"Scout's Honor" Out This Spring

Sterling & Ross Publishing in New York is pleased to announce a new baseball book hitting the market this spring. "Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team" is written by writer/sportscaster Bill Shanks.

Scout's Honor features baseball scouting and player development philosophies with the Atlanta Braves as the main focus. The book will show how some of the Braves' players were scouted, signed, and developed, and how those philosophies have led to fourteen straight phenomenal seasons of winning baseball.

Players that will be featured in the book include Dale Murphy, Marcus Giles, Adam LaRoche, Horacio Ramirez, Charles Thomas, and prospect Jeff Francoeur. The book will examine how the Braves forever searched for a left-handed starting pitcher, only to finally find one in the mid-80s in Tom Glavine, and how the ‘Young Guns' got started, particularly with the acquisition of a young pitcher from the Detroit Tigers farm system named John Smoltz.

The book will also focus on how the Braves have used the farm system to continually produce a winning major league roster. We'll also have an in-depth look at how the trades of several of the young Braves prospects, particularly Adam Wainwright and Bubba Nelson, made an impact on their lives as much as their careers. And do you remember in 1990 when the Braves had to choose between Todd Van Poppel and Chipper Jones for the first pick in the draft? Well we'll tell you how they made that very important decision.

Scout's Honor will also examine where the philosophies were born, delving back a bit into the Braves history. The book will show how Paul Snyder, Bobby Cox, Stan Kasten, John Schuerholz, Dayton Moore, and Roy Clark came together with perfect synergy in building a consistent winning franchise. How did their philosophies begin? Who shaped their management style? How did these important people develop the strategies that have led to such a winning formula in Atlanta? The philosophy is not exclusive to the Braves, and the book will examine how other organizations have hired executives away from the Braves and have attempted to implement some of the same philosophies.

"Makeup is a word used frequently in the Braves organization," says Shanks, who hosted a weekly television show on the Braves minor league system from 2001-2003. "This has become the primary piece of the puzzle that the Braves use in determining which players they draft, the players they promote, and the players they acquire in trades. There is a split in baseball right now, stats versus traditional scouting. This is the story of how traditional scouting has resulted in a historic run of success by the Atlanta Braves."

This is obviously different than the philosophies portrayed in Moneyball, the book by Michael Lewis in 2003 that examined how the Oakland A's use statistical analysis as their primary source of scouting and player development. Scout's Honor will stress the differences and how the Braves success is hard to argue against their philosophies.

Over the next few months Shanks will have additional related content, including exclusive articles, interviews, and several online chats on BravesCenter.com, which is part of the scout.com network. Shanks is the editor of BravesCenter and contributes regular columns and articles, which are also syndicated on yahoo.com.

Shanks has covered the Braves since the mid-80s, when as a teenager he hosted a local radio sports talk show in his hometown of Waycross, Georgia. After graduating from the University of Georgia in 1992, Shanks became a television sports director at stations in Brunswick, Georgia and Macon, Georgia before starting his own sports production company in 2000. Along with "The Braves Show," Shanks also hosted and produced weekly television programs for the Atlanta Hawks and the Atlantic Sun Conference. He has also written a cover story for the March issue of Georgia Magazine on Braves' General Manager John Schuerholz, along with another article on the many kids from the state of Georgia in the Braves' farm system.

Bill can be reached at thebravesshow@email.com

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