Sawchik: Technology threatens scouts, could also set them free

From Travis Sawchik at FanGraphs on September 18, 2017:

After the Houston Astros elected to part ways with eight scouts last month, I wrote a piece on whether scouts and Statcast could coexist following the move by Jeffrey Luhnow. (Luhnow said the vacancies would ultimately be filled.)

Carson Cistulli was also interested in this idea of redundancy, asking both Dave Cameron and Eric Longenhagen about it on different episodes of FanGraphs Audio. Dave was optimistic about the future role of scouts, while Longenhagen reported on some of the anxiety in the scouting community — anxiety with which I’m also familiar to some degree.

Ken Rosenthal then wrote an excellent deep dive for The Athletic in which he spoke to a number of executives about the subject.


How scouts and technology are integrated — whether by way of a peaceful, complementary process or one subject to conflict and infighting — has the potential to emerge as a significant story over the course of the next decade. I belong to the camp that believes there’s a place for both, that a $10 billion industry should have space for robust scouting departments. But I’m also not a business owner. I’m a journalist/blogger susceptible to romantic ideas.

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Originally published: September 18, 2017. Last Updated: September 18, 2017.