The most recent edition of The Base Path Podcast has a MLB trade deadline theme with a Rhode Island native who is now a high-level executive with the New York Mets.
Barrington, Rhode Island, resident Tom Tanous joined host Dan Guttenplan to discuss his rise to a front office position in Major League Baseball. As Vice President of International and Amateur Scouting, Tanous currently oversees both the Major League, amateur draft and international player evaluations for a Mets organization that currently sits in first place in the National League East.
The Mets have been on an upward trajectory since Tanous’ move to a VP position in 2017.
“I think it’s a combination of things,” Tanous said. “Player development has been fantastic. I think we’ve drafted quite well. With the addition of some free agents and (manager) Buck Showalter and (general manager) Billy Eppler now in the fold, I think it’s a combination of a lot of things. We’ve always had Sandy Alderson for most of that decade, overseeing the process of our department. Sandy is very big on process, very, very big on building through a farm system, as he’s done in years past with Oakland and San Diego. He came here and did the same thing. Our owner, Steve Cohen, is so committed to winning.”
Before Tanous was appointed to his current position, he served as the Mets Scouting Director from 2012 to 2017. His first draft in 2012 returned 11 future major leaguers. He was also responsible for drafting Pete Alonso in 2016. In his time, he’s seen New England become more of a fertile area for producing big league talent.
“I have seen the talent probably get better from when I was starting out in the ’90s,” Tanous said. “The kids are playing more. They’re playing at a higher level and traveling the country to play, which was something we didn’t see much of in the ’90s. Now I’m seeing New England kids playing in Jupiter, Fla., and Nashville. So, I think the world in New England has gotten a little bit bigger; these kids are traveling. They’re playing on serious teams. They’re playing against serious competition. I would say the level of baseball in England has increased tenfold in the last decade or so.”
When he’s on the road scouting players, Tanous targets players with elite athleticism as well as players that exude leadership qualities.
“With both hitters and pitchers, you’re looking for overall athleticism,” Tanous said. “Athleticism usually will lead to improvement later if this player kind of maxed out. Is this about as good as these guys are going to be? Or is there another level of projection that you can put on that player? You look at how athletic he is within his delivery, how his hips move, where he is at certain checkpoints in his delivery. I think with young players when they hit maturity, it is totally random. So, some kids keep growing in college, some kids are done when they’re sophomores in high school. It’s a very hard thing to predict. One of the main things for future success is whether this player is on the rise. Is he going to get better as a sophomore, junior or senior in high school? Or is he capped off? That’s something you’re going to have to make adjustments to.”
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