Carleton: Let’s figure out what a scouting department’s entire product is worth

From Russell Carleton at Baseball Prospectus on January 19, 2016:

Last week in Federal court, former St. Louis Cardinals executive Chris Correa was indicted on, and pleaded guilty to, charges that he improperly accessed the Houston Astros’ database, Ground Control, on multiple occasions. Before we go any further in this article, let’s get something out of the way. What Mr. Correa or anyone else involved in the case did or did not do is a matter for the FBI to investigate and the courts to adjudicate and I will leave that in their hands. Correa is quoted in the article as saying that he “trespassed repeatedly” and that he accepts responsibility for the case. Everyone else, not surprisingly, has largely declined to say much else.

(And yes, for those of you who are longtime readers of the site, let’s just get this one out in the open. There is a well-known pipeline of people who have previously written here at Baseball Prospectus and who now work for the Astros. I very specifically did not ask them anything about the case, mostly because I knew that the answer would be “No comment.” Everything in this article is either a matter of public record or my own conjecture.)

According to the Associated Press:

Among information Correa viewed was 118 pages of confidential material, such as notes of trade discussions the Astros were having with other teams, summaries of evaluations written by scouts of amateur players the Astros were considering drafting; the not-yet-completed amateur draft board for 2014 and summaries of college hitters and pitchers that the Astros regarded as top performers.

Leaving aside the whodunit details of how Correa gained access to the Astros’ database or what he did with the information, there were a couple of sentences in the reporting that I found endlessly fascinating.

Read the full article here (subscription required):

Originally published: January 25, 2016. Last Updated: January 25, 2016.