Dodgers set to hire Billy Gasparino as scouting director

I wasn’t sure who the Dodgers were going to get to replace Logan White, but this seems like a decent hire.

Yes, they’re set to name Padres’ scouting director Billy Gasparino their new scouting director. Now, this isn’t a 1-for-1 swap, as White is in a different capacity with San Diego than he was with the Dodgers, but the Dodgers could have done much worse in this hire.

The Padres have suffered from poor drafting in the past (Hi, Matt Bush and Donovan Tate), but in Gasparino’s two years as the organization’s scouting director, he hasn’t been too bad.

Before being promoted to scouting director, he was a national cross checker (i.e. Roy Clark‘s old job with LA) for the Padres and Blue Jays. He’s just 35 years old, so the theme of Andrew Friedman’s front office assembly is young, bright baseball minds. I can get down with that.

While it’s hard to judge a draft — especially an MLB draft — after just a year or two, but Gasparino is responsible for drafting Hunter Renfroe, Trea Turner, Michael Gettys, Dustin Peterson and Jake Bauers — some of the Padres’ better prospects.

Here’s a breakdown of how Gasparino drafted in his two years as Padres’ scouting director.

2013
High school: 14
College: 21
Junior college: 6

2014
High school: 9
College: 30
Junior college: 1

So, it seems he tends to focus on college players. There are a number of factors that go into draft players, but as a person who likes the drafting of high schoolers for the potential rather than the college players for the high floor, this doesn’t look great. But, his first-round picks have been pretty good so far. Renfroe was one of the best right-handed bats available, while Turner — once thought of as a Top-5 pick, fell into San Diego’s lap at No. 13.

That’s not to say college players don’t offer any value (look at the Cardinals), and White had trended away from prep players in recent years.

This is from an interview with a blog called Padres 360. It gives a little insight into what Gasparino and his crew looks for when evaluating potential draftees.

 

“Padres 360 – As far as being a scouting director when you go into the draft what aspects are you looking for in players?
Billy Gasparino – I’ll kind of skip the obvious, the kind of tools part of it, and what they do on the field and go more to what we do. We ask a lot of questions on what we call the players make-up. So we like to look for players, ask coaches and teammates people that know them how competitive they are. How much do they love the game? Have they faced any adversity and how did they overcome it? What’s their work ethic like when no one is around? All of those type of questions.

Padres 360 – Character questions?

Billy Gasparino – It is character-type based questions. As you see here, these guys play a lot of games and spend a lot of time on the road, going through the bumps and adjustments along the way. If they don’t have aptitude or have the skill set to do that, then no matter how talented they are, they don’t make it very far. So we’re looking for more of the off field makeup character equation of it more than probably anything.”

 

High-character players are always good, but not everyone is perfect. And sometimes, talent will win out over character. But, it’s nice to see a scouting director not solely focus on just talent (I don’t think there are many out there who do).

There’s also this from Pedro Moura of the Orange County Register.

That’s another theme, as Friedman came from Wall Street.

Look, the Dodgers could have brought in the best baseball talent evaluator in the world and I would be less than impressed that this person would be replacing Logan White. But, Friedman and Co., hand-picked this guy, and it seems he will complete the front office (save for some advisers, maybe). Friedman, Farhan Zaidi, Josh Byrnes (for player development) and Gasparino — that’s not a bad quartet to lead the Dodgers for the next handful of years. Despite the loss of White, the Dodgers are winning the (front office) offseason so far. Now, let’s see how things play out in the coming months.

Just one word of advice for Gasparino: Don’t be afraid to take a chance on a prep player in the first round. White made a name for himself by doing so. It’d be nice to follow in his footsteps and avoid the Chris Reed‘s of the world.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin’ Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif., and has yet to be shot.