Hoyer, however, found out preparation doesn’t always work. His first league wide conference call meeting between general managers saw him arrive to the show three hours late – like the first time an east coaster who migrated to the left coast turns on the television at 1 PM for a football game that played at 10 AM.
A learning experience. Small as it might seem, and Hoyer got a good laugh out of the time difference vortex, he uses that as a springboard for his future. Detailed-oriented and savvy, Hoyer is collecting usable information, refining methodology, and bundling data with a system-wide scope. He won’t accept being unaware again.
A lot of the buzz has surrounded the information gathering process that Hoyer is seeking from the top of the organization down.
In a small market, he can’t be three hours late to the meeting. He has to be three hours early every single time.
“I think you have to be in a constant state of readiness,” Hoyer said. “We need to make sure the quantitative analysis, the scouting reports, all the makeup information – all of that is ready before a team puts a guy on waivers. You can’t be scrambling for two days trying to find out.”
Along with his staff generals – who he notes are vital to his success – he is streamlining the process. The information gathering mechanism is only as good as the facts held within. If there is no process, everything else becomes moot because the necessary knowledge to make an informed decision is missing.
Chief among his concerns is the fundamentals within the player development staff. The Padres won’t be players for the top end talent on the free agent market. While Hoyer and his team must be ready to pounce when presented with an opportunity on the waiver wire, the ultimate success of the San Diego Padres comes down to the execution within the farm system.
Past regimes held back more than the current structure will. Hoyer is adamant that everyone in the system understand where they fit, how they can get better, and what changes must take place for them to reach their goal.
“You have to coach them a message that players understand,” Hoyer said. “When it is not a coherent message, we create confusion. We need to create a stable environment for them.”
The message is something that has been talked about on the edges of perception since the Padres moved into Petco Park – breeding players that will fit the home stadium.
“One of the things we are working on is really being able to play the game at Petco when they get here,” Hoyer said.
The Padres were 23-18 in one-run games a season ago – home and away. Swaying that number into a bigger positive is important, especially when the long ball is tough to achieve on a regular basis at their downtown venue.
While they managed a winning record in Petco, the hit just .219 as a team – a far cry from the .264 average they posted on the road.
The small ball mentality – a National League flair that permeates through the clubhouse and into the minor leagues is something Hoyer idolizes. It is critical – otherwise another bunch of new players will be swinging for fences that are hard to reach with consistency.
“I do think that in order to be successful in Petco Park, you have to be able to take the extra base,” Hoyer said. “That could be the difference between winning and losing.”
And winning is how he will be measured.
Preparation is more than just collecting data. The distribution of core philosophies and the interpretation by each player within the system is just as critical, if not more.
A pipeline that understands what is expected when they do reach the major leagues will pay dividends. Hoyer is executing the plan he envisioned when he signed on and vowed to build from within. The wheels are in motion on a train to San Diego that will arrive three hours early.
“We have addressed it,” Padres director of player development and international scouting Randy Smith said. “We have really emphasized base running, bunting, base hit bunting – all the fundamentals, the little parts of the game.
“They understand the importance we are placing on it, and they understand that if they are going to play in San Diego, they have to be complete players.”
Denis Savage is the Senior Editor for MadFriars.com and the Scout.com Prospect Guide.
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