Jeremy Booth was an integral part in the Mariners scouting organization for the better part of five seasons. Four years later, Booth is on the precipice of opening a Scout School for baseball enthusiasts and aspiring industry professionals.
When Booth was brought onboard in Seattle in October 2011, he was tasked with heading the Midwest, and eventually the West Coast Division of scouting. He was previously an area scout with the Minnesota Twins and Milwaukee Brewers covering the region, so the fit was a natural progression. After all, Booth was responsible for acquiring the likes of future big leaguers Taylor Jungmann, Michael Reed and Josh Prince. That’s no small feat as a local area scout. With Seattle, Booth identified and evaluated the likes of Michael Wacha, Kevin Gausman, Adam Frazier and Rhys Hoskins, and while the Mariners ultimately didn’t end up with those players, his track record speaks for itself.
Booth would stay with the team during the entire Jack Zduriencik era, leaving the Mariners when Jerry Dipoto took over. Hired as a supervisor and cross-checker, Booth no longer got credit for the individual scouting successes in the Mariners organization as it wasn’t a part of the job, but his guys were responsible for bringing in several members of future Mariners teams too. Scouts come and go when new general managers enter the fold. It’s the way of the industry.
Now, four years after leaving the organization, Booth is back home in Houston, Texas, building and developing a comprehensive “Scout School” to help grow the industry and its fans. Scout School will be the headlining course on a newly launched platform called BSBLIQ.com, set to launch this week. BSBLIQ, a division of ScoutCast, LLC, will be a website dedicated to courses and certifications in baseball. While the site will not be accredited by Major League Baseball, it will help to fill the void left when MLB discontinued its in-house scout school.
“Baseball, and this school for that matter, is proprietary and not proprietary at the same time,” Booth said in a recent interview. “Every scout has to make [scouting] their own. There’s creative licensing in scouting. Everyone does it differently. The point behind this school is giving folks the tools and education to develop their own craft. Ideally, people will put this on a resume and use it in the industry.”
Nope. Never heard of the guy. pic.twitter.com/HJEblv9zWv— Jeremy Booth (@_JeremyBooth) April 15, 2019
Booth isn’t doing this alone. Matt Bomeisl, an entrepreneur in the baseball space, is the founder of BSBLIQ.com. He most notably created Prospect Wire in 2005, a showcase company aimed toward giving high school athletes the opportunity to put their talents on display for scouts.
Alongside Booth and Bomeisl is Rick Oliver, the Director of Scouting for Future Stars Series, one of the premier showcase circuits in the country. Rick brings 28 years of experience with the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau; 10 years as an area scout, as well as 18 additional years as the Assistant Director of MLB Scouting, overseeing amateur scouting, cross-checking, and MLB’s original Scout School. Oliver is, in many ways, one of the godfathers of modern scouting as regulated and sponsored by Major League Baseball itself.
The people are in place, the platform is in place, and now, after months of hard work, the course itself is on the brink of launching.
“There’s been a lot of false information and talking heads out there with the growth of social media,” Booth said. “You have to be able to tell me why someone has a chance to be something or someone, and have the education behind it to back it up. Scouts are always going to be wrong, but if you can explain why a player has a chance to be a certain profile, then you’re doing your job.”
The lengths and depths of which an individual can study in this course will be robust and vast. This will be a paid program, but users will have the ability to pay for exactly what they’re looking for. There will be a core course that has the fundamentals of scouting with things including the 20-80 scale, and the 5-tools, among other things. Beyond that, folks will be able to dive deeper into the “comprehensive and extremely credentialed” if they so choose. Courses will not simply be click-through classes with yes or no quizzes at the end. Students will be expected to turn in papers and transcripts highlighting their growth in the subject matter.
“These courses aren’t ‘gimmies’,” Bomeisl said. “These quizzes, these tests… and even the time required, we view this as if you made it through this course, we are willing to put our names on you.”
Indeed, Bomeisl said the crew is willing to put their industry reputations behind the courses they’ve created.
“You displayed a legitimate mastery of this subject,” Bomeisl said. “You put the time in and you proved it on the final exam. This isn’t something where you pay and go through the motions and get a certificate. And I think that is important.”
While the curriculum in its entirety will be comprehensive and full-bodied, the courses as a whole are palatable and can be completed in weeks, not months. This is on-par with MLB’s original Scout School which lasted just three weeks, though it did involve attending ballgames to help in the evaluation process.
“It’s something that people can complete quickly, not longer than a couple of weeks for the core curriculum,” Booth said. “The additional courses you can opt into will take additional time for sure. There will be back and forth interaction between us and the students. It’s going to a be a learning experience. The reporting and writing will be subjective and graded appropriately.”
At the end of the day, Booth wants the industry to be better informed. He wants education, not armchair evaluators. There’s different ways to grade and assess talent, but the foundation is what a lot of folks are missing these days.
“Projecting talent is simply trying to place a value on what a player’s final fit may be,” Booth said. “Comparisons are all about giving someone a mental picture on what they might have. You have to be able to do that from a specific lens, otherwise it’s a waste of time. It can boil down to something as granular as ‘can this guy not hit a breaking ball, or can he not see the breaking ball?’ Those are the questions that need asked.”
Scout School is expected to launch in the next few weeks. There will be enrollment limits per term, so space will be limited. For updates you can follow Jeremy Booth on Twitter, where you’ll also find plenty of video of amateur players to get a head start on honing your scouting eye.