Interview: Baseball Prospectus’ Colin Young

A question and answer session with Baseball Prospectus’ writer covering the Texas League.

One of the many great things that has occurred over the last decade is the expansion of minor league coverage on the internet. Not so long ago, Baseball America was one of the only sources for prospect analysis and player scouting reports. Today, there are dozens of national websites, blogs and even team sites, providing additional information on prospects.

Then came Baseball Prospectus which was originally geared toward statistical analysis, but minor league coverage is now at the forefront of the site. BP churns out sharp baseball minds who move to jobs within baseball operations, scouting, and the industry as a whole. Prior staffers include Kevin Goldstein, current Houston Astros scouting coordinator, and Jason Parks, hired as a Chicago Cubs scout last summer.

I recently had the pleasure to interview a new member of the BP Prospect Team in Colin Young, who is covering the Texas League this season. Young is a former left-handed pitcher who spent six seasons in the minors with the Rockies and Red Sox, reaching the Double-A level with both organizations. His write-up of Springfield Cardinals right-hander Arturo Reyes can be seen in the popular “Monday Morning Ten Pack” edition at Baseball Prospectus.

In the transcript below, Young chats about his experience at BP, his favorite part of scouting, advantages of being a player and taking that into scouting, the process he follows after a game. Then he goes in detail with his impression of Reyes.

Derek Shore: You are new to the BP Prospect Team this year. What has that experience been like and what is your favorite part of the job?

Colin Young: “The experience has been fantastic. We have a great support staff and some of the best minds in baseball analytically. As a former player, it is really great to see the other side of prospect analysis and how metrics can really help shape the complete picture of a player. My favorite part is scouting. It is like being at Disneyland for me. I've spent years as a pitcher analyzing players' weaknesses to get an edge, and now it feels using my experiences in the game has made it a seamless transition into the scouting realm.”

DS: What are the many advantages of being a former player and taking that into the scouting field?

Colin Young: “As a former player you have an instinct or innate sense for the feel of the game. Having been in the same situations these players are in, know what they're thinking, where their mind is at. There's stressors within the game that players feel that affect tools and outcomes that those who haven't played don't and can't understand. Players can't really be graded at face value, there's so much more that goes into affecting play and ability and I think that's where my experience can help in identifying a projectable prospect.”

DS: Many baseball followers know the scouting process through a game, but what is the process like post-game?

Colin Young: “I actually like to replay what I've seen in my head over and over. Before I put pen to paper for my report, I visualize the player mechanically, fundamentally, and situationally. I make notes during the game of the obvious but I also note how they come across with body language, in game adjustments, backing up bases, and also their personal game plan execution. As I replay in mind what I've seen I can get a fairly good grasp of what type of player I'm evaluating. A guy may have all the tools in the world, but it's the little nuances a player has that sell me, and putting the package together in my head postgame helps.”

DS: You recently watched Arturo Reyes, who you wrote-up on BP "Monday Morning Ten Pack". Do you foresee Reyes having a big-league future, if so, what specific role?

Colin Young: “Yes, what I like about Reyes is that he's mechanically polished (very compact repeatable delivery), and he has a plan of execution. For attacking hitters. Reyes is very self-aware of his arsenal and being a lower pick has to be in the game mentally as much as he is, physically. His presence and demeanor were fantastic in my opinion and I really loved his in game adjustments after struggling with command the first three innings. If you had told me he was a 10-year vet out there I would have believed you. In my opinion, definitely a steal as a 40th rounder.”

DS: What have you seen from more highly-touted guys like Charlie Tilson, Patrick Wisdom, and Aledmys Diaz?

Colin Young: “This being the first time this year seeing Springfield, I don't think I've seen enough out of them as position players to make a call. Wisdom had a rough game at the plate, and Diaz and Tilson had a hit apiece, but did nothing that stood out in my eyes. The guy that caught my eye was the catcher Alberto Rosario, 2-for-4, and showed a quick release and strong arm. I'm really looking forward to seeing those players again to get a better feel for them. I like to see position players 3-to-4 times before making a proper eval (evaluation) on them.”

DS: Besides Arturo Reyes, was there another Springfield hurler that caught your eye?

Colin Young: “I really liked Iden Nazario as well. Tough lefty/lefty situational guy that has a great shot at that role in the big leagues soon. I've got my eyes set on Chris Thomas, Kyle Barraclough, Joe Donofrio, and Corey Baker. Hopefully, these guys will be here in August when they come through again. I only got to take in one game this series unfortunately. I'll be headed up to Missouri soon though to visit my father-in-law, former Cardinal great Jack Clark, so I will catch some (games) in Springfield. I'll be sure to let you know when.”

DS: Why is the jump to Double-A, always proven to be a make or break level for prospects?

Colin Young: “Great question: It really has been the dividing line for those that ‘get it’ and those that don't. It is all about refinement, maturity, and understanding who you are as a player, and utilizing your tools as best as possible. These are the players that are coachable and willing to learn and adjust. Lower level players don't make the adjustments and can't keep up with the game mentally to be better players”.

DS: Colin, thanks for your time and best of luck in your work ahead!

Colin Young: “Thanks! You too, Derek. I will be sure to give you a shout when I head to Springfield later this year. Take care.”

You can follow Colin Young’s progress on Twitter @OleGreyBeard and at Baseball Prospectus.

There is more!

Every Wednesday, The Cardinal Nation members can read Derek Shore’s Springfield Cardinals Notebook with all the happenings from the Texas League club from the prior week.

Join the minor league discussion with other Cardinals fans here

Follow Derek Shore on Twitter @D_Shore23.

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