Jun 2, 2014|
With the Major League Baseball amateur draft looming on Thursday, Red Sox amateur scouting director Amiel Sawdaye discusses how the Red Sox' scouting processes have evolved over his five seasons in charge of the team's draft, while also giving a glimpse into the preparations for the 2014 draft.
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It's coming. Thursday marks over the -- Major League Baseball draft where suddenly people about who we know very little vaulted to prominence as potential Foundation's future organizational success. The Red Sox find themselves quite happily in my dad in a very different position. This this year than they did a year ago. In 2013 the Red Sox have the number seven overall pick. Their highest spot in twenty years things to the Major League misery that they he experienced in the 2012 season. They took lefthander Trey ball and athletic high school left -- with top of the rotation -- -- the type of player who almost never falls to them where they usually pick late in the first round. This year -- -- are back towards the end of the first round. They have to first rounder is their -- at number 26 overall it to number 33 pick as a result of the yankees' signing. A Jacoby Ellsbury -- of course for Stephen Drew who resigned with the team. We'll talk with Jim callous of mlb.com. About this year's draft class in some potential fits for the Red Sox. But first -- check in with -- -- sought a threat such immature scouting director. This is Sunday's fifth draft as threats such an amateur scouting director of the man in charge of the draft. In so it seems a -- time to think about how the Red Sox draft process has evolved while also looking back on some past -- including that first year. What is first pick -- that it has actually retired this spring. But the rest of the 2000 draft included players like Brandon Workman guarantee -- -- Renato priced brands and Sean -- Guys who still have considerable upside with potential impact mutually futures. So with hindsight how does -- a view that first draft. Certainly don't want. -- -- your first round pick which you also water viewers in and that's why you spend as much time with the first rounder. If you do intersected in your third net that you need to spend -- that would get a little deeper down because that's kind of how you paint maker drafted them. He can't just only focus on one ticket he would tell me. Back then that that we'd be in this position I'd probably. So you were crazy. You know I think they've read them we believe we believe incorporated. Certainly great kid at a lot of town and I think there's just you know there's there's some. Have things that went on and whether. Whether those other players make that draft of more. Fruitful productive draft I guess people don't want to wait and see a bit. You know I think looking looking at a right now looking at it today or still very optimistic that we did that -- And full of productive. Major leaguers and hopefully small stars. So thinking about those first two drafts they were really interesting ones you guys got got to wield you know you guys got to wield some serious weight in terms of how aggressive you were. Both because you had a wealth of supplemental first rounder is from free agent who departed. So that's how you got guys like -- Renato in the supplemental first round the next year you had four of the first forty picks in the draft. I think once again to some free agent departures. Bob not to mention the fact that you know even in later rounds rookie -- for instance fifth round you're giving him 750000. Dollars and he's. Obviously becoming as. There's there's been a little bit of publicity about him of late I'm not sure if you were aware of that. You know how drastic a change if at all was it. From those first two draft when you could do that you could find guys in the fifth round the -- throughout the tenth round who you're pretty aggressive in in trying to sign it financially. Vs the new world order that exists under the current collective bargaining agreement in which do you really the opportunities to spend heavily. In those later rounds are are very few. Yeah I don't think it's I think it's just. I'm not sure that it's actually change the way you scale. Because I think we still announced that -- players that we -- -- And and potentially offer money to adjust that to strategize a little bit differently. So maybe and it you know maybe you're underground elections a little differently than you would. In. The previous landscape. Set to open up may you know at that time they've you know victory probably did some things where we we spent some money in 2012 and some are in it. They -- but tree and and you know on and change some things around in his state money and in other places that I picked the strategies and can change year to year. So it allows it allows for different. Since that little bit more flexibility. And you know mean. Is that mean that if you keep that were in this draft. In -- high school that we wouldn't be able aside -- now I think we still if we really believe in the player. You know maybe you have to take a little higher maybe and yet to commit a little bit of money to a little bit earlier and strategize a little bit differently that. You know and -- the ticket price changes the mindset of the kids to you know I think some of these kids knows that it's not an -- well and and there are strict. There are restrictions on what teams can do parameters of what teams can do so. You know unfortunately for the for the player to some degree and fortunately for. -- some of these kids will probably end up a lot of -- to make a decision on. Go to college first specially guys -- kids are -- and Adam and some of that dictated that money in them you know that the kids that wanna play. At a high school will -- terrible -- it may get. Little less money that would again in the previous landscape