Bring Me The Head of Jason Parks
**ORIGINAL POSTED DATE 8/13/12**
We would like to thank “The Professor” for taking a few minutes out of his busy schedule to answer these for us.
Jason Parks: I’ve always been more of an artist than anything else, so the progression into the abstract nature of player projection was natural. I played baseball throughout school, but was strictly a fan as an adult, always with a focused eye towards the minor leagues. I started posting on baseball message boards after I moved to New York in 2002, and after a few years of passive- aggressive ranting about prospects, I decided to take a step forward and take the process of evaluation more seriously. After a few years of attending back field games in Surprise, Arizona (both during Spring Training and Fall Instructional League), I was approached by a blog to cover the Rangers minor league system. It all started from that point. A few years after that I was on the national stage writing for Baseball Prospectus.
SDI: How do you establish connections with scouts and grow your network of industry sources?
JP: By attending games and being around the industry. Baseball networking is just like any other field in the world. You have to put yourself in the storm to be affected by the weather. I’ve been talking to people in the industry since 2006, and that roster of sources has grown exponentially since I joined Baseball Prospectus in 2010.
SDI: Is it becoming more difficult to relate to the fan perspective since you no longer share it?
JP: That has been the case since I started with BP and had to cover every team and every system. My approach became more balanced, and my Rangers fan leanings started to straighten out and fall in line with the other teams in the league. I watch baseball as a student of the game, but also as an employee of the game. It’s very much a passion, but its also very much a business. If I want to cheer for a team, I cheer for the Cowboys in football or Spurs in futbol. I can be irrational and enjoy the process of being a fan without a tether to evaluation or analysis.
SDI: There has been a lot of talk about Jurickson Profar, can you give us some insight on what we could expect of Profar at the next level?
JP: Profar is an exceptional talent, the kind that can play up to the level of competition he is facing. If you drop Pro in the majors right now, he’s not going to fall on his face. He isn’t going to slug .500, but he can make contact against major league stuff, he can work counts, and he isn’t going to overwhelmed by the atmosphere or environment of the big leagues. His makeup prepares him for these challenges, so the expected failure that comes at the highest level won’t break his intensity or focus.
SDI: There has been much speculation about what the Rangers are going to do with Elvis in regards to Profar. Your colleague Kevin Goldstein is on record saying that he believes Elvis will not be a Ranger when Jurickson is ready. What is your opinion on the subject?
JP: Elvis didn’t sign beyond his arbitration years, so he’s going to test free agency. That’s going to happen. Good for him. He should. Who was the last all-star shortstop to hit the open market in his mid-20s? Elvis is going to be an extremely rich man. Again, good for him. With roster turnover expected in 2013, I’m not sure the Rangers will look to move one of their core talents, but its possible. Profar is the future, and that future is rapidly approaching, but Elvis is the superior shortstop right now. I know people are eager for the new toy, and they should be excited about it. But Elvis is the better player now, and will probably be the better player for the next few seasons (at least), so if you want the best possible talent on your roster. Elvis should be the starting shortstop, with Profar playing elsewhere on the field.
SDI: With all the great young talent in the AL West, at both the major and minor league levels, is there a better division in the game that has more young talent?
JP: The AL West is stacked. No question. I think the NL Central has a lot more young talent than people realize. Just look at teams like the Pirates and the Cards. They have crazy young talent coming up through the pipeline. Taveras is elite; their young arms are remarkable and can best anything the Rangers have to offer on that front; Pirates have arms like Cole, Taillon, Heredia on the rise. Good stuff.
SDI: How would you handle the contract situation of Josh Hamilton?
JP: I let him walk. Later.
SDI: MLB front offices are loaded with young bright minds. In your opinion who are the top 3 young GM’s in the game?
JP: Several teams are fortunate enough to have exceptional minds in the front office. A few younger names that stand out are: Rangers (Daniels); Jays (Anthopulous); Angels (Dipoto)
SDI: From a writing standpoint, all of us at SDI admire your ability with words, but who do you admire?
JP: Thanks. I admire writers like DeLillo, Baker, Bernhard, Wallace, Rambaud, and Hemingway
SDI: And finally, If Martin Kove was the GM of the Rangers, what would his next move be?
JP: Kove would win the World Series, even if that meant pitching games 1, 4, and 7 on his own. He could do it. Can Jon Daniels do that?