01/29/2006

New Breed of GMs

Kevin Kelly writes a decent article in the Enquirer today concerning the changes in the backgrounds and education of the new age GMs.

A fraternity once reserved for sun-splashed baseball lifers has undergone a radical change in its membership base in recent years.

Youthful types armed with degrees from prestigious colleges, and the cost-effective ability to meld statistical analysis with traditional scouting methods as a way to build rosters, have become the GMs of choice.

Including Reds interim GM Brad Kullman, who is one of six the Reds initially have identified as candidates for the job, nine GMs are younger than the 44-year-old league average.

Three of the five GMs hired since the end of last season were 35 years old or younger.

“Some of the old-school GMs that maybe came from a scouting background, I think they need to be open-minded toward the statistical side of the game,” Towers said. “That is an important way to look at players nowadays.

“GMs that are close-minded to that approach and not open to new ideas and new ways of doing things, I think they may find themselves out of the business.”

The increased attention on evaluation through statistical analysis and database research reshapes the way teams judge and develop players.

Executives are quick to cite the importance of not overlooking the human element. Computers and calculators cannot account for team chemistry, people skills and the trained eyes of professional scouts.

“That’s the beauty of the game,” said Shapiro, whose team utilizes a sophisticated database called DiamondView to help evaluate players. “I think if you slant too far to either side of the equation you’re missing an opportunity to evaluate all the data. Part of the data is statistical analysis. Part of the data is medical information. Part of the data is personality information. And part of the data is scouting evaluation.”

He continued: “Those are all the variables that exist along with the financial component, and then you’ve got to weigh those variables and weigh the strength of your information and make a good decision.”

I think Shapiro’s statement about the different things to be looked at is interesting. Anyone know anything more about this “DiamondView” that’s mentioned?

The very fact that this is in the local paper is, to me, a good sign. The local media often takes suggestions, it would seem, on what to write about, who to feature, etc as a way of finding favor with the team they’re covering. I’m hoping this article is a sign that the Reds are serious about looking for more than a Dan O’Brien-type “old school” baseball guy.

I’ve been a Reds fan since the late ’60’s, with my luck of being able to attend plenty of games at Riverfront during the BRM era. I was sitting in the Green Seats in the OF when Pete came home in ’84 and was in the Red seats when Glenn Braggs reached over the fence in ’90 to beat the Pirates. I have had many favorites from Jim Maloney to Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin, Adam Dunn, and Jay Bruce.

Join the conversation! 4 Comments

  1. What breed was O’Brien?

  2. O’Brien would be classified as “old-school,” in that he came up through scouting, didn’t emphasize performance analysis, talked nonsense about chemistry and tools, and was – well, old, compared to many newer GMs.

  3. Anyone know anything more about this “DiamondView” that’s mentioned?

    It may refer to Diamond Mind Baseball, a company whose projections are often right on: http://www.diamond-mind.com/

  4. Diamond View is a program the Indians created to analyze players and predict future performance. Apparently it’s pretty top secret as far as details but from what I’ve read it combines both “stats” & “scouts” information to come up with a model. Too bad Antonetti removed his name from consideration. As a Reds fan in Cleveland I was excited to hear his name come up.

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About Bill Lack

I've been a Reds fan since the late '60's, with my luck of being able to attend plenty of games at Riverfront during the BRM era. I was sitting in the Green Seats in the OF when Pete came home in '84 and was in the Red seats when Glenn Braggs reached over the fence in '90 to beat the Pirates. I have had many favorites from Jim Maloney to Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin, Adam Dunn, and Jay Bruce.

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Reds - General