Global Baseball

One man\’s year-long journey through the world of baseball

Questions for a Cubs´Scout

This Thursday I will be interviewing Jose Serra, the Chicago Cubs´Latin-American Supervisor and head scout.  If anyone has any burning questions they´d like to ask, either about the Cubs´farm system, the academy structure, or about Latin-American baseball in general, post ´em here and I´ll try to work them into the interview.

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July 25, 2006 - Posted by | DSL

14 Comments »

  1. I have a question I would like to ask Jose Serra.

    Mr. Serra,

    Why haven’t the cubs farm system been able to produce any sustainable commodities? Just a few short years ago the cubs system was ranked in the top 5 in all of baseball, some would say that was because it had a wealth of young pitching. Why are we not seeing the progress of some of the systems promising position players?

    Comment by cubfan4life | July 25, 2006

  2. I would like to ask 2 somewhat related questions.

    How much of a priority is stike zone judgement in the baseball skills you try to develop with the guys you have there? There is an old saying(stereotype?) that says “You don’t walk off the island” meaning the guys there are free swingers because average and power get you recognized not OBP. Is this still the case?

    -What do you think of Felix Pie and what are his chances of decreasing his strikeout total at the AAA/major league level? Was strikezone judgement something that was identified as a problem while he was still there in the Dominican?

    Comment by JonH | July 25, 2006

  3. The Cubs recently signed 16-year old Larry Suarez, their first big name Latin American signing in a few years. What can you tell us about him?

    Does his signing indicate the Cubs are putting more emphasis into scouting and signing Latin American talent after what seemed like a couple of slow years in that part of the world?

    Comment by Bob | July 25, 2006

  4. I’m a big Cub fan, so am curious both about the process and the specific guys that Jose’s been involved with. Some Q’s:

    1. When Cubs get guys through the draft, we fans usually know who the team thinks has talent based on their draft round and their signing bonus. For Latin prospects, we usually don’t for maybe several years. What are some of the names for some of the most expensive prospects that you’ve signed? And in terms of this year and last year, how many guys have you signed with signing bonuses of over $100,000? Any notables outside of Larry Suarez? Anybody who stands out as a candidate to be the next Zambrano, or Juan Cruz, or Angel Cruz, or Francis Beltran or Felix Pie?

    2. How much of your time is spent in Venezuela, supervising Hector Ortega and scouting players he likes, as opposed to sticking at home in DR?

    3. Do you have a budget for how much you can spend per year on signing guys? Does that vary from year to year? Or if you want to sign somebody expensive, like Larry Suarez (who you got) or Tony Pena’s kid (who you didn’t get), do you have to get special money approval from Fleita or hendry or Wilken or somebody? We know that the draft usually results in spending several million in bonuses. How much do you typically get to spend?

    4. If you get or Hector get interested in a guy who might cost >$100,000, is it just up to you to decide? Or does Fleita or Wilken come in and do some crosschecking to discuss whether they like the guy as much as you do?

    5. I noticed several mexican kids got signed last year (Marco Carillo, Astorga.) I don’t recall the Cubs being at all active in Mexico before. Is this a country where you might get more involved? Are you going there to scout and sign those guys yourself, or do you have a new area scout there, or what is the process for finding somebody in Mexico outside your normal territory?

    6. This is outside your area I know. But for a while the Cubs were active in Asia, signing Choi and Ryu and Kweon and with Leon Lee as a fulltime scout over there, but they shut that operation down about five years ago. Do you have any idea whether they have any desire to get back in over there? Or is the perspective that it gets better value to simply take the money that would cost and give it to you to spend?

    7. My perception is that you and Hector are the only two full-time guys the Cubs have in Latin America. Don’t other teams have a lot, lot more scouts, and doesn’t having only the two of you put the Cubs at a serious disadvantage? Or is that not actually the case? You’ve got a bunch of people you’re paying to help you find talent? Or maybe nobody besides the Yankees have more than two Latin scouts either?

