For those of us in baseball blogosphere, this story is too good to pass by.
While other teams’ scouts look for talent in all conceivable places; Japan, Latin America, on the local sandlots, etc., the Phils may be the first MLB team to have googled a player.
Here’s more from Sheridan’s report;
The story begins in October, when Phillies general manager Pat Gillick hired a scout named Mal Fichman, who specializes in finding overlooked players in the independent leagues. Fichman, himself a longtime independent league manager, used to run an annual tryout camp for the San Diego Padres.
The Padres signed 145 players out of those camps over the years, 17 of whom made it to the big leagues. On Saturday and yesterday, Fichman ran the first of his camps for the Phillies, who signed four pitchers out of the 75 players invited.
“It’s a creative way to find players,” Phillies assistant GM Mike Arbuckle said. “There are a fair number of guys that have seen big-league time after coming out of the independent leagues.”
The Phillies have several, including Jamie Moyer and Chris Coste. As organized and thorough as professional teams are in scouring for talent, some players slip through the nets.
Fichman knows how to find them, even if it takes a search engine.
As he was gathering names from his friends and colleagues around the country, Fichman heard about a lefthanded pitcher who dazzled at a tryout camp for the new South Coast League. The problem was, he had no idea how to contact the kid.
“Someone sent me an e-mail about him,” Fichman said. “I’m not very good with computers.”
So Karen Cope, Fichman’s friend and neighbor in Boise, Idaho, Googled the name. She came up with a phone number in Englewood, Fla. Fichman called, found out the pitcher was working out in Warren, Ohio, and got a cell phone number for him.
And that’s how Jake Ociesa wound up in Clearwater Saturday morning.
To read more about young pitcher Jake Ociesa, click here.