rd), Bobby Parnell(9th rd), and Jonathan Niese (7th rd). Due to various FA signings, he didn’t have a 3rd or 4th rd pick during that draft, so to wind up with 4 major league players from that one draft is quite a feat for Bove. The interesting part of this is that J.P. Ricciardi was hired, by what I am now comfortable calling a classless Mets front office, immediately before the firings were announced. There’s a right way and a wrong way to handle operations within an MLB franchise, or within any organization for that matter, and these firings were not that way. Talk about another great “trade” by the Jays, although I’m sure J.P. will fit in very well in the NYM organization.
  • Taking the spot vacated by Bove amongst Cross-Checkers is October 2009 addition  Mel Didier. He is listed as a “Senior Advisor/Professional Scout” and so it does seem that he is leading the professional scouts. At 84 years old and with Scouting Director experience (also has time with the Expos organization), I’m sure he has a ton of experience to share.
  • Bob Fontaine Jr, a Roland Hemond Award from the Society for Baseball Research (SABR) in 2006, has been promoted from Amateur Cross-Checker to Professional Cross-Checker as he took the spot previously held by Jim D’Aloia who is no longer on the team. Prior to being hired by the Jays, he had been a part of the Mariners organization, was a big part of the Mariners drafting Brandon Morrow 5th overall, and is a major reason the Jays made a push to acquire him from the M’s. Thank goodness for that! Unsurprisingly, Bob also has ties with the Montreal Expos, as he was their West Coast scouting Supervisor in 1982.
  • Dale Sutherland was let go by the Angels in October of 2010, after serving as a major league scout for them, and has since been hired by the Jays. He has been added to the Professional Cross-Checker team, taking the spot previously held by John Lombardo who is no longer on the team. He was a part of the Angels organization for more than 19 years and will surely become a very important part of the scouting team with his experience.  Jeff Cirillocredited Dale with great influence over his career, something he inherited after stating that Jeff should be a 3B. The acquisition of Chone Figgins from the Rockies is another move example made by the Angels that was mostly a result of Dale’s influence.
  • Calvin Minascian is taking on a newly created position as he is listed as the Professional Video Scout of the team. That tells you a little about the direction the Jays are headed in when they scout all the players they cover. They’re going through video with a fine toothed comb and want to make sure they get accurate data. This can also help them lower the amount of traveling executives have to do when making decisions or assessments. It’s a very interesting addition.
  • Billy Gasparino and Tommy Tanous are no longer listed as part of the National Amateur Cross-Checker team, while only Dean DeCillis has been added to this part of the team. That leaves the Jays with only 2 National Amateur Cross-Checkers instead of the 3 they operated with in 2010. DeCillis was previously with the Giants organization as a South-Eastern Regional Cross-Checker.
  • Steve Miller has been promoted from Texas Area scout and has taken over the Regional Amateur Cross-Checker spot left open from Bob Fontaine Jr‘s promotion. He was responsible for 2010 Jays draft picks Noah Syndergaard (sandwich pick), who I interviewed in 2010, as well as Brandon Mims (9th) and Zak Adams (15th rd). To say that he has the confidence of Alex Anthopoulos who be an understatement!
  • Tim Rooney has been hired and takes over the spot vacated by Brandon Mozley, also as a Regional Amateur Cross-Checker.
  • Joey Aversa (California), Kevin Fox (California), C.J. Ebarb (Texas), Michael Wagner (Texas), and Matt O’Brien (Florida) have been added to the list of Area Scouts for the Jays, while Steve Miller (Texas – promoted), Tim Rooney (California – promoted), Chris Becerra (California), Mark Flatten (Arizona), Aaron Jersild (Texas), and Carlos Rodriguez (Florida) are no longer with the Area Scout group. That results in the same number of scouting in Florida, Texas, and California, but now leaves the Arizona area short by one scout in comparison to 2010 numbers.
  • Finally, the Jays have added 1 scout to their international scout numbers by hiring Domingo Toribio to scout the Dominican Republic area. That brings the total of Jays scouts on the island to 4.

Hiring more scouts for areas such as the Dominican Republic makes a lot fo sense when you consider the amount of talent that has come from the small island in recent times. If the Jays can get a better handle on who to sign from that region, they’ll surely be able to mitigate their losses financially and to target high-upside players that may have been overlooked by other clubs.

The Jays continue to improve both the quality and the experience of their scouting department. It’s obvious that many highly thought of scouts see the Jays organization as a great place to come since the Jays have been able to hire people, like Bove and Sutherland, who may have been able to land higher ranking jobs with other organizations. As the improvements continue, so should the product on the field.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the Jays just keep getting better overall as an organization. they’re attracting high quality individuals to the club as a result, and are just on the brink of repeaing the benefits.

– MG

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