Baseball scouts a dying species?

It looks like that modern business management has reached MLB. Older people are not important anymore and are laid off for younger employees and computers. Quality isn’t important anymore, only money matters.

Major League clubs are laying off scout jobs in a rapid fashion. Many of the unemployed scouts are asking the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation for financial help.
The Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau, which once employed 58 scouts, has been stripped down to 17, and  as the unemployed scouts are advised to look for a job outside baseball, it will only get smaller.

Especially the older scouts are having a hard time. They are baseball guys. They have been in the business for decades and now all of a sudden they need to look for another job. But all they know is baseball.

Who is to blame for this? In a certain way you can blame Billy Beane. He is the father of the money ball system in which a club is looking to stats and sabermetrics. And that is what more and more clubs do nowadays. They are relying more on the computer than on the human aspect. Teams are treating their veteran scouts like some old gadget that is replaced and thrown away.

One person who is not joining this sabermetrics only craze is Dodgers’ vice president Alex Anthopoulos. He was GM with the Blue Jays and hired a lot of scouts. “The best moves we made were the ones we didn’t make because of the information we got from our scouts,’’ Anthopoulos said. “Sure, you look at the analytic side, but you’re talking about the human side, too. We looked at plenty of guys who could help us, but our scouts would give us information, letting us know that they wouldn’t fit into this group or dynamic that we had here. This game is so competitive, you need to get every ounce of information you can to try to separate yourself, and our scouts played such a big part in our success.,’’ Anthopoulos said.

Not only on the field teams try to rejuvenate, also in the front office the average age is going down. Since August ten new GMs have been hired and only Al Avila (Detroit) and Jerry Dipoto (Seattle) are older than 45.

If teams that use a lot of scouts can win championships, teams like the Kansas City Royals, this new trend may be turned around again. But until then it is a scary time for baseball scouts.

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