As Minor League Baseball approaches the end of its first month back, there’s some evidence in the rust when looking at the box scores and standings, but the rhythm of the season feels more or less normal.
The elimination of most forms of pro ball took a toll on the scouting ranks, and Baseball America says the staffs may never fully grow back, even if the affiliates are more or less back to full strength.
It’s a sympathetic story as you might expect, because input from scouts informs so much of what an outlet like Baseball America does, but Josh Norris does a good job of not villainizing analytics and technology. It’s a complicated story because both sides teams and scouts see the task as filling in the blanks. The tension comes in defining the blanks.
The teams take it literally:
For now, this affects pro scouts more acutely than it does scouts in amateur or international departments, though amateur departments were significantly slashed from 2019 to 2021 as well. There are still thousands of players at high schools and colleges where data is not easily captured. Without that data, teams can’t easily use forecasting models to come up with predictions for their career paths. Thus, more eyes are still needed to adequately cover those levels.
The scouts take a more humanistic approach:
“It’s the difference between scouting the pitch and scouting the pitcher,” the third scout said. “TrackMan or Rapsodo, all that stuff, it can scout the pitch, but the pitch doesn’t win games—the pitcher wins games . . . Scouting the pitch that he throws is important, but you scout the pitcher.
“I’m not saying we go there and we can look inside people’s souls, but it’s all part of it—and it’s what’s been going on forever. And now we’ve replaced wisdom with information.”
I’m curious whether the White Sox have plans to replenish their scouting department. When they announced cuts at the end of the 2020 season last July, it was framed as an across-the-board reduction intended to not devastate any one department. I’m curious whether that’s a plan they’re adhering to, and whether protocols at the lower levels have allowed the practice to resume with relative freedom.
Charlotte 17, Norfolk 5
- Adam Engel went 2-for-4 with a sac fly.
- Blake Rutherford, 3-for-6 with two doubles.
- Jake Burger was 2-for-5 with a walk and a strikeout.
- Gavin Sheets returned to the home run column during a 4-for-6 night.
- Brian Goodwin went 4-for-5 with a double, walk and strikeout.
*The Knights had 25 hits on the night.
*Here’s Sheets’ blast:
Rocket City 6, Birmingham 2
- Ti’Quan Forbes went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
- Micker Adolfo drew a walk and struck out thrice.
- Romy Gonzalez singled and struck out thrice.
- John Parke: 4 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 3 Er, 1 BB, 6 K
*Tyler Danish struck out six Barons over 3⅔ innings, recording the extended save.
Winston-Salem 5, Hickory 4
- Lenyn Sosa went 2-for-4 with a strikeout.
- Yolbert sanchez was 1-for-4 with a strikeout.
- Luis Curbelo went 1-for-4 with a triple and a strikeout.
- Harvin Mendoza, 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
- Duke Ellis went 1-for-3 with a walk.
Carolina 6, Kannapolis 1
- Caberea Weaver went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
- José Rodriguez was 1-for-4 with a strikeout.
- Bryan Ramos went 0-for-3 with a sac fly with a strikeout.
- Lency Delgado was 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.
- DJ Gladney went 2-for-4 with a K.
- Benyamin Bailey was 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.
- Andrew Dalquist: 1.1 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
(Photo by James G / Flickr)
Some good stuff. Engel has to be getting pretty close, one would hope. Hopefully not more than another week if he is having no hamstring issues.
Goodwin is starting to get interesting. Avg about .260 and OPS .780, approaching his 2019 numbers with the Angels which were solid, 17 homers and OPS near .800. That’s a big improvement over what the Sox have been getting from their totally inadequate backup outfielders, and Eaton for that matter. And he is a lefty, like Sheets. Would love to see a makeover with them ditching Lamb and Hamilton or Mendick for Engel and Goodwin or Sheets. I cannot imagine that Sheets would not be a much better hitter than Lamb.
Does Sheets mainly play outfield?
I was at the game in Norfolk on Tuesday night, and he was not impressive defensively in left field. His routes were ok, but he let a ball roll through his legs (it was very ugly, a little-league quality effort).
I thought he was listed mainly as a first-baseman?
They’re half-and-halfing him because outfield is the only path for him with the White Sox. Also doesn’t hurt his trade value if he shows the ability to stand out there without hurting anybody.
You are right, he is mainly 1b. But has played 8 games in the outfield this year (7 in right and one in left), which he has never done before. Since they are set at 1b/DH, I am sure that is why they have tried him in the OF. He could sub for Vaugn against tough RHP’s, as Lamb does occasionally. He made 1 error in left (the one you saw apparently), and none in 7 games in right. Lamb is hardly great in the outfield himself (he never played OF before this year either). Replacing him with Sheets seems like a no-brainer unless they are concerned Sheets would not get to play enough. Goodwin is a natural outfielder and decent fielder, they could go with him for that reason. I don’t see Lamb keeping a roster spot, he clearly has no future with the Sox.
Yeah, he could certainly replace Lamb from what I’ve seen.
Did you see today?
Rutherford having a nice season. .309 avg with an 813 OPS. Just turned 24. Lefty who mainly plays right, but I believe he has also played some CF. His defensive floor would be significantly higher than Sheets. He keeps moving up levels and seems to be improving with the bat. Could be he is finally age appropriate for level. Maturing!