Tom Allison oversees all amateur scouting for the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. People familiar with Moneyball probably have a notion of an obsessively controlling general manager who calls most of the shots during the amateur draft. That isn't the case with general manager Josh Byrnes and the Arizona Diamondbacks, even though Josh's youth often engenders comparisons to Bill Beane and Theo Epstein, the most famous of the Moneyball-style GMs.
"People don't know Josh," said Allison while denouncing this misconception. "We lean on each other," he explained, adding that while Byrnes is very involved in all aspects of the organization, he has no qualms about delegating responsibility.
Thus Allison is the man to talk to with regards to the upcoming amateur draft. Last year was his first as the man fully in charge of a draft. He spent the 2000-2006 seasons as a scouting cross-checker for the Milwaukee Brewers. For the 10 years prior, Allison served in various capacities for the New York Mets organization, including Area Scouting Supervisor (1996-1999), Assistant Scouting Director (1995-1996), and as a player and coach in the minor league system from 1990-1994.
I caught up with Allison last week as he was driving to Atlanta to see an undisclosed high school pitcher. The Chicago White Sox, who pick before the Diamondbacks do this year, also had their scouting director on hand for that game.
In part one of our interview, Allison discusses how the altered college schedule has affected his scouting schedule this year, the strengths and weaknesses of the 2008 draft class, how the organization views fresh amateur pitchers versus those that have logged many innings, the dichotomy between quick movers and raw talents with high ceilings, and the players from the 2007 draft that have particularly impressed him thus far in their pro careers. (9:37)
In part two, Allison talks about how he weighs a player's statistics versus the input from his scouts, how Josh Byrnes is willing to delegate responsibility, how the 2007 draft was a learning experience for him, and whether the Diamondbacks' organizational philosophy differs from what the Mets and Brewers emphasized. (7:38)
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