Who's The Man? Scouting & Player Development

We all see the top 10 lists, and every fan that picks up a newspaper hears the words "a scout said", or "our scouting reports reflected," or something of the sort. But who are these guys that determine who the M's draft, sign and trade for? Here are those in the M's organization that make those decisions - from the ground up.

Front Office
Howard Lincoln Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Chuck Armstrong President and Chief Operating Officer
Bill Bavasi GM, Executive Vice President
Lee Pelekoudas V.P. Baseball Administration

Obviously Howard Lincoln has little to do with the scouting of the M's, but he is a big part of everything that happens in the organization, simply because he represents the onwership group.

Armstrong is in his second stint as team president (83-89) and though his title, and resume for that matter, fails to suggest that he is a necessary part of any personnel decisions, he certainly sticks his nose in whenever possible.

Pelekoudas' main focus is the big club and he serves as the team's main contract negotiator and is a key cog in the organization's overall goal of talent acquisition. He enters his 26th season with the club in 2006.

Bavasi is the club's seventh GM after coming over from his post as the Los Angeles Dodgers Player Development Director in November, 2003.

He spent six seasons as the Anaheim Angels' GM and spent 14 season in all swith the Anaheim organization.

Bavasi began his baseball career with San Diego in 1974 and is entering his third season as the Mariners general manager.
Scouting & Player Development
Benny Looper V.P. Scouting and Player Development
Bob Fontaine V.P. Scouting
Ken Compton Director of Professional Scouting
Frank Mattox Director of Player Development
Greg Hunter Director of Minor League Operations
Jim Fitzgerald Assistant to V.P. of Scouting
Bob Engle Director of International Operations
Hide Sueyoshi Asst. Director of Professional and Int'l Scouting
Ted Heid Director of Pacific Rim Operations
Jim Na Baseball Systems Coordinator

Looper is going into his 19th season with the Mariners and has held several roles in the organization, including Director of Player Development and his most recent post as the director of both the player development and scouting departments.

Looper's role is to oversee the entire minor league operation as a whole, which includes the philosophy of how to handle players in such areas as workload, promotion and the initial acquisition of the player.

Bob Fontaine's job is simple: find talent. And he does just that. After serving in similar positions with the Angels and White Sox, Fontaine took over the draft for the M's as Bavasi's personal choice for the role.

Fontaine has been in baseball 35 years - and his experience shows. You can thank Fontaine most of all for the drafting of Matt Tuiasosopo, Jeff Clement, Rob Johnson, Robert Rohrbaugh, Sebastien Boucher, Stephen Kahn, Justin Thomas and many other quality talents over the past two seasons.

Fontaine also works closely with the scouts under him to ensure the club's talent pool is maximized. Even if Bavasi's tenure gets a C grade, Fontaine deserves nothing less than an A for his work in the draft.

Compton handles the coordination of all the M's scouting endeavors, including the major and minor leagues, and the club's advance scouting.

Mattox works closely with Looper to make decisions on promotions, position switches, and the overall handling of the club's players.

Hunter's job is not very different than Mattox's, but entails the system as a whole a bit more, where Mattox gets a little deeper into personnel decisions and player promotions.

Fitzgerald is Fontaine's right-hand man and serves as a second eye for the club's scouting guru. He also helps oversee the team's amateur scouting and assists Fontaine, Looper and Bavasi in matters that deal with player acquisitions.

As you can see, Bob Engle's line above is highlighted in a special teal coloring. This is not an accident. Engle is perhaps the most underappreciated part of the M's scouting department, mostly due to the nature of things: scouts don't often get ink. Well, he's getting ink now.

Why? He may be the biggest reason why Felix Hernandez is property of the Seattle Mariners. No, not because he saw something that other scouts of other clubs didn't. Several teams were drooling over the phenom at the age of 14.

It was Engle's determination and relentless attempts to communicate with the Hernandez family and his honest, forthright approach was enough to convince Felix that Seattle was the place for him. Engle worked closely with Pedro Avila and Emilio Carrasquel in the quest to sign Hernandez.

Engle also had a major hand in the signing of the current M's middle infield, Jose Lopez and Yuniesky Betancourt.

The Mariners' presence in Venezuela is as strong as any club in baseball and engle is the main reason.

Sueyoshi and Na are key to the club's work in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, though Sueyoshi's responsibilities go beyond the Pacific Rim and Na oversees the regional scouting coordination outside the U.S.

