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Monday, January 08, 2007


Red Sox special assistant Allard Baird went to Seattle late in the season and watched Pineiro come out of the bullpen after he was demoted as a starter. He watched his stuff, how he conducted himself, how he approached the job. And Baird came away thinking this is a guy who could successfully work out of the bullpen.

No disrespect to Chris Snow, but I am so glad Nick Cafardo is back on the Sox beat for the Globe. It seems as if Cafardo was the only one to have the above tidbit that Pineiro is all on Baird, the very unsuccessful former General Manager of the Kansas City Royals and now in the Theo Epstein’s inner circle. This was a scouting focused signing and those types of transactions are great. An organization with productive scouts has a competitive advantage and that could translate into finding undervalued players in the marketplace or the major theme in Moneyball. Unfortunately, Pineiro was inked at a market rate and the head scout has a questionable record.

It is hard to know the inner workings (i.e. the emphasis on scouting and statistics) of the Royals front office when Baird was running the show. But most would agree that scouting holds more weight than the player’s performance when determining the selections made in amateur draft and even more so when evaluating high school players. Assuming that Baird had significant input and the final say in the Royals first-round draft picks, one can roughly evaluate his scouting abilities based on the selections.

2005 - 2. Alex Gordon 3B
2004 - 14. Billy Butler 3B
2003 - 5. Christopher Lubanski CF
2002 - 6. Zack Greinke RHP
2001 - 9. Colt Griffin RHP
(Baird gets a pass in 2000 as he was named General Manager in June of that year and only the team’s first first-round selection is listed)

First off, the Royals have had some high selections so a conservative expectation is that their first-rounders pan out or make it to the Show. Right off the top, Griffin and Greinke are no longer in baseball. Grienke had some success in the majors, but god only knows what’s up with him. Griffin was another data point to support There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect. Gordon looks like a future star, but he was the consensus choice after Justin Upton in 2005. Baird gets neither a credit nor demerit for Gordon. As for Butler, who could be mentioned this time next year as the next top prospect – he just needs to add some more power, Baird gets a check plus, as some thought he was an overdraft at fourteen. Lubanksi is progressing as a typical prospect should, but not like the #5 overall draft pick.

Overall, this is a push and not unlike Dan O’Dowd and Dave Littlefield whose clubs have had selections near Baird’s. But would you risk $4 million or 3% of your budget on red or black when you could play blackjack? Many people do…for entertainment.


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