but. But they're really committed to play pro but Wednesday so -- be there. Have they been more definitive in terms of you know in terms of where they stand regarding. Their desire to turn pro verses going to college. I just say I mean some some players are some players will tell you that they're they're really focused on playing -- and other players who played and then make. They go to college am and then other players will do. They'll be 5050 and unique had a after convertible. Talking to a -- Sunday the Red Sox director of amateur scouting this has been an interesting. Highlights for the value of those top draft picks now you guys obviously always held them. In you know in in high regard that's part of the reason why some free agent decisions were made in the past for instance. Where he said OK the value of recouping a couple draft picks under the old system. Is so significant that even though we really like this player we we have to factor that in. That's continued for you guys but. You know it seems to Stephen Drew saga as it played out. In the fact that a very good shortstop. Remained unsigned until you guys jumped in to sign him. To what degree what does that what does that tell you about just how valuable those topics are in to what degree is better reflection of the fact that. It's more difficult now to spend a little bit later in the draft. By -- each team values. The graphics. Little bit differently as you can probably tell them teams a moment ago and spend on free agents and and lose their. In my in my -- it is in the first round -- second round pick. At do you think that most clubs have probably. Had a pretty good sense that building did practice is. That's pretty Smart mood and its any news -- organizations some flexibility -- -- I don't think it's too shocking that the teams are some of that. Large majority of the teams that are. Little hesitant to give up their top draft expert you know obviously that's the landscape that we that in in. In I'm not sure how much of that can change in the future but it. You know as we move forward in this year and end product played by the same rules next year old that's -- -- we have there analysts. Now that you are in your -- in your fifth draft. How much have the process -- that you guys follow at all. That they evolve every year bear city and they were always looking to get better we know that. You know we we don't we record -- on our laurels and say that we have that. Wave -- process sir. You know our processes full proof I think we learned her arm. We learn every year from our mistakes and that we get better and Adam you know I think as you get. You're -- get more are. Experience and is that -- I think it changes a little bit. You know we have that we have to adjust to them and I think we just stared. It's funny because. Sometimes it's cyclical mean sometimes you look at things he did in 20042005. That you ran away from the -- 20072008. -- some in and you you. Mean the -- reinvent itself in 2013. Senators just. Yes at times. Things I -- different parts of your process a lot of favorite and you know we we we try to stay. Which it stayed true to our processes we can and you know we do feel like if that's. You know we make a mistake but we kind of adhered to the way we still believe we believe. Our proposition. Should work thing you know we make that mistake but it you know hopefully. In the way we've -- -- created this. I guess the process surround our. Our are drafted you know we try to mitigate as many mistakes as possible so. -- -- Unfortunately -- the visit the war ended is them. You know the return raid on the success -- this is very low so. A lot of obviously a lot of players that you're taking don't take it to the major leagues in I guess they can -- they can be viewed as. As failures are mistaken sometimes and sometimes those players aren't. -- because -- it is exactly what you expected them to be. But and they serve their purpose. When claim fair or not accurate or not they will sometimes be offered is you know where where the Red Sox power hitters -- they developed you know guy. But why haven't they developed you know that the thirty homer smasher which I think is you know an unfair it is kind of a silly characters -- since. How many teams are developing those guys at this point given the scarcity of power. Douglas it's worth asking guests. You know do you just generally philosophically. How do you put the question of a balanced tool set -- run single carrying two of its. Kind of the -- kind of creates huge upside. Yet it I think it and like I understand how people. And them are. And would ask it where's the where you know -- -- power I would agree it is that that's probably. Powers it is scarcity in the game. If you know looking back on now which we did you have Paul Goldsmith now you know they've been obviously -- in -- -- grounder. Wherever he went in in other. About 250 -- are so spirited battle next. And that it. An unbelievable job you know with -- liquid making sure they got him inside him and obviously. Better than what they've probably believed to. And you know power typically goes to top of the draft and you know were hoping that we don't pick the top of the draft every year when you do you -- -- -- have that opportunity get. Those big -- guys. They. You know I think it's ten and have that -- argue that we have. Drafted and developed under president. You know some wouldn't -- it in its neighbors no it. Obviously middle -- to he's shown. Easy rob calories in and obviously some game pallor I mean we we do. It's it's hard obviously there's there's a balance when you can say well you know do you wanna get their take your chance -- that power hitter. Now on the might strike out a lot -- you wanna take that. I -- troll who's older really hidden hope we get to the tower and comment a common belief that. Believe Trinidad getting hitters get to their power eventually. If they have a