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Baseball Prospectus Event Part Two - Logan White Interview

August 26, 2012; Rancho Cucamonga, CA, USA; Rancho Cucamonga Quakes outfielder Yasiel Puig against the San Jose Giants at The Epicenter. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
August 26, 2012; Rancho Cucamonga, CA, USA; Rancho Cucamonga Quakes outfielder Yasiel Puig against the San Jose Giants at The Epicenter. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

On Saturday September 15th, Baseball Prospectus and the Dodgers hosted an event prior to the game against the St. Louis Cardinals. The highlight of the day was Vin Scully spending a few minutes with the group but a close second was an interview with Assistant GM, Amateur and International Scouting, Logan White. Evans "leaked" that White was on his way to Japan that night.

Logan White started with a story about his first scouting trip for the Dodgers and he was in Missouri. White says that he was approached by a local who asked him do you know the difference between horse sh*t and cow sh*t? White said no he didn't, the local replied just as I thought, you are just another one of them baseball people who don't know sh*t.

White said when he first arrived he didn't change the grading system, he was more interested in learning about who the scouts were and learning the strengths of the operation. He had to learn which scouts were good at pitching, which ones were good at hitting, who was a high grader, who was a low grader.

Evans said that one of the things White did was give the area scouts a voice in the organization and an example of that was Russell Martin. White said he always looks for players that they can convert to catching, the area scout saw Martin messing around with catching in the bullpen, which the area scout saw, he noted that in his reporting, and they kept that in mind when they drafted Martin.

White says they were fortunate in 2002/2003 that not many teams were scouting high school players (he said "Moneyball" era when talking about this time). White says an example of that was how they got Matt Kemp. Kemp was a basketball player, didn't play showcases so there was no real interest in him. White said that they liked him but they didn't want to tip their hand so they would send people him but very carefully as not to tip off other area scouts. The Dodger area scout kept telling White that they could wait until the 8th round or so. By the 6th round, White decided to pull the trigger and they made that pick.

White said that he didn't know that Kershaw would be available until they knew Kansas City was going to take Hochevar. He knew Detroit was going to take Kershaw at 6 if Andrew Miller was taken but once Hochevar was taken, he knew Kershaw would be there at 7.

White took a number of questions from the audience, almost always he said "Great question." White says they do due diligence on every player they have interest in, they find out about his family, his social media use, his friends, girl friends, White said that they a lot of players don't make it due to make up issues.

Okay, I buried the lead but White addressed the Mike Stanton question but I am still unclear about the answer, he basically said that the Dodgers were tied to slot limits at that time and they could not afford Stanton. Now we know that Stanton signed for slot with Florida that year but White hinted that Stanton's people were telling people that he wanted the big money as a two-sport player and that was something the Dodgers couldn't do at that time. White said he tried to go over slot at times but he couldn't do it at that time. White says today's system is a lot more fair. He told that tidbit as part of an answer how he likes the new system that has the budgets allocated to the first 10 rounds of the draft (White says the 2012 draft might be his best draft). White did hint here that he would have liked the current ownership back then.

White says Puig is a physical beast, he can run, he can throw and has above-average power and that was something the organization needed. Also ownership told him, we will spend money to get the best players. White later when asked about international spending said that today, if the Dodgers hold a workout in the Dominican, the best players will show up because the Dodgers have shown they will spend the money, for several years prior to now, they wouldn't come because the Dodgers were not known to be a team that would give out a big bonus.

White said that you look at the current MLB roster a little bit during the draft but since the time between drafting and making the MLB roster is so long, you usually cannot match them up. But this year, they did feel that the left-handed relief was an issue for the MLB club which was why they drafted Paco Rodriguez in the second round.

White does think that you could see players coming up faster in terms of when they were drafted to playing in the majors but it will never be like the other sports.

White says that he would love to trade draft picks, loves the strategy. He knows that every player they draft will not make the majors but he hopes they don't miss a good player while looking for organizational player to fill out the minor league rosters.

He talked about Onelki Garcia, Dodgers 3rd round pick from Cuba via the San Fernando Valley. Last year, in 2011, they worked him out at Dodger Stadium and loved him, the left hander is 6 foot 3, 225 lbs and throws 90-97 with a good curve ball. White says he would have spent a lot of money if he was an international free agent. Says Garcia was pitching in a local rec league this year (White called it a "beer league.") He said the Dodgers watched him pitch and then they drafted him in the third round. Garcia pitched in one game at Rancho Cucamonga, 2 IP, 6 strikeouts. White says he is someone to watch.

He said that college players are easier to scout because you know the level competition and they are closer to what they will be.

White was excited about the 15-year old Mexican pitcher who signed a letter of commitment, Julio Urias (other reports say he is 16).

Zach Lee, White says other guys have better stuff (Lee is 90-94) but says he is a competitor and an interesting guy. He said that Lee could pitch in the majors in 2013 but thinks that 2014 would be better. He says in general, the better athlete you are, the more instruction they take to. He didn't think the Lee signing was his toughest (Puig was because of the amount of money they were giving him.)

He doesn't think Scott Boras is a particular tough person to work with (White does think his projection of Hochevar turned out to be closer to what he thought he hopes Hochevar continues to improve). He says the worst kind of person to negotiate with is someone who doesn't know how baseball works (basic agreement knowledge, etc.)

Loves the WBC because of the impact it has on the game.

White says that he has always worked well with the player development team. He says that they always talk about their game plan for the players. Like on Corey Seager, says he has already begun his improvement, White believes that Seager is probably heading toward third base (he is playing shortstop right now). They will see what happens in the Instructional league. Seager wasn't a tough sign, his father told the Dodgers what it would take to sign him and they never changed that figure.

White again thanked Dan Evans for hiring him and give him his start with the Dodgers.