Over the course of the Washington Nationals’ rise to prominence in the major leagues, one thing they have steadfastly relied on as the bedrock of their success is scouting and player development.
In a new partnership with Bloomberg Sports that they formally announced on Thursday, the Nationals are taking their commitment in that area to a new level.
Bloomberg Sports designed a player evaluation system that will combine “a number of diverse data sources on all professional players with customized and enhanced technology to assist the evaluation process,” according to a release sent out by the team.
“We did a lot of research on it and I think it’s a valuable tool for us,” said Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, who is always a huge proponent of scouting but keeps an open mind when it comes to advanced statistical analysis as well.
“It’s incredibly comprehensive and it’s something that’s easy to access.”
The system will be accessible on laptops and mobile devices. With that in mind, the Nationals outfitted all of their professional scouts, their major league scouting staff and their amateur scouts from cross-checkers up with iPads. Eventually, it will be implemented across the organization.
“Our scouts will be high-tech behind the plate,” Rizzo said.
The system differs from the Nationals’ already complex database of information by centralizing it. While it’s not necessarily more information than the team is used to having, it’s an “ease of application,” thing, Rizzo explained. “We’ve always had this information, but we had to grab it from different barrels.”
Because of the near-instant nature of the technology, it sounds as though it has some capability to do more with the data that is accumulated in a shorter amount of time.
“The Bloomberg database is like our current database, microwaved,” Rizzo said. “It’s faster, bigger, has more volume and more video. It’s all-inclusive, where you can include your scouting reports, your scouting video, your statistics, all in one-stop shopping.”
“From baseball to soccer and other sports, our growing business is all about the efficient and effective management of data to help improve performance,” president of Bloomberg Sports Bill Squadron said in a statement. “We are looking forward to applying all that we have learned in a relatively short time to help the Nationals maximize their great potential for years to come.”
The Chicago Cubs announced a similar partnership with Bloomberg Sports for the system in January.
For the Nationals, the implementation has taken some getting used to, particularly with some of the more veteran scouts who are not used to doing their jobs with such advanced technology. But Rizzo said on the whole it’s easy to get the hang of once you get used to it.
“Some guys are a little bit intimidated by it,” said Rizzo, himself a longtime scout. “But if I can figure it out, they can figure it out.”