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Obando

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About Obando

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  1. I was thinking the same thing, mainly because when Sig was hired, the title he was given was Assistant GM - Analytics. If it was simply Assistant GM, with no specific designation, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it, but it’s the emphasis on analytics that tells me Elias likely plans to hire an additional Assistant GM to oversee scouting &/or player development. Since Matt Blood has already been hired as Player Development Director, that makes hiring someone above him a little less likely, however. On the other hand, there currently isn’t a true scouting director in place, with Brad Ciolek given the title of Domestic Scouting Supervisor. If Ciolek was truly a scouting director, his title would likely include “Director” in it. That tells me that Elias likely has designs on hiring either an Assistant GM in charge of scouting (as Sig is to Analytics), or an actual scouting director. Names to keep an eye on for an Assistant GM-Scouting job are Jaron Madison, current director of PD with the Cubs (worked with Elias in St. Louis) and Kris Gross, current scouting director with the Astros (worked with Elias in both St. Louis & Houston), but that’s obviously pure speculation on my part.
  2. I totally understand where you are coming from. It’s a shame baseball doesn’t pay better as an industry unless you are a GM or manager, because it would attract a much bigger and better pool of candidates. You have to really love baseball and be willing to make major sacrifices to justify taking a low paying job with crazy working hours. That’s why it’s best to get in when you are just out of college, have minimal expenses, and don’t have a family to provide for. On the bright side, not working for the Orioles/in baseball allows you to provide us with the great content and insight that you do here at OH and on Twitter, so I guess it’s selfishly for the best!
  3. Got it, thanks. Do you have any interest in applying for a scouting position with the O’s? I would think that has to be somewhat appealing to you, especially since you are well-versed in modern scouting that combines qualitative with quantitative analysis, which fits the type of scout that Elias is looking to hire.
  4. Luke, where did you see that they have already hired a couple of area scouts? I haven’t seen that reported anywhere, but maybe I missed it. The only new addition I’ve seen reported so far is Matt Blood, and otherwise just some promotions &/or new titles for existing baseball ops staffers.
  5. I think this is a great sign, and only reinforces the notion that Elias has full control of the baseball operation. I thought it was already a good sign that Brady’s role had been greatly reduced this year, but the fact that he was still around at all made you wonder if the Angelos boys had forced Elias to keep him around in some capacity as part of his hiring agreement. But the fact that he’s completely gone now tells me this was probably Elias’ plan all along, and he always had full autonomy to let Brady go when he felt the time was right (meaning after a full season of evaluating his ability to contribute to Elias’ long term rebuilding plan). I think the only thing Elias doesn’t have full authority to decide on is Chris Davis’ status, which is understandable considering he’s owed a lot of money, and those types of decisions usually involve ownership. However, I’m sure this situation was discussed heavily before Elias accepted the job, and I’m guessing John & Lou Angelos agreed to give Elias some level of input in the matter, even if he didn’t have the final say. And really, if the Davis situation is the only one that Elias doesn’t have full control over within the baseball operation, I can live with that since it’s a major financial decision that should involve ownership, since they are the ones writing the checks to him. All in all, you have to be happy with the direction things are headed in with Elias in charge, and with Brady being the latest to leave the organization (and I think they are making it seem like it was Brady’s decision to leave on his own accord, just to soften the blow), this just reinforces even more that Elias has full control to rebuild the organization as he sees fit, Davis situation notwithstanding.
  6. The way Elias handled it couldn’t have been any worse than how DD handled communication in general. Communication was not DD’s strong suit, to put it mildly. In less than 1 year, Elias has shown me he is a much, much better communicator, at least publicly, than DD ever was in 7 years as GM here. Could you have ever seen DD tweeting messages to the fans? Elias is as transparent and communicative as you will find for a GM these days. I don’t know how much of that is simply his young age (he’s technically a millennial) and the fact that he knows it’s important to communicate with the fans during a rebuild, but whatever it is, I find it very refreshing and hope it remains this way moving forward.
  7. Whether you agree with letting Surhoff go or not (or really any others with long-time Orioles ties), it really comes down to this: Would you rather Elias be forced to keep certain people, like Peter Angelos used to require of prior GMs, or would you rather he truly have full autonomy to make personnel decisions and build the baseball operation as he sees fit? Look, I have a soft spot for Oriole players I grew up watching and rooting for, like Surhoff, Brady, etc., but does that mean I think they should be forced on the GM to be a part of the organization if, in the GMs purview, he has no real use for them or doesn’t think they fit his rebuilding vision? Absolutely not. So I commend John & Lou Angelos for doing the opposite of their father and giving Elias true autonomy to make the decisions that he thinks gives the Orioles the best chance to be successful in the long term. That doesn’t mean every decision Elias makes is going to be correct, because everyone makes mistakes and has regrets, but ultimately, these are his decisions and no one else’s, and after years of meddling and mismanagement from ownership, this is extremely refreshing.
  8. Okay, I clearly missed that if he did. I’ll go into that thread and see if I can find Luke’s analysis. The real question I have about Yaz’s breakout is whether this is sustainable or not. Is he another Justin Turner who suddenly figures things out in his late 20’s/early 30’s with the help of a swing coach & data/technology and has sustained success, or is he a 1-year wonder who will never match this level of productivity again? I guess we’ll find out over the next few years, assuming Yaz stays healthy and continues to play regularly.
  9. Seeing Yaz breakout like he has with the Giants this year makes me wonder if this could turn out to be similar to the mistake the Astros made when they released JD Martinez in spring training 2014 because they didn’t give him enough of a chance to show them the changes he made to his swing in the offseason, only to see him sign with the Tigers and start the huge production run he’s been on ever since then. Is it possible that Yaz made some adjustments in the offseason at a place like Driveline or with one of the other hitting gurus like Doug Latta, and the Orioles simply didn’t give him enough opportunities to show the changes he made in spring training? I mean, how does a guy go from a fringe major leaguer at best who never busted down the door in the minors for the Orioles to give him a chance, to suddenly putting up numbers in the majors well beyond anything he ever did in the minors? That doesn’t just happen by accident. Sure, he was a victim of the Orioles depth in OF prospects, which put him behind several others for a shot in the majors, but you would think if the front office really thought he was capable of this type of breakout at 28 years old that they would have at least given him a chance to show what he could do before trading him away, especially on a rebuilding team. This tells me that either Yaz made some changes in the offseason and the O’s didn’t give him many opportunities to show them in spring training, or he simply figured something out after he got traded to the Giants, most likely with the help of technology that has become so prominent in the development aspect of the game these days. With a smart, data & technology-driven front office like the O’s have now, it has to be a shock to them to see Yaz performing as well as he has since coming up to the majors in late May/early June. Then again, Elias and Sig barely had any time to get their system implemented by the time spring training rolled around, so anything they could have truly done to help Yaz reach this level probably wouldn’t have occurred until after the minor league season got underway. Could someone like Luke compare Yaz’s swing from as recently as last year to what it looks like now, to maybe offer some insight as to what suddenly changed to allow Yaz to produce like this? Because I think most of us were completely blindsided by this, and it would be great to try and understand how this could have happened. I’m happy for Yaz, but obviously, it would have been much nicer to see him doing this for the Orioles after being in our system for the last 6 years and having nothing to show for it. This isn’t to say our other highly regarded OF prospects won’t eventually reach this level, but on a rebuilding team, it would have been a great story to see Yaz doing this for us in 2019.
  10. I noticed that as well. They spelled analyst under Sig’s name wrong too. How can you print mass publications like this and not see & correct these obvious errors before sending to print?? I wouldn’t be surprised if whoever’s job it was to spell check got fired for that, despite the fact that there’s a lot to proofread in a typical media guide.
  11. Thanks Chuck! Your work is much appreciated!
  12. Obando

