A Legacy To Uphold

SEE ALSO: A Wonderful Ride

As I look over at the empty office next door to where John Manuel sat for many years, I can’t help but realize that we at Baseball America just lost a star.

You could describe John as the middle-of-the-order bat the entire team depends on, but he was truly a super utilityman. No matter what Baseball America needed, John could handle it. He was conversant in every level of amateur baseball as well as all levels of professional ball, both in the U.S. and internationally.

John was a huge presence and resource for the entire staff during his more than two decades at Baseball America. That ended yesterday. Nov. 1 is his first day working as a pro scout for the Minnesota Twins.

Today Matt Eddy and I take the torch as executive editors. Matt has been at Baseball America for 17 years. I’m a relative newbie in comparison with 15 years here.

We’ll obviously miss John—and we know you will too—but we’ve grown accustomed to this progression. It’s the circle of life at Baseball America. Teams have realized that the drive, intelligence, love of the game and insane work ethic required to work at Baseball America are an excellent incubator for future scouts and front office officials.

When the Dodgers and Astros face off in the deciding Game 7 of the World Series, we know that a Baseball America alum will be getting a ring, whether it’s Dodgers crosschecker Alan Matthews or Astros special assistant to the general manager Kevin Goldstein. Last year, the American League-champion Indians’ front office and scouting staff was filled with BA alums.

There are a dozen Baseball America staffers working for teams in either a front office or scouting role. Those 12 won’t be the last, because we know that eventually, some current staffers will likely end up being hired by clubs as well.

And we welcome that. It’s a sign of how we remain relevant, insightful and the industry leader nearly 40 years after Allan Simpson had a brilliant idea to create a magazine to cover prospects. It’s hard to fully comprehend this in 2017, but before Allan came along, the idea of covering player development in all its forms was something that had never been done.

Allan invented prospect coverage. It was his idea to rank the Top 10 Prospects for every major league organization. There never had been a Top 100 Prospects list until Allan invented it in 1989. Under Allan’s leadership, Baseball America helped push Major League Baseball to turn the draft from a secretive affair where almost no information was released into the television event it is today.

Everyone who works at Baseball America is charged with carrying on Allan’s legacy. We’re responsible for carrying on the great work that Jim Callis and Will Lingo and Josh Boyd and many, many others have done. And now we’re carrying on John’s legacy as well.

Simply put, our responsibility is to provide the best coverage of amateur and pro baseball that you can find. Our mission is to spotlight and give you insights into the stars of tomorrow before they become household names.

And that’s what we plan to do. With Ben Badler, Kyle Glaser and Josh Norris, our team of prospect writers is experienced, insightful and well-connected. Trust that we’ll keep arguing over how to line up the Top 100 Prospects 12 months a year, just as we always have. If you read Baseball America, you also know that Ben drives the conversation when it comes to the international amateur market.

On the college beat, no one can sum up a story better than Michael Lananna, as last year’s Donny Everett feature showed. And Teddy Cahill is equally as adept at breaking down who will be headed to Omaha next year as he is at finding the issues that college baseball needs to address.

On the draft and high school side, Carlos Collazo and Kegan Lowe are jumping right into the deep end of the pool. Both were hired in the past year because we expected that Hudson Belinsky would be leaving us to go work for a team (he’s now an area scout for the Diamondbacks). But we’re confident that they will be ready for the challenge.

Carlos was Clint Longenecker’s assistant “Clintern” when Clint was running our draft coverage. Today, Clint serves as the Indians’ coordinator for amateur scouting, so Carlos truly learned from the best. Kegan, another former Baseball America intern, had the eye and attention to detail to take our high school coverage to a new level.

And B.J. Schecter, our editor and publisher, has more than 25 years of experience in sports media, including 20 at Sports Illustrated, where he edited baseball, college sports and many other things. With his leadership and vision, he can help push us to find even better and more insightful ways to tell you the stories you care about.

We have a responsibility to keep telling our readers things you don’t already know. That was Allan’s responsibility and John and Will’s. Now it’s Matt’s and mine.

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