lot of traits they have that you look for. And then and then you know it comes over time I mean these kids are still. These kids you know we expect so much -- After develop their man strength and sometimes we just horrendous. I think the way that. And not just the draft but the minor leagues were but you know what we expect out of them we get somebody blogs and so many web sites that are dedicated towards. Following these kids that we expect them to go out and hit twenty or thirty homer conflict. You know right away and -- -- guys that are even strong enough to do that and so. They get news. Start to see some of these kids get stronger inserted developed -- to cede more power. And in you know like I do you feel like we have some of those guys and our system that are gonna. Eventually get to their power but it's but it doesn't happen overnight. I spoke to an interesting case in point to someone like a Travis shot even whose who obviously had demonstrated preview a very strong approach a disciplined approach. When did seem like it would work well for Fenway with the ability to hit the ball to left center. And you know who has kind of starting to apply that with the consistency. It has lent itself to this early season power surge. And and shot I mean I think if you remembered Beckett -- -- assembly here. People of all over the bullpen to gain in the game. That are bigger -- relative. Maybe it was it really well shot as -- aren't I think it's you know he. We see it early on but you know we out after members as -- 53 years ago and it's three years ago today was using collagen. -- these. And very disturbed Leckey centimeter thick -- they keywords in the consistency they're going to be inconsistencies with. Most -- early players are gonna have the peaks and valleys in. It's how they bounce back how they handle adversity and -- I do believe Travis gets back to history swing and what he. Now what he said demonstrated his first couple years out for us you know we do feel like he's he's got a little bit his power but. Dumb you know you if you ran away from that player because he added. Sub par year last year. You know then then -- can take a pretty big mistake hamburgers says -- been as you'll probably. Knowing you've seen it throughout baseball mean their -- a -- have run away from a lot of -- prodigious power hitters that they end up they did that make and and day. And men you know and that's 74050. Home run in the big reason you take out. Domestic. Clearly we've we've. Had the fortune of particular one of those guys -- In ten years ago as a. It is fascinating to to see like how it goes and we power hitters you're -- believed their Chris davis'. Encarnacion Batista Batista have all moved organizations. A -- looking at the all star game last year and wondering what is -- -- why why is this the case but it it is. A reasonable point and as an important one to remember. Yet made it and then and I think that. Blake we see you know lot of things that we always forget and it's really do believe it's a product as. How we how quickly we want players to get our -- they are big league team help out the major leagues right away. And then sometimes we don't let these get developed they come up they they may develop bad habits because they're big leagues. And maybe they'll get to their power and say you know you. Each -- eat yet which in the different organization they cited the Marley free agent or whatever whatever the case may be. And then they can't make it to restart and they develop faith based to get back to their -- that made them successful and then all of a sudden now there are a little bit stronger and there are a little bit older their little bit wiser. And now all of a sudden I get to that Howard so it's that balance and it probably is -- And one of the toughest jobs and sure effort for the farm director for the people make the decisions on the Major League side -- And you know it's it's just preaching patience with a lot of these guys did did you expect power to develop. Think he's a little bit about pitchers you guys have made a point of drafting giants. It is you know it's it's ridiculous seeing senior pitchers walking around and groups back in spring training because. I'm I'm short and so I I typically enter my neck as a result of this this process walked around them you you also are not very tall so you know what I'm talking about -- So it isn't like the minimum height requirement did you go with what's you know when you when you draw up it kind of the ideal pitcher in your mind who you. Who you who kind of starts capturing your attention that. How tall are you talking about. I don't and they now. Honestly I mean I am not get a runaway from activities six footer -- 511 immediate Eric -- we probably wouldn't. We wouldn't have been -- not regret it. But. You know. Elway there are guys if you walk around a bit of the clubhouse and you've been around -- our pitchers I mean they're big boys. And and they have to be and there are you know there's -- is that their ability factor. It's involved. With being able to call. You know you're -- you want them that the pitched 200 innings -- 250 innings and techniques in stature -- wondered after a pitcher it's not realistic for every pitcher but that's the goal and yeah it's just -- and I don't know I mean I just dumb but to have a true believers and it. In your body can only handle so much and in. He this Malek as well there are some that can do it. And those are probably more the exception of the rule. -- -- Their bodies they're gonna it's gonna -- -- bigger told there would have popped out 200 innings in on 9290 dirty or ever. So I think that. Just did job lackeys in the job monsters in the Josh Beckett in the gadget it comes to rank -- Schilling they've come -- -- have been big. Terrible strong pitchers have had long careers. There's a reason for that and Dan. By no means -- has said that means let's say we