No Baseball America feature is complete without a Top 10 Prospects list, so while gathering information about the job of scouting director, we also asked people where the next generation of scouting directors might come from. This ranking is not a formal poll, but does reflect the opinions of the more than 25 current scouting directors and other front-office executives.
1. Danny Montgomery
Assistant Scouting Director, Rockies
Montgomery, 47, has been with the Rockies since the birth of the franchise, rising from area scout to his current position. Scouting director Bill Schmidt said he leans on Montgomery in a variety of ways.
“I’ve been with Danny going on 13 years and I lean on Danny,” Schmidt said. “He has a big input on what goes on here and that’s what people don’t see, is Danny’s involved in all areas. He’s been involved in Latin America, going down there and helping us get that program off the ground 12 years ago and teaching Rolando Fernandez how to scout. He does pro stuff in the summer, he’s been to Asia for the Olympics and to scout and run clinics for us. Danny’s kind of been all over the world for us.”
Montgomery played at UNC Charlotte and was drafted as a second baseman in the 14th round of the 1986 draft. He spent three seasons in the Dodgers system before being hired as a scout in 1989. He covered North Carolina and South Carolina for the Dodgers before joining the Rockies in 1992. He became a regional crosschecker in 1999, was promoted to national crosschecker in 2003 and to assistant scouting director in 2006.
“Danny, first and foremost, is a quality person,” Schmidt said. “He’s a good evaluator and Danny’s had opportunities in the past . . . He’s just wanted to stay here; this has been his home. But he’s a very good scout and has all the qualities you would look for in a scouting director.”
2. Mike Rikard
National Crosschecker, Red Sox
Rikard comes from a baseball family—his father Bob was a catcher in the minor leagues for eight years and his uncle Culley played for the Pirates from 1941-47.
Rikard played shortstop at UNC Greensboro before getting into college coaching, as an assistant at Wake Forest from 1994-2000, with a one-year hiatus at Elon in 1998. He also coached in summer college leagues, highlighted by his time as the head coach for Bourne in the Cape Cod League in 1999 and 2000.
He jumped to pro ball as an area scout with the Padres in 2000, moving to the Red Sox in 2004 as an East Coast crosschecker. He was promoted to national crosschecker before the 2010 season.
“He’s overly prepared, a great people person and he’s very organized,” Red Sox scouting director Amiel Sawdaye said. “He likes to spend time in cars with the scouts to create that connection.”
Rikard’s personality and diversity of experience allow him to mesh well with everyone from scouts to players to parents to agents.
“He’s obviously a very good evaluator,” Sawdaye said. “First and foremost, you have to have a good feel for the game. And guys like him—not just on our staff, but throughout the industry.
“There’s no ego there and he’s a tireless worker. He’ll go to no end to make sure the process is complete and he’s been a creative, out of the box thinker.”
3. David Post
National Crosschecker, Astros
Post was a 10th-round pick by the Dodgers out of high school in New York in 1992 and spent 12 seasons in the minor leagues, mostly in Triple-A. He started his scouting career with the Marlins, covering the Northwest from 2004-06 and then Florida in 2007. When Bobby Heck was hired as scouting director for the Astros in October 2007, Post was his first hire. He interviewed Post for the East Coast crosschecker position, but liked him so much that he hired him as a national crosschecker instead.
“He has very good people skills and he’s very likeable,” Heck said. “He has a lot of respect from his peer group because of the type of player he was and how he respects the game and for his work ethic. He’s a guy that’s there at the beginning of tournaments and at the end of them. There’s no corners cut with him.”
4. Matt Ruebel
National Crosschecker, Pirates
There was a lot of future scouting talent at the University of Oklahoma in the late 1980s, when Ruebel walked on as a lefthander. His pitching coach was Stan Meek, who is now the Marlins’ scouting director, and the staff also included Jim Fleming, the Marlins’ assistant GM who oversees scouting and player development, and Joe Jordan, the former Orioles scouting director who is now the Phillies’ farm director.
Ruebel played 10 years of professional baseball after the Pirates took him in the third round of the 1991 draft, and the lefthander spent parts of three years in the major leagues (1996-1998) with the Pirates and Devil Rays.
“I don’t think it’s necessary, but I think it’s very good to have that major league perspective,” said Joe Jordan, who hired Ruebel as his national crosschecker with the Orioles in 2008. “He fought and clawed his way through the minor leagues and got there. It’s not something he’ll ever talk about, but I think it’s relevant. It’s a credibility thing.”
Ruebel got his first scouting job with the Indians in August 2001, getting promoted to Midwest crosschecker in 2005 and getting hired by the Orioles as national crosschecker in 2008. When Jordan left Baltimore to join the Phillies, Ruebel took his current job with the Pirates.
“He’s a very good evaluator, he’s very organized, he’s got leadership qualities,” Jordan said. “For me, he’s a GM in the future because he has all the qualities to walk into a room and have everyone’s attention.”
5. Chuck Ricci
National Crosschecker, Indians
The Orioles drafted Ricci in the fourth round out of high school in New Jersey in 1987, and he spent 11 years in the minor leagues. He made it to the big leagues as a September callup with the Phillies in 1995, getting his first big league strikeout against Jeff Bagwell.
