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Baseball America Online - College

 
Prospect maven gets to find his own future stars

by Will Lingo
February 14, 2004

We’re a magazine that covers up-and-coming players, and we like to think that we develop our own talent as well on the editorial staff.

Most of the people who have moved on from Baseball America have continued their careers in the journalism business, though former staffer Dean Gyorgy did move on to work in a minor league front office (the Appalachian League’s Burlington Indians) in 1993.

But this is the first time a Baseball American has gone on to work in baseball operations for a major league team. It’s true. Now-former BA national writer Josh Boyd is getting even further inside the game.

Josh (sorry, can’t refer to him by his last name), better known as BA’s prospect maven, accepted a job as an area scout with the Padres. He’ll be responsible for scouting amateur players in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

It’s the continuation of a natural progression. Josh had been working to get into baseball for years, getting his first break with freelance assignments for Mike Mittleman at STATS Inc., beginning in 1998.

Interestingly, he was working at a motorsports magazine at the time—we all do what it takes to pay the bills, right?—but his passion for baseball eventually won out. His connection to Mittleman led to Baseball America’s Jim Callis, who used to work at STATS, and Josh wrote our Phillies report for the first Prospect Handbook back in the winter of 2000-01.

We were so impressed with his work that we hired him the next spring when we had an opening on our editorial staff.

Passion For Prospects

Josh, a lifelong Yankees fan, came to BA in April 2001. It seems appropriate that his first issue featured Drew Henson on the cover right after he had given up football to become the Yankees’ third baseman of the future. He leaves after Henson finally gave up on baseball.

Josh started as an online editor, simply because that was the job we had open, but gradually gravitated to what became his specialty, keeping up with prospects and writing about them.

This passion seemed to grow even more after he attended the scout school put on by the Major League Scouting Bureau after the 2001 season. That experience not only gave him the confidence to judge players with his own eyes, but it also established him even more in the baseball community and helped him grow his expanding web of contacts.

While we at BA know a lot about baseball, we always say that it’s our relationships with people who work inside the game every day, and their willingness to talk with us, that makes our coverage great. And Josh’s contacts were unmatched. His cell phone and AOL Instant Messenger were always hopping, and it was hard for him to go anywhere at the Winter Meetings without running into someone he knew.

That came from years of working the phones, the e-mail and the meetings. In fact, he and his friend A.J. Preller (who now works in the Dodgers front office) once dropped their résumés off at the Baseball America booth during the 1999 Winter Meetings in Anaheim. Things didn’t work out then, but we’re glad they eventually did.

And when he was at the most recent Winter Meetings in New Orleans, it was the new job-seekers who were giving him copies of their résumés and asking his advice.

Oh, Not Really

Josh wasn’t among those looking for jobs in New Orleans, but in January the job with the Padres came looking for him. I always figured that when Josh moved on it would be to a team. So when he broke the news to us, I wasn’t really surprised. It was nice of him to wrestle with the decision, though.

“Even though I am excited about my new challenge, it wasn’t an easy decision to leave Baseball America,” he said. “It is and was my dream job. I’m just lucky enough to have the opportunity to have two dream jobs come my way.”

Even though Josh is a talented writer and enjoyed the ability to talk to any team about its players, his passion for baseball runs so deep that it was natural for him to want to get involved in the actual decision-making. I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t move up in the front-office hierarchy in the coming years.

That’s why we have mixed emotions about Josh leaving. We’re sad we won’t have his fellowship and knowledge in the office any longer, but it’s a great opportunity for him to continue his professional growth and for us to keep improving our coverage.

Our coverage already improved with Josh here; there was no such thing as the Prospect Pulse, for instance. We had the pieces of the idea floating around, but he was the one that pulled it all together and gave it critical mass and an identity.

The only thing it lacked to more closely identify it with him was his picture, much to his family’s chagrin. And it’s only in leaving that Josh finally gets his picture in the magazine. Oh well.

The most you can ask from having someone work for you is that you both are better off because of it. Josh certainly made Baseball America a better place to work and a better publication. We like to think we helped him get ready for the next part of his life and career as well.

You can contact Will Lingo by sending e-mail to willlingo@baseballamerica.com.