Gabe Kapler
The Los Angeles Dodgers rebuilt their front office this winter with a new philosophy based on analytics.

One of their new hires was former MLB player Gabe Kapler for their director of player development. Kapler finished baseball in 2011 and joined Fox Sports One as an analyst in 2013 before joining the Dodgers. He’s a proponent of health and advanced stats, fitting right in with the new direction in Los Angeles. His first big project was the Winter Development Camp that was held at Dodger Stadium and had 27 young players and prospects. It was a change from the previous camps in the fact that the players spent more time in the classroom than on the field.

Kapler discussed some of his new ideas and philosophies regarding player development with Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:

One thing we want to do is avoid locking ourselves into any organizational philosophy that can’t be easily altered or improved,” said Kapler. “While mining for best practices, we have overarching themes and philosophies, but we don’t want to say, ‘This is what we believe’ and get so dug in that we’re not capable of being nimble as new studies present better ways to approach problems and development. That flexibility is a thought process that we have to constantly talk about it with players and staff.”

The Dodgers have had a few All-Stars come through their system in recent years (Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp, Dee Gordon, etc.), but have failed to have the type of system that continually filters to the majors. One issue was previous owner Frank McCourt, who underfunded the scouting department.

Now the Dodgers are on the right track and it will be up to Kapler to make sure the plan keeps up:

One thing I realized quickly is that player development is a job about human development, masquerading as a job in baseball,” he said. “It’s all about human development. So, if you work toward developing human beings, then we believe that building more confident, better adjusted men will turn into stronger teammates, will make better baseball players, will help win championships at the Major League level.

If the Dodgers can combine excellent player development with their ability to spend money, there could be a new dynasty in Los Angeles.

About The Author

Vince is currently the Associate Editor and Social Media Manager for Dodgers Nation. Hailing from San Pedro, CA and a student at Cal State Long Beach, Vince has previously written for the Daily 49er and LASF Magazine.

3 Responses

  1. GeneralIssue Joe

    Scouting isn’t the sole blame of lack of development.,It’s there minor league coaches as well. Plus the current ownership, isn’t helping either by signing every Cuban that can play. With this sport being mostly mental, what message are they telling there minor leaguers by bringing in and overpaying the Cuban players especially when only1 has panned out. But then again if Mattingly had his way Puig would still be in the minors.

    Reply
    • Tmax

      Joe I think the message was they needed and still need quality everyday players and felt they had huge gaps in that area. If you do not have a bunch of draft picks but plenty of money the smart thing to do is buy International Players that only cost you money. Which they have vs draft picks or quality players which they do not have. There was thought by everyone in baseball to be a huge infielder and catching gap with the Dodgers. That is why they brought in the Cuban Infielders especially to address. Dee Gordon came out of nowhere after not playing well before. I have been a fan for over 50 years. If you get a Puig and 2 minor league guys out of three picks you are doing OK in my mind. We do not know how Guerrero will turn out yet. IF he makes the bigs on talent it will be 2 out of 3 which is phenomenal. By the way look at the moves by the Front Office, catchers and infielders heavy.

      Reply
  2. Grouch

    Kaps sounds like he’s got a solid head on his shoulders. Hoping we can go on another five-year ROY streak like it was the 90s again.

    Reply

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