Orioles reassign six in scouting shakeup

Dan Duquette is taking the Orioles in a dramatic new direction, one that will renew baseball’s debate over the value of scouting vs. statistical analysis.

Duquette, the team’s new general manager, essentially dissolved the Orioles’ professional scouting department Thursday, reassigning six pro scouts to the amateur side.

Dave Engle and Bruce Kison will remain major league scouts, and the Orioles will make greater use of video and statistical analysis in scouting the majors, Duquette said.

“As you get more video and statistical analysis on a player, the longer they’re in professional baseball, it’s not as vital to have them seen by eyes, professional eyes,” Duquette said. “Players establish a record of their work.

“Some of the trends that the statistics track, they’re not trends that professional scouts would normally see in a short look.”

The six scouts who were reassigned are Todd Frohwirth, Jim Howard, James Keller, Ted Lekas, Lee MacPhail IV and Jim Thrift.

The scouts might have little choice but to accept their reassignments; it will be difficult for them to find new jobs at this time of year.

While Duquette indicated the changes will reinforce the Orioles’ amateur scouting department, the scouts view the reassignments as demotions, sources say.

“It’s a more efficient way to structure the Orioles, better for identifying talent and utilizing people’s strengths to help the team,” Duquette said.