The Houston Astros continued their pillaging of the Baseball Prospectus staff when they hired Kevin Goldstein to be their pro scouting coordinator. For those unfamiliar with the site, Goldstein has served as BP’s prospect guru for the past several years. In recent months, he has expanded his time to ESPN in the same capacity. Speaking of ESPN, the Astros sent waves through the sport when they interviewed ESPN”s Keith Law for a similar position.
The hire signifies one thing for the Astros and something else entirely for the industry at large. The Astros are simply putting together the best group of minds they possibly can and they aren’t afraid to look at non-conventional means to find them. Most teams hire from the same group of scouts and scouting directors/coordinators. Goldstein has effectively be doing the same work on the outside, but he has been doing it by looking extensively at all thirty teams instead of focusing on one.
As compared to Mike Fast (the other Astros BP hire), Goldstein is not necessarily a numbers guy. Since he has been involved in scouting for much of his publishing life, Goldstein is not a seamhead in the same way. He does believe in integrating a lot of information in making his grades and it is that overall view of information that has him as a fit for the organization. It does mean that the club is not necessarily focused on only statistics, but on synergizing all relevant information to make the best possible baseball decisions.
As for what it means for the rest of us, I think the point should be clear. There used to be a wall separating those that worked within the game and worked outside the game covering it and analyzing it. In his meeting with the BP audience, Jeff Luhnow lauded BP and the rest of the blog world for providing him with free information. He acknowledged that those that worked outside the game could be just as smart if not smarter than those that work inside the game.
Whether a team comes to steal someone from the Hardballchat staff remains to be seen. Yet, it does change the way that those that want to get into baseball achieve their dream. You used to get an internship with the club, become a scout’s assistant, or work your way up the chain from the bottom up. Now, you can do that or you can simply get to work in your area of interest and work from there.
The Kevin Goldsteins of the world didn’t get their start writing for BP or ESPN. While this site might not be the biggest on the internet, we have forged our own place. Those that write for us have written elsewhere (where they cut their teeth making peanuts or less). Some, like our very Hudson Belinsky, get a break and move their way up the ladder. Teams now understand the value of looking both inside the game and outside the game for help. Goldstein’s hire might open the door for more bloggers to get a chance at their dream.