Heid has been enormous in the acquisitions of such talents as Shin-soo Choo, Chris Snelling, Travis Blackley and Ryan Rowland-smith, and was solely responsible for the signing of Chia-An Huang, an up-and-comer in the system.
International Scouts
Pedro Avila Venezuela
Emilio Carrasquel Venezuela
Patrick Guerrero Dominican Republic
Curtis Wallace South America
Matt Stark Central America
Rafael Santo Domingo Puerto Domingo
Barry Holland Australia
Jae Lee Korea
Wayne Norton Canada/Europe
Manabu Noto Japan

Avila and Carrasquel are Engle's top two scouts in Venezuela where they each had a hand in the signing of Felix Hernandez, Luis Valbuena, Oswaldo Navarro, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Lopez, among others.

Guerrero signed Rafael Soriano, though it was as an outfielder. But both he and the Mariners knew he could possibly have a future on the mound. They were right.

Guerrero was instrumental in the club's acquisition of Betancourt.

Wallace inked Ismael Castro, who, until his knee injury in the spring of 2004 was on track to be a big-league bat as an average defensive second baseman.

Stark was heavily involved in the Mariners' signing of Jorge Campillo, who until his elbow injury was probably in line for a big-league job in 2006.

Santo Domingo handles Puerto Rico for the Mariners, but it's a bit different for him than it is for other international scouts.

Puerto Rico, like the U.S. and Canada, is subject to the MLB Draft, so Santo Domingo can dicsover all thetalent he wants, but the fruits of his labor aren't seen unless the club ultimately makes one of his findings a draft selection.

Rene Rivera is all Santo Domingo.

Holland is more of an area scout in Australia than he is a coordinator but he's signed some solid names, including Chris Snelling and Ryan Rowland-smith.

Lee inked Shin-soo in 2000 while Norton got the credit for some of the independent league signings such as Bobby Madritsch but he and George Sherrill, along with Jeff Harris really belong to former Mariners' scout Charley Kerfeld, now a special assistant to Texas Rangers' G.M. Jon Daniels.
Below are the coordinators for the M's U.S. scouting. These coordinators direct the area scouts and associate scouts and are the middle-man in the player acquisition process.

U.S. Scouting
Rick Ingalls National Coordinator
Steve Jongewaard National Coordinator
Tom Davis Amateur Scouting Spec. Assignments
Ken Madeja Midwest Coordinator
John McMichen East Coast Coordinator
Carroll Sembera Midwest Coordinator
Ron Tostenson West Coast Coordinator

The area scouts below work under the coordinators and report daily with intel that may lead to the acquisition of a player through the draft, a non-drafted free agent or a trade involving a minor leaguer.

U.S. Area Scouts
Craig Bell South Region
Joe Bohringer Midwest Region
Mark Levitt South Region
Phil Geisler Northwest Region
Mark Lummus Midwest Region
David May Northeast Region
Rob Mummau Northeast Region
Stacey Pettis West Region
Tim Teynolds West Region
Alvin Rittman Midwest Region
Greg Witworth West Region
Kyle Van Hook Texas

U.S. Area Scouts
Phil Pote California
Dennis Gonsalves California
Myron Pines California
Dave Alexander Indiana
Norm Charlton Washington
Ron Hafner Ohio
Jordan Horne Ohio
Brian Nichols Massachusetts
Dana Papasedero Washington
Dennis Springenatic British Columbia
Robert Steinkamp Nebraska

International Area Scouts
Tim Ballard Australia
Karel Williams Aruba
Carlos Ramirez South America
Claudio Italy
Fernando Soto Venezuela
Bob Smythe Ontario
Jamey Storvick Taiwan
Peter Van Dalen Holland
Michael Spiers Mexico
Luis Molina Panama
Mauro Mazzotti Italy
Omer Munoz, Sr. Venezuela
Nemesio Porras Nicaragua
Juan Garcia Puig Spain
Les McTavish Alberta
Ray Brown Alberta
Luis Martinez Venezuela
Diego Markwell Curacao
Milan Kotik Czech Republic
Luis Fuenmayor Venezuela
Tom Burgess Ontario
Philip Bierksteker Alberta

The Mariners, like every club, have made a few changes in their scouting department since the end of 2005. Ken Madeja was named as a Midwest Coordinator and Pat Kelly was named as a scout for the Australia area.

Jack Smitheran was named as a scouting advisor.

Any further changes, additions or subtractions, will be inserted in a full scouting database that InsideThePark.com will keep, starting sometime during the 2006 season.

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