Following up on my last column, I want to touch more on the career of Theo Epstein, and his journey to being the President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs.
A Yale attendee, Epstein had always wanted to work in Major league baseball. As and Undergraduate, he sent letters to multiple Front Offices declaring his will to work for these teams. One letter, which was sent to the Baltimore Orioles, reached former NFL star and former Orioles team executive Calvin Harris; who is also a Yale graduate. Following the letter, Theo went on to intern in Baltimore for the next three summers. Following his degree completion from Yale, he followed Larry Lucchino to San Diego and became the Padres Director of Player Development. While in San Diego, Epstein obtained a law degree from the University of San Diego.
In 2003, Epstein did a chat on the “Sons of Sam Horn” blog, and revealed his secrets as to how he built up the Red Sox franchise and what his secrets are, some are as follows:
- Having young impact talent: His ideas on drafting and signing young talent has not changed from 2003 up until now. In the Draft, Theo has always had a love for college players who have good make up and have a history of quality performance, plus the inevitable fact that a proven college player presents way less risk than a High School kid does.
Examples from his past Drafts: Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant
2. International Signings: With his draft classes having such an emphasis on seasoned college players, their entire goal is to sign as many high ceiling 17 year old Dominican and Venezuelan prospects as possible. The example that he used during his interview was: If you get enough of these prospects, you get the next Hanley Ramirez for $22,000
3. Tools for Hitters and Pitchers:
Hitters: Plate Discipline, but in terms of on the field is Hitting and Hitting for Power.
Pitchers: Command and Arm Strength
Coming from an aspiring Front Office executive, this philosophy will likely to continue to work unless there is a change in the International FA rules or with the MLB Amature Draft. In terms of the on the field product, strategies and pieces are always evolving and changing, whether it’s from trades or injuries, it is crucial in my eyes to keep a farm system evenly balanced with seasoned and high ceiling talent. Take Chris Coughlan for example, he when up and down from Triple-A and Chicago all year last year, but now he is going to be an everyday starter in Philadelphia… Talk about an either overload of talent in Chi-town, or a lack thereof in Philly.