Be prepared is the famous motto of the Boy Scouts, coined by Lord Baden-Powell more than 100 years ago. Be prepared in body and be prepared in mind for whatever life throws your way (your duty) and, hopefully, all’s well.
In baseball, preparation doesn’t look the same from player to player or team to team. Some players need to pour over their notes and gather all available information on the pitchers they face, others prefer to stay within themselves and trust in their own abilities. No one process is right, it is all a matter of comfort and results.
The assembled coaching staff of a Major League team has a different mandate than the players. If anything, the coaching staff’s preparation begins with knowledge of how their players prefer to approach their games.
The Providence Journal is two-thirds of the way through a tremendous look at the way the Boston Red Sox prepare under new manager John Farrell. The Sox skipper was able to build his ideal staff, included noted baseball gym rat Brian Butterfield, and the dividends appear clear on the field.
Tim Britton’s first piece focuses largely on Butterfield, the former Yankees and Blue Jays infield instructor and third base coach who is known league-wide for making great infielders out of, well, out of just about every body. “Butter” is also the main architect of the Red Sox shifting infield defense, using video scouting to drill down on the ground ball tendencies of opposing hitters and positioning his defense accordingly.
In addition to Butterfield, the Red Sox also deployed their former advance scout as their bullpen coach in 2013. Joining Farrel’s staff from Toronto is Brian Abraham, who worked as the Blue Jays video coordinator but now serves in a uniformed role, sitting in the bullpen with the Sox pitchers during games, his own memory banks of information at the ready if needed.
Is there a direct link between the Red Sox new found devotion to preparation and their hot start in 2013? Hard to say. It certainly doesn’t hurt to prepare, to arm your team and players with as much information as they need. Some players might take to the approach better than others – all the team can do is make sure the info is there if they want it.
Even if nothing changed from the Bobby Valentine, learning that John Farrell and his team of assistants and coordinators are at least putting in the work to prepare the team is surely music to the ears of Red Sox fans. No need for an iconclast when a few determined individuals with an eye to a common goal are working hard to achieve it. Be prepared, indeed.
And the rest
An interesting look at the term “luck” and how it pertains to baseball discussions. [Sulligraphs]
Jason Parks of Baseball Prospecuts nails it with his final mock draft [BP]
Where would Byron Buxton go if they re-did the 2012 draft? I’m thinking at the top.
The Biogenesis Quandry [Gettin Parkesed]
Beltran. The best.
Pretty cool that Beltran flew to Puerto Rico to be present for first graduation of H.S. he founded. #STLCards off today, in NY tomorrow.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 10, 2013