    Prospect Mailbag

    Who is your favorite prospect at each position in the system as of today (including starting & relief pitcher)? Not necessarily who you think has the highest upside, just simply who are “your guys,” similar to how you evaluate players in the draft. Thanks!
  13. I have no sources to back this up, so this is purely speculation, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Mike Elias is targeting Jaron Madison from the Cubs to be an Assistant GM/Senior VP in charge of Scouting & Player Development. The reasons why I think this are many. Madison worked with Elias & Sig (and even Koby Perez, for that matter) in the St. Louis scouting department for 2 years, so he’s well versed in how their scouting operation is structured, and what they expect from their scouts. He also has a long history with Brandon Hyde, having been college teammates at Long Beach State and having worked together with the Cubs for 5 or 6 years. Madison has been a scouting director, and is currently the director of player development for the Cubs. He works under Jason McLeod, who is the Cubs’ Senior VP of Player Development & Amateur Scouting, so I could see the Orioles hiring him to essentially act in the same role that McLeod has with the Cubs, which would be a promotion for him. If you notice, Sig Mejdal’s title is Assistant GM, Analytics, which indicates to me that Elias has plans to hire another assistant GM that heads up a separate department, and in this case, it would be scouting & player development. So Madison’s title could be Assistant GM, Amateur Scouting & Player Development. Under this scenario, Brad Ciolek could remain as the Director of Amateur Scouting, reporting to Madison, and either Kent Qualls could remain as director of player development/minor league operations, also reporting to Madison, or the O’s could replace him with an outside hire. I think Ciolek is more likely to remain with the organization than Qualls, but the fact that both were retained after the recent firings tells me that maybe Elias values Qualls and wants to keep him around in some capacity. Could be that Qualls goes back to being in more of a minor league administrator/operations role, as he was when Brian Graham was in charge of player development, and they hire someone else to essentially replace Graham in that role. Once again, this is pure speculation on my part, but I think if you connect the dots, it makes a ton of sense, and I would not be surprised if this is what Elias is planning to do.
  14. I think the only reason Witt & Amaral are staying is because they both signed 2-year contracts last summer, so if the O’s fired them, they would still have to pay them, so they might as well put them to use as needed. I would assume the 10 scouts & Tripp Norton all were on expiring contracts, and the O’s simply aren’t renewing them. Is it rare for scouts to sign multi-year contracts like Witt & Amaral did? Seems like most front office, scouting & player development personnel sign 1 year contracts, unless they are the GM, assistant GM, or a department head, but I could be wrong about that. Anyone know how these contracts typically work?
  15. That may be true, but baseball as a whole didn’t value Altuve & Keuchel at that time either. The Astros used data to help make both of them better, and added a ton of value to the players and the team in the process. When Luhnow, Mejdal and Elias arrived in Houston, Altuve was a good hitter for average, but hit for no power whatsoever, which limited his value. They used data to help him tap into his power and become a perennial 20-25 HR hitter while maintaining and even improving his batting average. Keuchel was nothing more than a back of the rotation pitcher at best that the Astros helped turn into an ace with the use of data. If the Astros would have traded both of them to other organizations, it’s much less likely they would have turned into the players they became. Sure, they messed up by releasing JD Martinez before giving him a real chance to show them the swing changes he made that helped turn him into the dominant slugger he has become, but they definitely learned from that mistake and it has made their process better because of it. In fact, I would argue that it took making that mistake in order to change their entire player development process and become the organization that they are today, in terms of being at the forefront of the data-oriented player development movement.
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