The Indians hired Ricci as an area scout in the Northeast in 1999, promoting him to Northeast crosschecker and then to national crosschecker in 2005.
“His evaluation skills are very, very good. His work ethic is extremely good and he has the ability to manage people,” Indians scouting director Brad Grant said. “So he’s put himself in that position to be able to take that next step. He’s really learned that it’s more than just the evaluation side of it. He now has the understanding and the ability to incorporate a lot of different information and apply it into a decision. He’s always got the big picture in mind and he brings a lot of information into his decisions.”
6. Michael Holmes
Assistant Scouting Director, Athletics
Holmes—at 36 the youngest person on this list—has followed a path similar to Rikard’s, and in fact followed him as a coach at Wake Forest, joining the staff in 2001. Holmes also played for the Deacons from 1994-97, then spent four years in the minor leagues with the Athletics before becoming a pitching coach.
The A’s hired him in 2004, promoting him to East Coast crosschecker in 2006 and assistant scouting director in 2009.
“He is a very good scout and a very good evaluator,” Athletics scouting director Eric Kubota said. “He’s got a ton of experience, obviously. As important or maybe more important than any of that, he’s a great person with great people skills and he’s a person who would be a great leader of a staff and I think people recognize that.
“I rely on him in the field, both by his evaluation and also by helping me deal with the staff. His primary role is evaluation, but he also helps me with some of the day-to-day administration.”
7. Sean Johnson
West Coast Crosschecker, Twins
Johnson was a catcher at Wichita State from 1996-98 and served as the team’s director of baseball operations before the Marlins hired him as a Midwest area scout in 2001. A few months later, when Jeffrey Loria sold the Expos to Major League Baseball and bought the Marlins, the Marlins’ existing scouts were fired (replaced largely by the old Expos staff) and caused a ripple effect throughout the scouting community, including an unexpected opening with the Twins for an area scout in the Four Corners.
Johnson started there before moving up to West Coast crosschecker in 2007 when Deron Johnson became scouting director. “Sean is extremely bright,” Deron Johnson said. “He’s hard-working, he’s a good evaluator and he’s got extremely good people skills. That’s a lethal combination.”
8. Bill Moore & Mike Ledna
Scouting Coordinators, Phillies
Moore (top) and Ledna have the same job, so why not allow them to occupy a spot on our list together? Though they both have the title of scouting coordinator, they are essentially national crosscheckers. During the amateur season they see the top prospects in the country, and then after the draft they do professional scouting and travel to Latin America.
Moore grew up in Southern California and played at Cal State Fullerton before getting drafted by the Expos in the sixth round in 1983 and playing nine years in pro ball. He got a cup of coffee with the Expos in 1986. His scouting career started in 1991 with the Blue Jays, and he rose to West Coast crosschecker in 2000 before leaving in 2003 to join the Phillies in that same role. He was promoted to his current position in 2009.
“He’s just got a lot of common sense and he’s very even keeled,” Phillies scouting director Marti Wolever said. “His temperament is outstanding. And he’s a tremendous evaluator. He’s very good at knowing what he wants and what he sees. Those are all characteristics that make him a great candidate as a scouting director.”
Ledna grew up in Illinois and played at Chipola (Fla.) JC in 1978-79 and Purdue in 1980-81. He spent just one year in pro ball, with the White Sox, and started his scouting career in 1985 with the Orioles. He became their Midwest crosschecker in 1990 and national crosschecker in 1996, before joining the Phillies in 2002.
“Mike is an extremely hard worker and a very good evaluator,” Wolever said. “He’s also very free with his opinion, which is very good. He tells you exactly what he sees and how he feels and he treats everybody the same. He’s very honest.”
9. David Crowson
National Crosschecker, Marlins
The Mets drafted Crowson in the 12th round in 1986 out of high school in Texas, and he played two years of Rookie ball before coaching at Texas A&M from 1990-97, with a one year hiatus at Yavapai (Ariz.) CC in 1994. The Angels hired him as an area scout in 2000, and he joined the Marlins in 2004 as Midwest crosschecker. He moved up to national crosschecker in 2005.
“First of all, the experience of being a national guy for so long is big,” Marlins assistant general manager Dan Jennings said. “Stan (Meek), who was my national guy in Tampa, I know he leans on him a lot.
“And then just his ability to handle people—that’s important. I think it’s probably more important because you have so many personalities you’re managing. It all comes down to treating people the right way and getting everybody on the same page.”
10. Tim Huff
National Crosschecker, Rays
Huff was a pitcher at Horizon High in Scottsdale (where his jersey is retired) before playing at Grand Canyon and for two years in the Blue Jays system.
He got a scouting job with the team in 1999 and became a national crosschecker with the Jays in 2003 before the Rays hired him away in 2006.
“He’s been a guy I’ve depended on out there in the field this whole time,” Rays scouting director R.J. Harrison said. “He has a good foundation. He’s been at it for a while, he has that experience, he’s been involved with nine drafts now with different clubs and with us, he’s been the No. 1 voice out in the field.
“He understands how scouts think because he’s done the job as an area scout. He’s also a good communicator and he’s organized.”