Q&A: Cards Asst. Scouting Dir. Jaron Madison

The St. Louis Cardinals continue to remodel their front office with the recent naming of Jaron Madison as Assistant Scouting Director. Dustin Mattison caught up with the new hire from the Padres.

Jaron Madison comes to St. Louis with a very impressive collegiate baseball resume. He played the outfield at Long Beach State where he was chosen as the team captain just after transferring to the program from the City College of San Francisco.

The highlight of his career occurred in May of 1998. In the West 1 Regional final game at Stanford, Madison hit two home runs and propelled the Dirtbags to a victory and a trip to the College World Series. The home runs were the first of his 102-game career. Madison still holds the Dirtbag record of most hits in a game with six.

After college, Madison spent several years coaching at Long Beach State. He then moved into scouting when hired by the Pittsburgh Pirates as their Northern California area scout. In 2005, Jaron was named Assistant to the Director of Scouting for the San Diego Padres.

During his time in San Diego, the Padres have seen their system progress from one at the bottom of Major League baseball to one on the rise toward the top. The Padres have incorporated a mixture of high school and college talent to restock their system.

Since 2005, the Padres have drafted players such as Chase Headley, the 2007 Texas League Player of the Year, Josh Geer, the 2007 Texas League Pitcher of the Year, Matt Antonelli, the Baseball America Minor League All-Star second baseman for 2007, Wade LeBlanc, and Kyle Blanks. In the 2007 draft, the Padres selected St. Louis native Nick Schmidt out of the University of Arkansas.

Even though he has been very busy with getting acclimated with his new organization, Madison was kind enough to answer some questions.

Could you tell us how you broke into professional baseball?

While working on my Masters Degree in Sports Management at the University of San Francisco, I served as an Assistant coach at Long Beach State under Dave Snow, Mike Weathers and Troy Buckley. I made several professional scouting contacts and the coaches at Long Beach introduced me to several scouts throughout the season. Deron Johnson (Twins), who I had known since my college playing days, introduced me to Bill "Chief" Gayton, who was the Scouting Director with the San Diego Padres. Chief hired me as an Associate Scout for the the 2001 season. I worked under Chris Gwynn and Jason McLeod (Red Sox) for that year and went to as many games as possible and learned as much as I could. Following that year, the Padres sponsored me to MLB's Scout School in Arizona. Scott Littlefield and Ed Creech hired me full time with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2002.

Who has been your biggest influence thus far in professional baseball?

I have had several influences in my scouting career. Deron Johnson, Dave Snow, Chris Gwynn, Jason McLeod, Bill "Chief" Gayton, Scott Littlefield, Ed Creech, Jimmy Lester, Joe Ferrone, Kevin Bootay, Justin McCray, Bump Merriweather, Jay Darnell, Grady Fuson, Jeff Kingston, Josh Stein and Paul DePodesta. These are just a few of the dozens of scouts and front office people that I have worked closely with and learned from over my career. Each one has taught me something important either directly or indirectly.

Tell me about your approach in looking at a prospect. Is it more a look at the numbers, a look at the tools, or both?

I try to take a more comprehensive approach when evaluating prospects. I believe in utilizing all tools available to me to assist me in analyzing players. In the beginning of my career, I was more focused on identifying and projecting the core tools. Over time, I learned the importance of not only focusing on the tools, but also looking at a player's makeup, background and statistical performance as well. While working closely with Chief and Grady over the past couple of years, I learned how to use all of this information to get a more in-depth understanding of each player.

From afar, what do you think of the state of the Cardinals' farm system?

While I haven't had a chance to really review the farm system in depth, I have looked at the Cardinals' past few drafts and am impressed with the talent that they have added to the system. I am excited to work with Jeff and everyone in the scouting department, and be a part of the great things that are happening in strengthening and creating depth in the Cardinal's farm system.

What are your job duties going to be with the Cardinals? How does it compare with what you did with the Padres?

I will help Jeff run and manage the scouting department and prepare for the Amateur draft. I'll be traveling across the various regions of the country to see as many players as possible. I will work with everyone in the scouting department to help identify players that we can add to our organization to strengthen our farm system and eventually help the big league club.

What is the first task on your first day as a member of the Cardinals' organization?

My first task as a member of the Cardinals organization is familiarizing myself with the scouting staff and learning the organization's scouting systems and processes.

Dustin Mattison can be reached via email at dustin@whiteyball.com.

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