Thoughts on Phillies Hiring Johnny Almaraz

So as you have been told by most sources, the Phillies have hired Braves Director of Latin American Operations Johnny Almaraz to fill Marti Wolever’s vacancy as the Director of Amatuer Scouting.  Without being in a front office, and knowing what kind of influence he is and what kind of players he prefers, it is hard to get any tangible grasp on what changes this means for the Phillies.  So rather than focus on how this may affect next spring’s draft, here are some other things to consider:

  • Almaraz was passed over for the promotion to this position in the Braves organization in favor of a scout with domestic credentials, this hiring represents a promotion (Almaraz did get his start as a domestic scout)
  • The Braves domestic amatuer scouting (the draft) as been widely panned recently, however the international scouting as had continued success, with 17 year old Ozhaino Albies being named the #1 prospect in the Appy League
  • Almaraz has been at the head of Braves International Scouting during its revitalization period
  • The Braves were less active in traditional markets (Venezuela and Dominican Republic) than other teams, but have been near the front at establishing new markets
  • Almaraz is the scout that signed Adam Dunn and Johnny Cueto and was involved/directed the signings of Julio Teheran, Jose Peraza, Christian Bethancourt, among others
  • Almaraz represents one of the few hires the Phillies have made outside of the Gillick, Looper, and past Phillies circles
  • Ruben Amaro is a lame duck GM and the Phillies hired from outside the organization, either Almaraz has some job security, needed the change of scenery, or we may see a short term Amaro extension coming
  • There is a lot of positive comments about Almaraz’s approachability with fans and his willingness to talk baseball with anyone
  • There has been nothing but positive things said about Almaraz’s abilities and the Phillies hiring him

Overall, I like going outside the organization for this hire.  The Phillies domestic drafts have been solid for the last few seasons, but it was clear that Wolever was not on the same page with the Phillies FO and the Wetzler/Monda NCAA probe did not engender him support.  The Phillies still have Sal Agostinelli  in place in Latin America, where they have really begun to thrive again.  This may not be a big change and even if it is we are unlikely to see the results of it for many years.  But the Phillies FO has seemed a bit reenergized coming into this offseason, especially Amaro.  We will see where it takes the team, but so far the early steps have been shuffling in the right direction.

Author: Matt Winkelman

Matt Winkelman
Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has appeared on Phuture Phillies, The Good Phight, and TheDynastyGuru.

1 comment

  1. philabaltfan

    Matt, I agree with you that this was a very good hire from outside the organization to change the scouting culture and showed some insight into the possible CBA change in 2016. Do you have any idea who drove this decision? As always a well written article with all angles covered objectively.