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Pat Gillick Interview

 
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Pat Gillick
Executive Vice President
General Manager of Baseball Operations
Seattle Mariners

Another exclusive for the High School Baseball Web! We have an interview with one of the brightest "stars" of Major League Baseball management. Pat Gillick, of the Seattle Mariners discusses professional baseball and the high school player.

 

At the time of this interview, Pat Gillick was beginning his first season as the Mariners' Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations. Gillick is responsible for the Major League personnel and operations, player development and scouting departments.

Gillick is recognized as one of the best executives in the game. He has a long list of awards to his credit, including being voted Canada's "Baseball Man of the Year" by the Toronto and Montreal chapters of the BBWAA in 1983 and 1991; being honored as UPI's Major League Baseball "Executive of the Year" in 1985 and as the "AL Executive of the Year" in 1993. He was the co-winner (with Cito Gaston) of the "Sportsman of the Year" award in 1993 and was honored by the Harvard School of Business in the fall of 1994.

 

Question: At what age do you start watching a player? (i.e. youth summer tournaments / varsity high school baseball)?

Answer: Around 14 to 15 years old.

 

Question: How important is it for a high school player to attend a professional team's open try-out day?

Answer: If a player is interested in a professional or collegiate baseball career it is quite important.

 

Question: At what grade in school should a player attend their first "try-out" day? (i.e. 9th grade, 10th grade, etc.)

Answer: In my judgment -- following the sophomore year of high school (grade 10)

 

Question: Is it a good idea for a high school player to send a letter of introduction to a professional team? Much the same as he might to a college coach.

Answer: It would not hurt. It depends on the individual scout -- some like it, others don't.

 

Question: If a letter is a good idea should a player include statistics from his high school and summer teams? Is sending "press clippings" from local newspapers, that include highlights, about a player a benefit?

Answer: Yes, but not too much in the way of clippings. "Stats" - age, height, weight, etc.

 

Question: Is it a good idea for a high school player to make a videotape, of himself, in baseball situations and give it to a professional scout?

Answer: I think that it is a very good idea.

 

Question: With the increasing number of "Showcase" events, in recent years .... How important is it for a player to attend this type of event?

Answer: Really just one -- following his junior year would be sufficient.

 

Question: How do you decide (as an organization) which showcase events to cover?

Answer: The Mariners cover all of the major showcases.

 

Question: Which showcase events do you personally consider to be the best? From a professional MLB team's perspective.

Answer: I could not recommend one over another.

 

Question: What is the best way for a high school player to get noticed by a professional scout?

Answer: Play on All-Star teams, top level travel teams, etc.

 

Question: How important is a player's physical appearance? I do not mean is he 6'-1" tall and weigh 200 pounds. What I am referring to is tattoos, body piercing, odd hair styles, manner of dress, etc. Are any or all of these a "negative" when a pro scout sees a player ?

Answer: A clean cut player usually has more appeal, but if talent is apparent an earring would not be a negative.

 

Question: If a player has a bad day ... when a professional scout is in the stands watching him for the first time .... Does that mean it is "over" as far as that pro team is concerned?

Answer: Professional baseball scouts should not scout on performance or current statistics -- but on ability and projectability.

 

Question: How important is a player's "attitude appearance" when in a game and at practice?

Answer: Extremely, extremely, extremely.

 

Question: Do college coaches and professional scouts ever talk to one another about prospective high school players?

Answer: All the time.

 

Question: How important are the psychological tests in regard to where a player may be drafted, in which round, or if he will be drafted at all?

Answer: They are just another tool to further evaluate a potential draft pick.

 

Question: How important is a player's past medical history in regards to a potential draft round? Same question for the vision tests.

Answer: Very important.

 

Question: How important is it for a player to attend a "pre-draft" workout - if he is invited? Is it possible for a player to be drafted in the first 5 rounds without attending a pre-draft workout?

Answer: They just give a player more exposure. If a player has the talent he will be selected if he does or does not attend a work-out

 

Question: How important is the "draft and follow" method to your organization? Do you utilize this process much?

Answer: Very important -- The Mariners use it quite a bit.

 

Question: How important are junior college players to your organization's draft strategy each year?

Answer: Very important

 

Question: If a high school player has the option of attending a very good junior or community college versus a small four (4) year school what factors make one choice better than another? ( I am referring to baseball programs -- not the academic institutions)

Answer: My suggestion would be to attend a 4 year school.

 

Question: Do players get drafted that have not been seen by an individual team's cross checking ("cross checker") scout? In other words on the recommendation of an area / associate scout only?

Answer: All the time. Evaluations of our area scouts are the most important.

 

Question: What other tips or advice can you give a high school player that would rather "go pro" than play in college?

Answer: Practice, practice, practice - not only hitting, but defensive play. Watch as many professional games as possible.

 

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