would never take a pitcher that is it. Cats come in different shapes and sizes and a lot of them have a lot really are to be really successful. I'm an individual basis but you know I think when -- When you're playing to fielder junior trying to bet you know he's kind of -- to -- used to say here admit mistake. You know. And not -- they -- and I think when we -- never we we don't. Deviate from. What we've done in the past because we certainly there -- there's not a physical requirement that. Think he walker you know it's funny because of one thing it's not about pitchers -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Chris first and then that he's very decent CNET -- grown up well -- these terrorists Candice it was it was resist. The smaller guy in the big leagues utility infielder. And that in that paid a big guy. But -- -- lists you know he's he's bigger -- not huge but it right you know and that was in my mind -- they grow up to watched. Dedicated section has bottom invented as a utility you actually can't they just run of the mill and it's. Yes. -- look who look like yeah so when you're down by an average person and but he's not a big strong physical and get some -- in the big -- for a long time. Talking to our -- sought a director of amateur scouting for the Red Sox there was reference made in -- in a story about the cubs in Theo Epstein to. The involvement of -- scouting the development of girl scouting has a scouting tool. I'm curious to what degree. Something like that meaning you know a mechanism for perhaps you know finding ways of measuring things like hand eye coordination or. You know -- reaction time or perhaps how much you know analytics as it at a time when. When the field and when the playing field for -- is changing drastically the Major League level. How much have those aspects of scouting changed over the last few years. I told us that they necessarily change that they get -- -- a lot of Smart people there are involved in baseball and everybody is looking for an edge. And so everybody's trying to find a -- -- analytical tool that might. Com or analytical process that might help them get it to even if it. A miniscule -- down you know that that might help them get an edge and now them. Yeah I think there's some -- they're they're they're right if factors that go into evaluating an amateur player. Then. You know we've we've employed different. Well -- different tools are different analytical. Approaches to. To looking at the player in addition to what we will we believe is that -- is the most important. And that's that's scouting -- get the kids. I take it to the forefront that is you know years captured out of the ground and and and spending a lot of time getting to see these kids and you know whether it's a high school that they seen in the last two or three years in amassing over hundred at bats. Or religion and dedicated family because. That's lieutenant. We can sit here and chided. And these different tools. That we that we certainly. I considered that we don't use other. Analytical. And we don't think it's an analytical approach to it two different parts of the draft. -- -- At the end of the day you know we have to be comfortable in what we see in the field and and -- that's -- -- -- do and so. Yet they're different things that they come up and every year or something we gave we may look at something a little bit different and do some research but it's not. There is no one. And that way interrogator yet to be -- things have changed and they'll try keep on changing his new products and new information becomes available. Thinking a little bit about this year's drafted in the preparations for how different an undertaking has has that part being the compared to compared to a 2013. Draft in which you had the kind of mixed blessing of your highest of the organization's highest epic. In twenty years at the number seven overall pick. Now on site actions and to -- thirteen taught me a little bit about. About the processing you know on the one of the things I did. And play thirteen and and you know and that's -- a lot of players that then you know last month or so really focused on the desert taking a fixed seven. And we can't obviously. Limit the pool we -- takes seven players -- there were gonna definitely -- Miller's. Found -- look at obviously a little bit harder -- you were taken this year but now. You know I I've felt so comfortable with the guys that we talked about up high. Dead. Because -- went back and some of them that would have been and just kind of and I always. It it it would is that. Whether it was the multiple looks border. Really. Honing in -- players and doing more research on -- -- felt pretty good about where you work. And -- this year caddick took of that a little bit at the same approach I can't. Sit here and tell you who's gonna get to Arctic north and it's they who select. But it -- think. It this is that this all of the good buildings is that. You know honestly I probably would tell you that the rectified there is very you know attractive. And down. It didn't. It's the same defense. This same -- you know I think what we. -- it gave it to me that they get spent I spent a little bit more time this year instead -- you know last month still running down in trying to -- kid that I hadn't seen. You know you'd you'd trust the people understand if you don't need to see every player and you just get really comfortable at those first couple decks. And and it makes you feel I personally makes you feel a lot better about -- go into the draft knowing that. You know -- not that. But we talked about your your top two picks aren't nearly two -- but. At least side note that you know we have a group it would really did feel all around you know about elder players. So let's use nuclear there was going to be when seven guys -- -- probably rule out about three of them at the very least at the top rate oh you you had