Exclusive: Jed Hoyer Q&A

How do you know when a player moves too fast? What is this ‘information gathering process'? How do you get the organizational philosophy out to everyone? What changes are being made? Is 2010 one of evaluation? spoke with general manager Jed Hoyer in an exclusive interview to answer these questions and more.

You cited Cla Meredith as a player that was moved up too quickly. How do you determine whether a player is moving too quickly?

Jed Hoyer: A lot of it is feel. You try and have certain benchmarks and statistical milestones that they post.

At the same time, with Clay, I think we had a gut instinct that we were moving too quickly with him. We had a need at the big league level, we really debated it and felt like it was too soon and then talked ourselves into it.

You don't want to take a guy's ability to move quickly away from them because some guys can move quickly. You probably always should err on the side of caution because you can damage a young player if you move him too quickly.

Most times, you do it when you feel like you have an urgent need, and there is usually another way to solve that problem.

There has been talk of the information gathering process between you and your staff. What does that actually entail?

Jed Hoyer: When I always talk about the efficiency of information – I think you have to be in a constant state of readiness. You need to have all the information at your fingertips. With that, you need to plan for acquisitions all the time. We need to make sure the quantitative analysis, the scouting reports, all the makeup information – all of that is ready before a team puts a guy on waivers. You can't be scrambling for two days trying to find out. You need to have done that work beforehand. I think that is the challenge.

Can you talk about the roles that Jason McLeod, Randy Smith, Randy Johnson and the rest of your staff play in instituting your development plan and efficiency of information?

Jed Hoyer: They are vital. We can't have sustained success without having a great farm system. With that comes great teaching and players have to know what is expected of them.

When it comes to player development, everything from hitting to pitching to base running to conditioning to nutrition – we have to teach these guys how to become big leaguers. That starts with Jason (McLeod), and goes down to Randy Smith and Randy Johnson and all the way to the coaches and instructors. You have to be on the same page.

You have to coach them a message that players understand. When it is not a coherent message, we create confusion. We need to create a stable environment for them.

You have mentioned that player development and scouting is crucial in this market. With that being said, how much time will you spend making trips to the different affiliates to see firsthand what kind of talent is available and progress is being made?

Jed Hoyer: I will go to every affiliate once, possibly more than once.

As I mentioned early, this year is one with a lot of assessment. I will be spending a lot of time with the major league team. And I will try and spend a lot of time going to the affiliate.

It is important to go to each affiliate, not only to get to know the people that run those affiliates, but also to see our players. We will likely do a lot of work on video as well so when I am not in that affiliate city, I can still check up on our prospects. We did that a lot in Boston. It saved a lot of time.

When you are travelling, you can spend three days watching an affiliate. That is a good use of your time but doing it multiple times it might be better to watch video to take a look at the players and assess other things as well.

I will certainly spend a lot of time on the minor leagues.

Patiently aggressive and backspin on the hitting side, and first-pitch strikes and three pitches or less to contact on the pitching side have been the long-standing mantra taught to players within the system. Are there any other ideas that should also be stressed in the teaching process with minor leaguers?

Jed Hoyer: One of the things we are working on is really being able to play the game at Petco when they get here. We are focusing a lot on base running. We are focusing a lot on playing aggressively. I do think that in order to be successful in Petco Park, you have to be able to take the extra base. You have to be able to manufacture a run. It doesn't mean power isn't important. It doesn't mean pitch selection isn't important. You have to still get on base. That is the key to the game. When you do get on base, make sure you run the bases hard. Take the extra base.

In Petco, we played the most close games of any team in baseball. That could be the difference between winning and losing.

Will that also filter down to the draft philosophy as well?

Jed Hoyer: I think it has to. In a quality organization, everything in the organization has to be able to line up.

What we are doing at the major league level has to line up with what we are doing on the international scouting market. We want to run every decision through that filter – how will this player fit at Petco?

I think if we do that consistently over time we will end up with a team that really has a nice home field advantage.

Is the 2010 season an opportunity for you to evaluate the entire system and see what fits and what requires change or will certain philosophies change immediately?

Jed Hoyer: I think we always try and implement things that are important, but we are always evolving.

It is certainly a year of evaluation from a player's standpoint, from a staff standpoint.

You are always in a constant state of evolution. This is my first year and Jason's first year. It will be a year with a lot of assessment.

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