Getting player development and scouting on the same page

If any organization wants lasting success and a good farm system, it is probably essential that its player development and scouting departments are on the same page.

A few years ago, there were those that felt that was not true in Baltimore and that internal differences hurt the overall effort. Orioles director of player development Brian Graham, addressing the current situation with the organization, feels the departments are very much on the same page now.

The scouts sign the players, but the minor league staff coaches and develops them. When a player fails, it inevitably leads to the age-old question: Did the scout sign someone not talented enough or did the player development staff not do a good job in making the player better?

That is always among the hardest questions to answer in the sport, but when the two departments both work together to make an individual player the best he can be, the entire organization can then begin to produce more talent.

Graham says those two departments work together very well in Baltimore.

“The most important thing is that, (Orioles scouting director) Gary Rajsich and I have an extremely open line of communication,” Graham said. “We talk frequently and I like to hear his opinion on his draft picks and where they should play. I’m open to his thoughts on promotions, position changes. You know, we are all in this together.

“This is how it works in good organizations when they are doing things correctly. Everyone’s opinion is important. You have to be open-minded and listen to all opinions to make the best decisions.

“The key factor is that everyone has to be on the same page. The area scout has to be telling the player the same thing as the hitting instructor. The communication is so important.

“Organizations can go south when scouts and player development differ on how a player should be developed and they express their opinion on that. Now you may sit in the room and fight it out (in a spirited debate), that is perfect. There is no problem. I have absolutely no problem with any scout at any level giving me their opinion on any player’s instruction.”

Graham said internal debate on a prospect’s instruction or future plan is welcome and it leads to the best path for the player.

“Yes, but when you leave that room or you leave that phone conversation, you have to be on the same page for us to be a productive development system,” he said.

“I feel very good about the fact that the scouting department supports the player development department and the player development department is very pleased with what the scouting department is doing. I’m confident that Gary Rajsich and his group support what we are doing.”

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