I often think about how helpful it would have been to have some pointed guidance on my way out of high school and into a post-secondary education. I probably would have used all of that money I borrowed for purposes other than having cool new jeans, a massive record collection, and living in a permanently altered state. Anyway, I’m not here to talk about the past, I’m here to talk about the future. If you’re a high school student looking for a career in baseball, then we have something for you.
MLB Trade Rumors is offering guidance in the form of advice via front office executives from 17 Major League Baseball clubs. Tim Dierkes asked general managers and assistant general managers to answer one question: What is one piece of advice would you give to a high school student who hopes to work in baseball operations one day?
The responses range from predictably nebulous (“Play baseball until someone tears the jersey off your back” – Dan Duquette) to pragmatic (“[Do] not get too specific when planning college courses. I believe it is important to be able to write well, speak in front of a group or crowd and be able to articulate your thoughts and compose a defensible argument when discussing any topic” – Rob Antony). For every “follow your passion” clichéd response (seriously, Jerry Dipoto said that) there are two suggestions to develop and focus on analytical skills.
For instance, this bit on keeping up with the “never-ending flow of information” from a guy who had some experience with personnel turnover this offseason:
“I would tell them to develop their analytical skills as much as they can. One of the main front office skills is analyzing the never-ending flow of information. This consists of scouting reports, medical, performance, agents, etc. Analytical skills are used in every aspect of the operation, from payroll management to breaking down a pitcher’s delivery or a hitter’s swing. They further can educate themselves on statistical analysis and the valuation of players.” - Michael Wickham, Marlins Director, Baseball Operations
Dierkes’ collection of advice is worth a good look, even if a career in baseball is further off your radar than a Syrian vacation. It works as gauge of where the game’s decision makers have come from and where they’re going.
Remember, kids: follow your passion and play baseball until someone tears the jersey off your back.