ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick takes an interesting look at the changing general managerial landscape around the league. The Brewers just hired thirty-year-old David Stearns to take the helm, of course, and Crasnick notes that several other young, analytically-minded executives are in the hunt for other GM positions. As he explains, however, there is more nuance both to the more youthful newcomers and the more established GM candidates on the market. While there is a cyclical element to front office hiring, says Crasnick, it’s also true that the job has changed significantly, with baseball operations departments growing in size and diversity of functions. Then, there’s the fact that team ownership is increasingly savvy and data-driven as the amount of money involved has skyrocketed. (Crasnick quotes one executive who notes that many owners are very hands-on: “They’ll see something on the MLB Trade Rumors site and call you and say, ’Why didn’t we know about this?'”) You’ll want to give the piece a full read.
Here are a few more stray notes from around the game:
- While the use of data in baseball is a given at this point, that doesn’t mean it isn’t continuing to evolve. Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal sat down recently with two key figures in analytics, A’s GM Billy Beane and noted sabermetrician Bill James, for a compelling chat. Both agreed that, while teams often work on fascinating projects behind closed doors, the analytical work done in the public realm still offers the greatest capacity for knowledge advancement because it is subject to broad scrutiny and capable of being built up from a gathering of many minds. Of course, as Beane notes, an increasing number of the people who might once have written in public fora are now employed by teams.
- If you feel it’s been too long since the last exciting new Cuban player popped up on the radar, then check out this piece from MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez. He highlights a 16-year-old known as Lazarito — full name: Lazaro Robersy Armenteros Arango — who has impressive skills and a rising profile. Lazarito is currently in Haiti, where he’s preparing to showcase his talents and continuing the process of achieving free agency. While he still has a lot to prove, Lazarito already stands out in one regard: he’s much younger than most Cuban prospects that are attempting to move into MLB organizations.
- Baseball America is running through the top prospects in each of the minor leagues. It’s an ongoing process, but now would be a good time to take a peek if you’re interested in seeing how recent draft picks and rising international youngsters are progressing, as BA is most of the way through its Rookie ball ratings. Among the players placing highly are Brewers prospects Trent Clark and Gilbert Lara, Brendan Rodgers of the Rockies, and Astros outfielder Kyle Tucker.