Perhaps my most anticipated presentation at the 2016 St. Louis Cardinals Winter Warm-Up was with the team’s new Director of Amateur Scouting, Randy Flores. While I had interacted with him a decade ago during his time as a left-handed reliever, Flores’ return to the Cardinals is in a very different and important position.
In the interim between his retirement as an active player and joining the Cardinals in August, the California native went back to school to work on his advanced degree and started his own business. In the latter, his firm indexed scouting video of players such that individual events could quickly be located, such as all the sliders thrown by a particular pitcher during a specific outing. Flores also said he has an extensive “Rolodex” in his head of player comps based on their style of play.
With the Cardinals holding three early picks in the 2016 draft, all eyes will be on Flores this year. As he discusses, the organization has many resources and systems working together in the process – including roughly 25 in scouting – 16 area scouts plus regional and national crosscheckers. He noted Asia is covered by the professional scouts, not under him. The Cardinals also employ scouts in Latin America led by international director Moises Rodriguez.
Joining Flores at the lectern was Mike Girsch. The assistant general manager has been with the Cardinals since 2006 and in his current role since 2011. He only partially was joking when he said his job is to make sure his boss, GM John Mozeliak, “is never surprised”.
One area in which Girsch has a long-standing competency is advanced statistics, so given that and his tenure in the organization, it was a natural teaming for the two to appear together. Despite the merging of “scouts” and “stats” into one decision-making process, plenty of questions remain in the minds of fans.
After introductions, the two opened up the floor for questions in a session that went almost one full hour.
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