Introduction to the Top 30 SF Giants Rankings and Scouting Philosophies

No, I don't own this thing
No, I don't own this thing / Mark Brown/GettyImages
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As an evaluator, meshing traditional scouting with advanced analytics is always the best way to evaluate. But between the two, traditional scouting takes priority over advanced analytics because of the study: amateur and minor league prospects. While the lack of free, publicly accessible advanced data in all the Minors (only one league has Statcast data) hurts, it is better to evaluate SF Giants prospects traditionally because of the high variance of a prospect's development curve.

Introduction to the Top 30 SF Giants Rankings and Scouting Philosophies

There will be times when a person who primarily focuses on analytics writes up a prospect and states that "if this prospect can tap his raw power, he will become a star" but they can't specifically answer how. To answer it, looking at the player's swing is a must. Are the swing mechanics and bat path conducive to power? Will a change of bat path affect their overall hitting ability? Is it more of a swing issue or an approach issue? For that, you have to do scouting.

Thinking of prospects solely from a fantasy perspective might lead to missing out on the nuances that can only be answered by deep scouting. It is like knowing the answers to the five WH questions (where, when, what, who, why) but missing out on the crucial "how". This is not a knock against persons who cover prospects in fantasy baseball, and some people are well-respected, like Chris Clegg of Fantrax. If you watch them play, put yourself in the batter's perspective or the pitcher in every at-bat, and confirm your assessment by looking at the numbers or vice versa. That is a better process of evaluation.

Unfortunately, doing in-person scouting is impossible because of the location issue (I live in the Philippines). However, critical and holistic film study is a strong alternative using videos from, YouTube, or on social media. The process is: putting myself in the pitcher's perspective and the batter, thinking of what the pitcher is going to throw next, what is the batter's game plan on the box, and what are the tendencies or patterns that both the pitcher and the hitter has in real-time. Checking how good-looking the batter’s swing is, how good is the pitcher's movement on the pitches, and how good the players are on defense are also critical.

It slightly takes the fun out when watching games, but the benefit of doing film study is the ability to watch one clip over and over, something that can't be done in person. Some things that could be only perceived as exclusive when watching games in-person are also being shown in broadcasts as well, such as the emotions and body language of the players. As an immersive evaluator, feeling the emotion of the players and their mentality by watching their body language are also important.