The Padres recently interviewed Dodgers Vice President of Amateur Scouting Logan White. White has been with the Dodgers for 12 years. He started as the Directory of Amateur Scouting in 2002, got promoted to Assistant GM in 2007 and before this season got promoted to Vice President. His fingerprints are all over the Dodgers organization in the form of players he draft and then either were traded for key pieces or played for the Los Angeles club.
Here are the highlights of players he drafted and signed in the past 12 years: Clayton Kershaw, Russell Martin, Carlos Santana, Matt Kemp, James Loney, Chad Billingsley, Kenley Jansen, Jonathan Broxton, A.J. Ellis, Nathan Eovaldi and Dee Gordon. That skips over a number of players that had made the majors, but were not or have not been as successful. The likes of Justin Ruggiano, Eric Stults and Blake DeWitt come to mind among others. The team also drafted players that did not pan out, but because they were highly touted draftees were used to acquire major league players like Shane Victorino (Ethan Martin), Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford (Allen Webster, Ivan DeJesus, Jerry Sands), Octavio Dotel (James McDonald, Andrew Lambo), Manny Ramirez (Andy LaRoche, Bryan Morris) and Greg Maddux (Mike Watt). The team has also brought in international talent on his watch. The signings of Takashi Saito and Hiroki Kuroda have been credited to White. Something I also find interesting is how the Dodgers draft high school players in later rounds that go on to be high draft picks after college. The Dodgers correctly identified the talent, tried to throw L.A. money at them, but ultimately the player was too committed to going to college. This includes: David Price, Luke Hochevar, Paul Goldschmidt, Matt Antonelli, Joe Savery, Jordy Mercer, Alex White, Stephen Piscotty and Kevin Gausman.
White has been on the "future GM" radar for a while. MLB Trade Rumors did a little profile on him back in 2011. The part I found interesting was the Q&A part at the end:
On his start in scouting:
I don’t want to compare horses to people, but I grew up on a ranch in New Mexico. I grew up around agriculture and when I was in school we did horse judging – we would judge horses and we had to rank them. It sounds funny, but in the end I learned a lot about the gait of a horse and how the horse looked and worked and how the body worked. So there was always an interest for me to try to understand those kinds of things.
On what kind of scout he is:
I think that I’m a person who can understand the delivery, the arm action, the mechanics, how a body works, but also someone who can understand the mental side for the player. I think I was ahead of the curve in understanding that the player’s performance has to follow and I was always looking for backgrounds of success. I’m also a person that likes tools. I know in the game today, particularly in a large-market city like L.A., you have to draft impact players.
I like to think I’m a pretty open-minded evaluator. I’m hopefully not going to miss on David Eckstein and I certainly respect the importance of the kind player he is, but I also know that I can’t make a career out of looking for David Eckstein, because he’s pretty rare. I’m better off looking for Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez and not missing a David Eckstein.
On advanced analysis and traditional scouting:
If you play, you can get labeled as a ‘baseball guy’ who’s not a critical thinker. That’s not necessarily the case for me. I respect that side of what people try to do [advanced analytics]. I’m always open to ways to get better and I’m always a person that’s researching.
On development of his own analytical side:
I think most people, we go back to our life experiences, our educational backgrounds. I’ve always been one who wants to test and see if it works and I think it goes back to my background. When you’re raising cattle and horses and crops, making a living that way, certain things work and certain things don’t.
Some of what I do I call deductive reasoning and you have to have it. And you certainly have to have data and research [as well]. If you have deductive reasoning without research and data, it’s irrelevant.
Baseball Prospectus also did a two part Q&A with Logan White back in 2010. Part 1. Part 2. Some things to take away from that long session is that he analyzes trends from previous drafts to decide how to build a system for scouting players for the current draft. He understands the importance of cohesion between the player development side and the scouting side. He felt comfortable selecting a lot of high school pitchers because he trusted the player development department to know how to develop them. He considers himself a progressive thinker. At the end he mentions Jason McLeod and Theo Epstein and how they are progressive thinking and that even though he is an old baseball scout he sees himself like them in that he is not stuck in the same old way of thinking.