With the Modesto Nuts clinching the California League Championship on Friday night (and with me out of commission the rest of the weekend due to a wedding), the minor league postseason schedule across the country is quickly wrapping up and the offseason has begun. Here at Baseball Census, we’re looking forward to an offseason with full coverage of the Arizona Fall League, publishing a series of the most in-depth publicly available scouting reports you’ll find online, the continuing growth of the video prospect library on our YouTube channel, and the release of a book about the final stand of minor league baseball’s last true outlaw ball club.
Here’s what is coming to the site this winter, what you can do to follow and support us, and—most importantly—what you’ll get this offseason from our deep, first-hand access to minor league baseball’s best prospects.
Arizona Fall League
The Arizona Fall League will be here before we know it—the opening games kick off in about three weeks—and we’ll be out across Phoenix to provide daily updates, scouting notes, full interviews, video sit-downs with prospects, and copious amounts of game footage. We’ll have staff there across the entire six-week slate, and we’re planning a few special wrinkles, too; for one, host Sande Charles will be joining us all season to do sit-down interviews with the AFL’s most exciting young prospects. All of our AFL content will begin to show up on the website beginning in the second week of October when the season starts. We can’t wait to get out to Phoenix and cover the AFL this year, and we look forward to you joining us along the way.
Daily Scouting Reports
Every single day throughout the winter—beginning later this week and leading all the way up to the start of spring training 2018—we will be posting in-depth scouting reports based on our season-long views of the game’s best prospects. Depending on the week (holidays, AFL doubleheaders, etc.), you can expect between two and five new prospect reports every single day, from later this week through February 2018. We want to provide the most accurate, in-depth analysis you’ll get anywhere, synthesizing our extensive video work with scouting notes, measurables, observations, interviews, and conversations with players, scouts, coaches, and team officials. We posted plenty of scouting reports throughout the summer, of course, but those merely scratched the surface compared to what’s coming this winter. It’s our goal for the next six months to publish the highest quality, most in-depth publicly available—and free!—information and video on baseball’s best prospects across every single organization we saw this year (that’s 24 of 30, not including AFL participants that we’ll see next month from all 30 clubs).
No Prospect Lists!
One thing we will not be doing this winter, in any form, are prospect lists. That means no organizational lists, no positional rankings, and no league breakdowns. You’ll never see us publish a post on these top 100 organizational prospects, or the top 50 prospects at that position, or the top 12,000 prospects across baseball (it seems like the worst of these lists gets longer every year). There are a few reasons for this decision, but the broadest is that prospect lists are crap, especially as player evaluation and scouting tools (if you seek them for fantasy baseball, your usage may vary). They’re too easy to put together and all too often they’re being created by authors who haven’t gotten enough first-hand looks across an entire organization to legitimately grade out every single prospect they’ve been tasked with listing.
When you inevitably read a post this winter that purports to cover the top 100 prospects from such-and-such organization—and you will!—ask yourself: has the author actually seen all (or any) of those 100 guys enough to get a real read on their tendencies, habits, and tools? How much first-hand, on-site observation and information is included? How much of it is merely scouting a stat line? What’s the balance between low-level aggregation from other reports, and actual primary source information from that evaluator? I get the appeal from a site’s perspective—prospect lists are perfect for the dead of winter when there isn’t much baseball news around—but way too often they contain poorly aggregated misinformation, superficial stat-line scouting, and a serious lack of actual on-site player evaluation. We’re not going to jump into that world. Instead of wasting time on rankings and lists, we’ll bear down on each player individually—tendencies, tools, makeup, interviews, quotes, notes, and actual first-hand, on-site observation—and use that information to publish in-depth scouting reports with information you can actually use.
Our YouTube Channel
If you haven’t done it yet, you should subscribe to our YouTube channel. Click here and then hit the ‘subscribe’ button to join us on YouTube. Every single day throughout the winter, we’ll be posting new video of prospects from every organization, and by the time spring training begins, we’ll have more than 2,000 different players up on the Baseball Census YouTube channel. One calendar year from now, we’ll have the deepest, largest prospect video library of anyone—and it’s all in high definition. We’re really proud of our growing YouTube channel, so subscribe and join us for the ride.
We Is Blaze
Nearly completed back at the beginning of this season—at which point the relentless, everyday insanity of baseball and travel took over and the book was forced to take a break—We Is Blaze will be available later this winter, both as a paperback and digital download. The delay actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as a few things happened over the summer that made for good additions to the book, which chronicles the final season and then aftermath of the now-defunct Bakersfield Blaze and High Desert Mavericks. Stick around the next few months for final publication and release date information; we’re going to have some fun with this one. For more information, click here.
Postseason Awards And More
Throughout the day today (Monday, September 18), we’ll be posting our end-of-season awards and a few other housekeeping items that wrap up the summer 2017 slate. Here’s how that will break down:
- 2017’s Most Dominant Outings: Jordan Sheffield (September 7, High-A Rancho Cucamonga) and Rubby De La Rosa (June 20, Triple-A Reno)
- 2017’s Best Home Runs: Sandber Pimentel (Stockton Ports), Dillon Dobson (San Jose Giants), Robby Rinn (Idaho Falls Chukars), Daniel Jipping (Boise Hawks), Bryson Wallet (Ventura College), Jacob Brown (GCL Orioles)
- 2017’s Baseball Resource of the Year: John Calvagno, Notes From The Sally
- Baseball Census’ Media Good-Guy Picks: Austin Allen (San Diego Padres), Steven Hardesty (Santa Barbara City College), Frisco RoughRiders PR (AA, Texas Rangers)
- 2017’s Feature Story of the Year: Feature interview with TJ Durfee (Ventura College)
- Baseball Census’ 2017 Minor League Player Of The Year: Braden Bishop (Seattle Mariners)
To read any of those, you can click the link to each specific one. In addition, over the next few days, we have a few final feature interviews to publish from the very end of the summer season. We’ll post those for you to read across the next three or four days before diving head-long into our aforementioned in-depth scouting reports that’ll take us through the winter, and into spring training. And at irregular intervals throughout the winter, too, we’ll be posting other new prospect interviews about offseason training and focus heading into 2018—more information on that series coming soon.
To all our readers: thank you for being a part of the first season of Baseball Census. We look forward to continuing to provide more, and better, and deeper information as we grow, but looking back on it, this was a pretty solid first year.
Time to get after it this fall and winter.