1. The Cardinals are SABRAt ESPN Sweetspot, Anna McDonald sat down with Cardinals' GM John Mozeliak to learn about how the Cardinals use sabermetrics. It's well worth a read. Hint: the Cardinals use a proprietary version of WAR. Really. And a key quote from Mozeliak, on the amateur/minor league side:
I will say where analytics do come into play is two places. One is the amateur draft. It has become a really important tool for the success of our operation. The other part that comes into play is determining promotions and demotions in minor league players and, again, we do not solely make decisions on what these numbers say. We allow all the people we have working for us to have a voice in this, but we do have some guidelines that we use that help us make these decisions.In both of these respects, the Mets are similar. In the draft, they have identified a particular type of college hitter (think low k%) while on the pitching side they seek guys with outstanding K/BB ratios. As for promotions, the Mets have clear internal metrics that prospects must reach in the majority of cases to earn promotions.
2. The Rockies are Re-thinking their Player Development StaffThe Rockies have created a new staff position for each of their minor league affiliates, the Supervisor of Development.
The Development Supervisor is a leadership role that is highly responsible for the oversight and implementation of the Rockies development philosophies and practices. The Development Supervisor will be a team-builder who will create synergy among staff members so that they may generate and evaluate best practices on a daily, weekly, monthly and season-long basis.With the exception of the final clause of that first paragraph, that sounds an awful lot like the job description of the minor league manager. The Supervisor position clearly is more process oriented than the managers are expected to be and more focused on the organization as a whole, while the on-field manager tends to be more focused on the day-to-day of the players in his charge.
The Development Supervisors will serve as leaders in communication, so that consistency and continuity of organizational philosophies, execution, standards and expectations exist from level to level. In addition, the Development Supervisors will creatively seek out solutions to issues and challenges, so that we establish a foundation of winning with a focus on the professional and personal development of our players. The Development Supervisor will travel with their respective club.
I think this is a fascinating development. I wonder if the managers will feel that their role is being usurped, or whether they will welcome the help with administrative and big league team interactions to be freer to focus more on their teams. In this age of computers and video, this seems like a good reminder that there is still often no replacement for being there.