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PawSox manager has deep appreciation for life inside draft war room

June 6, 2013

Pawtucket Red Sox manager Gary DiSarcina got to see firsthand how business is conducted in the war room when he sat in during the Los Angeles Angels’ 2011 draft. PHOTO BY KELLY O'CONNOR

PAWTUCKET – PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina experienced one side of Major League Baseball’s draft when he served as the Angels’ on-site representative during the televised portion of the 2011 edition.
Sitting in a studio room at MLB Network’s Secaucus, N.J. headquarters, DiSarcina turned in the card that contained the name of the player that the team would select with its first-round selection.

Upon completing the task, DiSarcina returned to Southern California. In keeping with his duties as special assistant to Angels’ General Manager Jerry Dipoto, DiSarcina reported to the organization’s draft headquarters, located in a hotel ballroom not far from Angel Stadium in Anaheim. Day Two of the three-day draft palooza was on deck.

As a curious onlooker, DiSarcina learned first-hand that the draft war room is a bustling center of activity. Scouts who had logged countless hours at high school and college games within their assigned territory were present. Joining them were officials from the front office and player development, two groups that kept an eye on a board posted on the wall and contained the names of roughly 200 players the Angels were targeting.

As the day unfolded, DiSarcina stood to the side and observed the braintrust go about the task at hand. Opinions of future players ran rampant, the entire spectacle akin to whenever a bill is introduced on the floor of the House or Senate. The scouts would state with conviction why certain players should be taken, going through a laundry list that not only included attributes, but how the minor-league staff could best maximize potential.

“I was educated on the whole process. You’re in a room with 20-30 scouts and each one has 20 players that they like. Organized chaos is the best way to describe it,” DiSarcina shared. “I saw scouts who really believed in their players; when they spoke, they did so with conviction. At the same time, the farm director would be trying to decide where the players would report.

“You need to have each part of the organization working together in order to create a philosophy and culture; it definitely connects together,” DiSarcina delved further. “If you don’t trust the player development department, you won’t take a chance on a certain high school kid. Say you want to take a shortstop and make him a center fielder. If you don’t have the confidence (that the minor league coaches can aid the player make the position switch), you’re not going to draft him.”

While managing in Single-A Lowell from 2007-09, DiSarcina would hear through the grapevine about how the different branches of the Red Sox’ baseball structure would come together and adhere to one draft philosophy. For example, the preference could be to go heavy on power right-handed arms with college experience, or select multiple high school seniors with perceived high upsides.

“I just always figured that you drafted the best player available,” said DiSarcina.

The June 2011 day DiSarcina spent in the Angels’ draft nerve center helped to clarify any lingering thoughts he had regarding the integration of the different baseball departments with a finite purpose in mind – to select the next wave of promising candidates.

“I felt like I was in a classroom,” said DiSarcina. “It’s a neat process, but it’s also complicated.”

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