Do the O’s have enough scouts?

As we continue our series on the O’s minors, how about scouting and the number of scouting positions a club uses?

Fans have pointed out that, according to the Baseball America directory, the Orioles rank last in the AL East in the number of scouting positions.

Here is what Baseball America reported:

Director, International Scouting - 1
Director, Professional Scouting - 1
Major League Advance Scout - 1
Major League Scouts - 2
Pro Scouts - 7
Director, Amateur Scouting - 1
Scouting Administrator - 1
National Crosscheckers - 1
Regional Crosscheckers - 4
Full Time Scouts - 14
DR Summer League, Camp Coordinator - 1
Int’l Scouts - 2
Total Departmental Positions - 36

Scouting Director - 1
Assistant, Director - 1
Advance Scouting Coordinator - 1
Assistant, Amateur Scouting - 1
Assistant, International Scouting - 1
Advance Scouts - 2
SPecial Assignment Scout - 1
Special Assignment Pitching Evaluator - 1
Major League Scouts - 3
Pro Scouts - 6
Consultants - 2
National Crosscheckers - 1
Regional Crosscheckers - 3
Area Scouts - 18
Coordinator, Latin AMerican Scoutin/Int’l Crosschecker - 1
Coordinator, Pac. Rim Scouting - 1
Cooridnator, Euro. Scouting - 1
Venezuela Scouting Supervisor - 1
DR Scouting Supervisor - 1
Int’l Scouts - 13
Total Departmental Positions - 60

VP, Amateur Scouting - 1
Assistant Director, Amateur Scouting - 1
Senior DIrector, Pro Personnel - 1
Assistant, Professional Scouting - 1
Pro Scouts - 15
Amateur Scouting, National Crosscheckers - 3
Area Scouts - 18
Director, International Scouting - 1
Assistant Director, International Operations - 1
Coordinator, International Player D’ment - 1
International Scouting Supervisors - 2
Scouting Development Coaches - 2
DR Scouts - 4
Venezuelan Scouts - 4
International Scouts - 8
Total Departmental Positions - 63

Director, Scouting - 1
Administrator, Scouting - 1
Assistant, Scouting/MiL Operations - 1
Director, Pro Scouting - 1
Cooridnator, Advance Scouting - 1
Special Assignment Scouts - 3
Major League Scouts - 1
Pro Scouts - 6
National Crosscheckers - 2
East Coast Crosschecker - 1
Midwest Crosschecker - 1
West Coast Crosschecker -1
Area Scouts - 15
Part-time Area Scouts - 7
International Scout - 1
Director, International Operations - 1
Director, DR Operations - 1
Director, Venezuelan Operations - 1
Pac. Rim Coordinator - 1
Special Assistant, Baseball Operations - 1
Assistant, International Operations - 1
Consultant, International Operations - 1
Total Departmental Positions - 50

Director, Amateur Scouting - 1
Director, Pro Scouting - 1
Coordinator, Amateur Scouting - 1
Coordinator, Pro Scouting - 1
Video Coordinators - 3
Major League Scouts - 3
Professional Crosscheckers - 2
Pro Scouts - 15
National Crosscheckers - 3
Regional Crosscheckers - 5
Area Scouts - 24
Canada Scouts - 3
Ambassador, Canadian Amateur Baseball - 1
Director, Latin American Operations - 1
International Scouts (DR, Venezuela, Australia, Columbia) - 8
Total Departmental Positions - 72

Here is what Andy MacPhail said when I questioned him about that listing.

Melewski: Is that list accurate?

MacPhail: “I would say two things: you really can’t understand what the two- to-one ratio (Toronto vs. Baltimore) that one might believe, until you understand what the jobs are. What’s part-time, what’s ceremonial, what’s what.

“The fact that the numbers are so big, is an indicator to me that, you know one of the issues since Tampa Bay snuck up on these clubs, I think Boston, New York and now Toronto have made the determination that that’s not going to happen again.

“Go back and look at Toronto’s numbers like a year or two ago. I think they added like 20 people.

“I think you reach the law of diminishing returns when it comes to some of this personnel. Until they come out and find some kid in Nebraska that didn’t have a high school team and they found (him) in a cornfield somewhere, I do think that there are very few surprises in that amateur world. Most of this stuff is a fairly known commodity.

“It really gets down to sometimes the ability of the scout, and it’s not always about numbers. But those numbers are something that I am aware of and paying attention to. Obviously those areas where you think it would be helpful to add, you are interested in adding.

“But, some of it is you definitely do reach the law of diminishing returns. And, if the opinions aren’t quality, then you can start to muck up the works a little.

“Let’s say you are trying to sort through the top three players in the country. You get so many opinions in there and you can get a variation of opinions there, and you end up being more confused, than if you have four guys you trust and rely on. It can be that you have a better result that way than if you sent nine guys out there, some of which don’t have the experience yet or the aptitude to differentiate whether it’s Machado or Taillon or Bryce Harper.”

Melewski: Can teams make those numbers read different things? Are they maybe inflated in some cases?

MacPhail: “I think part of that is a byproduct of Tampa doing well in that area, making a difference in other clubs ratcheting up. I know in some cases, some of those names are not really guys that - I don’t know how to delicately say it - are impactful.”

Melewski: So you don’t feel like you are outmanned there?

MacPhail: “I think there are areas we’d like to continue to grow and improve. I certainly don’t think it’s a two-to-one variation that that would lead you to believe, when you really get down and look at it.

“Like I ,you do reach the law of diminishing returns, but I don’t think we’re there yet. I wouldn’t sit here and tell you we are completely happy with where we are. We are always looking to find ways to improve in that area.

“With Toronto, it would be interesting to see where they were a year or two ago and where they are now. And, how impactful them adding that many scouts really will be at the end of the day.

“Did they come up with somebody that no one else knew about? Are they trying to cover more leagues? I’m not sure, for example, scouting the Northwest League makes that much sense. Maybe it does, but most of those kids in that league aren’t going to be traded because it’s their first year.”

Melewski: Do teams hire away scouts from other teams?

MacPhail: “We had some of that last year. We lost Deron Rombach to the Braves, Wayne Krivsky went to the Mets, Hollins to the Phillies.

“They all have to get some promotion of some ilk to do that. I think we lost four or five. Jim Howard, Toronto came after, but he stayed. To me that was an indication of them looking at us, thinking, there are some good people over there.”

Melewski: Have the O’s hired scouts away from other clubs?

MacPhail: “We’ve done it to other clubs. We hired Matt Ruebel to be our national crosschecker. What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander. We’ve done it. They’ve done it to us, we’ve done it to them.”

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