New Reds GM: Data, scouts both valuable when evaluating talent

Dick Williams had an interesting start to his career as general manager of the Cincinnati Reds.

Promoted to the job late last year, Williams played a role in deals that send Todd Frazier and Aroldis Chapman to other teams, and might have Jay Bruce on the move sooner than later.

“What we take pride in doing is drafting and developing young guys,” Williams said. “What you’ve got to be careful not to do is force it. You can’t let unreasonable expectations creep in, spending money when you shouldn’t be spending it.”

The Cincinnati native is starting his 11th season in the Reds front office, and like everybody else in every big league front office, Williams is trying to sort through the new ways to figure out which players have more talent than others.

“We’re capturing now every movement on the field, down to the granular level,” he said. “It’s given us reams and reams of data that all of the teams are trying to process. Data in and of itself can be a good thing but it can also be a challenge because there are a lot of people chasing down conclusions from that data and it’s really hard to turn it into real actionable intelligence.”

The Williams family has a deep background with the Reds. Dick’s father and uncle are minority owners with Bob Castellini, and his grandfather was a majority owner in the 1960s and 1970s. Although the game has changed since then, the new GM says you can’t ignore the scouts in the field.

“If you’re not listening to both you’re crazy,” Williams said. “I take my stat guys and make sure they get out in the field and watch some games, just like the scouts need to come inside and understand what the statistical side.”

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