a a pretty well defined pool of maybe a handful of guys are so. At this point when you think about your top pick in being mindful of the fact that that is not your only -- You have a number of important picks at the top especially with the supplemental first rounder. I -- because of Jacoby Ellsbury leaving in free agency. How -- how many do you think you are are in play to give quantity standpoint you know -- a quantity perspective. Government for your first round pick right now. It's hard to Sammy yeah I think we can sit here and I -- cheerfully took. You know we took forty players. And we kicked -- forty like our top forty players will probably get our top three -- And I had a bit of doubt in my gas. Even though -- Around -- -- -- There's just so much deviation betray their -- you know every club looks at a player differently. But. Now I mean yeah there's it's it's it it's an interesting draft year because. In the recent rash of injuries I think it's a Major League level. In Iran and clearly there have been summit amateur level they picked it. Change -- some clubs. Look at the draft that are now I mean I don't know how that's gonna change of focus or approach may do nothing. But you know it's hard it's part for me to say. We know what that group of -- -- -- fifteen players are reading of one of those fifteen have no clue. In hopes so -- topic that's communicate. It's it is worth asking you mentioned -- the rash of injuries and approaches to it in the past you guys have taken in into its considerable amount of money on guys who you thought would probably require Tommy John and ultimately for instance straight Britain was someone. We took him in that was no later round pick I think off the top my head I think it was like the 24 round. In 2007. You know did he require Tommy John shortly after he made his pro debut. How how do you approach that kind of brisk weather guy who just recently underwent Tommy John. Or someone who is who you think is probably at considerable risk but with considerable upside who might of who might need Tommy John. And it's a case by case basis it's so hard debt mall until one grouping you mean. -- -- whether to Tommy John or whether it's another injury sound a lot has to do is with the kids the body to make up to stop. That. That the surgeon you know elected just air there are some of -- different elements that go intent. You know we may we may say well we were in on taking one guy we're not in -- taken another or you know we were eating at. The job. Play QB -- selecting the player -- others say there's more risk to take a gap and there is taken the twelfth round you know we we taking guys and like last year we took a guy who pretty sure is getting it out in general and more leading pan am -- -- -- I can remember how much they. He ended up going -- we -- 1415 some like that ended up and go to night pretty quickly but we do. My namesake would that be my namesake. Sick and it did as he does he pronounces her speier -- spirits fire it's fire contact right that would be it right because of season has Major League pedigree when those higher. But we do we do what we're fighting you know in what you learned yet taken again a first round -- It just obviously it just depends. When you get down to these last few days how how much. How much is already set in -- in how much how many moving pieces are there over these last few days. -- once we get everything candidates. Settled out I think the last couple days there won't be it'll be a little bit more of massage in the board rather than kind of creating aboard. So you know we we know we've identified the players we like -- -- that. Bracket and move a player -- -- fifty stopped as we just heard it last outing on 96 miles an hour. You know we've we've spent a lot time he's as he scattered on. You know we've seen we've we know. We know their strengths and weaknesses and I think a lot of it is now just putting it altogether you know trying to. It's the first place where you can actually. After the first place where you don't just talk about the players of ability. But yet to talk about their makeup -- they're wired dramatic call. You know they're they're performance. City -- out -- to put it altogether and then thank you really. To start you know -- back. We're not just taken a play as the best army in that we have to consider a number of different factors we take a pitcher so. Yet to the place where we actually. Are able to manage that information and hopefully be you know we try to do that as. This weekend. I think we -- get -- because it thicker guys. Are very prepared are very organized. You know our our cross checkers come in -- them with a lot of lot of ammunition -- they would a lot of against that they're they're overly prepared and they know what they're getting themselves into when they walk into the -- terms so. NATO is they're gonna fight for it they know route -- scouts want and until we spent the time of the guys we like and -- ultimate bill be gagged it. Go to our -- go between picks that were not really you know we don't we honestly we don't spend a whole lot of time on the guys that we. We -- we don't concern ourselves with a lot of players that we feel like -- Just not it's for a. Well the one thing I feel comfortable in asserting. About these next few days is that you're probably going to get very little daylight. So you know good luck weathering that storm in Italian now. I know maybe maybe get in they -- -- make a case for a budget item of like a tanning bed or something for the next day there's your change in process for. We'll try to start a little later he stacked in Italy later in the morning so lets -- get get out the morning in and around. Do you do some. Run of -- -- doing some market mattered at some that they can hopefully -- they had a little bit so. Calisthenics. Stuff you know calisthenics is a group that hit a team building exercise. But you read it.