Though his formal title is Director of Player Development for the St. Louis Cardinals, Gary LaRocque’s informal title of farm director is immediately recognizable by most baseball fans.
The Connecticut native and North Carolina resident is entering his ninth year with the Cardinals and 41st in baseball after long stints as player, scout, coach, manager and executive with the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets organizations.
On day two of the Cardinals Winter Warm-Up fan festival, LaRocque spent an hour with fans. He began with some remarks to set the stage, followed by a question and answer session.
Other supporting personnel in the room were LaRocque’s right-hand man Tony Ferreira and John Hartwig, who leads a personal development program for minor leaguers called Cardinals Core.
While the full recording follows, here are a few broad points from my notes.
• 41 of the 100 players to have opened 2015 with one of the four full-season clubs moved up at least one level during the season.
• Seven players made their MLB debut last season, down from 14 or 15 the year before.
• LaRocque believes the Jupiter facility is MLB’s best – because minor leaguers and major leaguers are in close proximity.
• Players discussed include Patrick Wisdom, Seth Maness, Rowan Wick and Junior Fernandez.
Here is the full audio:
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