Monday, February 11, 2008

The Rumor Mill.......

Rumor has it that the New York Yankees have hired Ken Su as their scout in Taiwan. If true, one can only wonder what took them (the Yankees) so long to do so. The Yankees one and only foray into Taiwan was back in 2000, when John Cox (who no longer works for the Yankees) was credited with signing Chien-Ming Wang. That single signing has paid off big time for the NYY organization.

The hearsay hiring of Ken Su (not to be confused with current Twins local scout Kenny Su) does raise an eyebrow or two. Ken, the former Minnesota Twins local scout in Taiwan (for the past 2+ years) also worked for the Boston Red Sox (for around 9 months) prior to his gig with the Twins. In his scouting career, the only player Ken has signed is Twins OF Wang-Wei Lin, who signed for $120 K. Lin struggled in the GCL last year, hitting only .194 with 25 K's in 62 AB's.

It seems as if qualified scouts are hard to come by in Taiwan. The recycling of scouts with different organizations also occurred with Steve Wilson, who worked with the Phillies prior to his current position with the Chicago Cubs.


Anonymous said...

Good scouts are hard to come by in Taiwan because the job requires a pretty specialized skill set of fairy different abilities that don't often coincide in one human:

1. the ability to speak chinese, english, and preferably Taiwanese as well.

2. copious amounts of free time to travel, usually meaning someone who is single and/or has a fairly patient family that will deal with prolonged absences.

3. the willingness to work for little money, at least initially in the case of newly hired part-time scouts.

4. scouting ability that goes beyond just being a fan of the game and the ability to recognize nuanced mechanical features of the game.

5. a fair amount of savvy in networking and trafficking in information.

6. Research skills are usually preferred.

7. Connections to coaches and other sources of player info at the amateur level.

8. The ability to communicate effectively with directors back in the states and write reports.

9. Most importantly in the case of non-taiwanese, the ability to deal with Taiwan's unique cultural facets and ways of communicating. This requires cultural sensitivity and knowledge of historical and cultural aspects of Taiwan. It seems superfluous but you couldn't get by without it.

Many people have some combination of these skills but few have enough of them to be effective scouts. For example, some foreign scouts are amazing scouts but have no language skills. Some have the language skills but are crappy scouts. Others have both scouting ability and language skills but lack the free time to do it.

this probably is what accounts for the rather small network of scouts on the island and the re-occurance of the same names in different positions.

Anonymous said...

I guess the reason why the scouting job is not available to those people who thought themselves were qualified was simply because it is hard to play the game straight up right - especially for those whom called themselves "insiders" that only try so hard to promote players they like in order to make some extra money out of those youngsters... For some of those agents & scouts who work so closely, they will eventually get busted sooner or later, and will never earn that chance to bring that credibility back in the baseball society... Good luck to those who are turely working hard to give good kids chances to fulfill their dreams!