That's not according to me, that's according to a poll of 276 scouts polled by Baseball America. (Subscriber article only)
The scouts were asked to name the three best scouting directors in baseball and 32.6% of them named Tim Wilken as one of the three, more than anyone else. (The Rays R. J. Harrison finished second with 29.7%)
The article is an in-depth look at the life of a scouting director in general and Tim Wilken in particular. It talks about his background and how his dad was a scout after a minor league career with the Browns. Wilken is particularly praised for is the way he trains and manages his scouts., Beyond just finding talent, a scouting director's job is managing people and budgets. In fact, the article says that management skills are even more important than evaluating talent. Since it's impossible for a scouting director to see everyone, you've got to trust that your scouts are operating the way you want them too.
The article also talks about how much scouting has changed since Wilken started in the business in 1979. Radar guns are cheap nowadays (well, comparatively) and the internet and smart phones have made it easier to keep track of everything. Wilken had to subscribe to dozens of newspapers from around the country when he started scouting. Now teams (yes, including the Cubs) have extensive databases and video libraries to keep track of potential draft choices.
It's a long and excellent article, and it's one of the reasons a subscription to Baseball America is well worth the money. I'm sure the article will appear in the next print edition if you want to read it but don't want to pay for an on-line subscription.
I know that Wilken isn't exactly the most popular guy around here, although I truly think that's because of unrealistic expectations. I doubt this article, if his critics were even able to read it, would change very many minds. But for those of you wondering why Theo Epstein kept Tim Wilken around, this is the answer.
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