    8. Many organizatons have teams in Venezuelan league, and/or have more than one in the Dominican League. Yet the Cubs have only one. Are there plans to get back into the VSL? Or to field a second team in the DSL?

    9. Most of the guys you sign play their first year in the DSL, only a few go straight to the rookie league in the states. This year Robert Hernandez and Marwin Gonzalez have both gone straight to Mesa at only age 17. Are these a couple of guys with some tools that might make them serious prospects, if they develop well? How about Tirado and Rafael Dolis?

    10. Good luck! Work hard, and bring us some Cub prospects that will play in some Cub World Series down the line!

    Comment by Craig Jasperse | July 25, 2006

  5. Craig: thanks for the great questions.

    Having spoken to Serra once already (in an impromptu, incredibly informal interview), I can answer #7. He’s got 4 guys who patrol different regions of the country and report back to him.

    Comment by jhelfgott | July 25, 2006

  6. good luck! congratulations on your watson. what school did you attend? what’s your basic idea from your experience so far?

    Comment by gizmoandgeorge | July 26, 2006

  7. Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, Mr. Serra.

    1. Why did you decide to get involved in Latin American scouting?
    2. How is Dominican Republic scouting different from United States or Venezuelan scouting?
    3. How often do you or your scouts see a player before you sign him?
    4. How do you measure a player’s makeup?
    5. Who was the one player that you wish you had signed but didn’t?
    6. What’s the most important think to consider when scouting or developing a Dominican player?

    Comment by wrigley03 | July 27, 2006

  8. […] So if you want to get perspective on international scouting or the latest on potential Cuban defectors, give it a read. Since Jon’s going to Australia, too, I expect him to find the next Doyle. […]

    Pingback by U.S.S. Mariner » Fans of Global Baseball, Take Note - Seattle Mariners and general baseball discussion | August 2, 2006

  9. DEAR GLOBAL BASEBALL
    I’D LIKE TO READ,IF IT IS POSIBLE,THE ARTICLE ABOUT THE INTERVIEW TO MR. JOSE SERRA CUB’S SCOUT,ANSWERING DIFERENT QUESTIONS ABOUT CUB’S BASEBALL SCOUTING …
    WHERE MAY I FIND THIS ARTICLE MENTIONED IN YOUR PAGE…
    YOURS IN BASEBALL
    JOHN AKEL
    ECUADORIAN BASEBALL COACH AND INSTRUCTOR

    Comment by JOHN AKEL | September 6, 2006

  10. What´s the velocity actually of the pitcher Larry Suarez.Where played?

    Comment by Javi Flowers | May 7, 2007

  11. what do you say about sighning small 5,9 and 5,10 players do yo think yo can be interest in them.

    Comment by la estampa | June 13, 2007

  12. DEAR GLOBAL BASEBALL:
    ABOUT THE INTERVIEW MADE BY MR.JHELFGOTT TO CUB’S SCOUT JOSE SERRA BY JULY or AUGUST 2006,I’VE NEVER FOUND IN YOUR WEB THE COPY OF THAT INTERVIEW NAMED: “QUESTIONS FOR A CUB’S SCOUT”…
    WOULD YOU MIND AND BE SO GENTILE TO LET ME KNOW WHERE MAY I FIND IT,OR SENDING ME A COPY OF THAT INTERVIEW TO E-MAIL ADDRES :john_akel@hotmail.com
    i’m a baseball coach and instructor down here in guayaquil-ecuador-south america,i’ve been looking for itmore than a year and a half,and couldn’t find it…
    THANKS FOT YOUR TIME AND INTEREST,DEVOTED TO THIS COACH AND REQUEST…
    YOURS IN BASEBALL,SINCERELY
    JOHN AKEL

    Comment by JOHN AKEL | January 19, 2008

  13. me parece que ese chico larry suares tiene mucho futuro creo que es el proximo toro suarez…..suerte..

    Comment by robert castillo | April 7, 2008

  14. una pregunta jose serra que hay que hacer para firmar con los cubs un pitcher

    Comment by joel | December 6, 2010


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