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OC Register: Angels scouting director Matt Swanson preparing for draft, even with coronavirus shutdown leaving no games to scout

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At this time of year, Matt Swanson is usually crisscrossing the country trying to see as many of the best amateur baseball players as he can.

These days, his longest trips are when he takes his dog for a walk around his Round Rock, Texas, home. The only games he’s watching are those played by his three kids, ages 9 to 3, in the back yard.

“This is not something that comes in the manual when you get the job,” Swanson said. “For anybody.”

Matt-Swanson.jpeg?fit=620%2C9999px&ssl=1
Angels Director of Scouting, Matt Swanson

Swanson is in his fourth season as the Angels’ scouting director, except these days there are no games for him or the 25 scouts in his department to watch. The coronavirus crisis has led to the cancellation of just about all organized baseball.

As of now, there is still a draft looming in June. There has been some talk of delaying the draft, or even canceling it entirely. However, Swanson is currently operating under the assumption that he and his colleagues with the 29 other teams will have a draft in June. They just have to figure out a way to make the best decisions with the information they have.

The Angels have the 10th pick this year. That’s the same spot they used to grab Jo Adell in 2017.

Of course, as Swanson points out: “I didn’t even see Jo Adell for the first time till April.”

It seems unlikely that Swanson will be seeing any players in April this year, and perhaps very few in May.

Fortunately for him, scouting is now a year-round job, and they have plenty of information stockpiled on players already. Swanson said his scouts generated about 600 to 700 reports on players just in the first couple months of scouting this year, before the shutdown. Most of those players were from the warm weather parts of the country, though.

“A lot of northern kids didn’t even get out of the gym yet,” Swanson said.

Now that Swanson is grounded, he at least has more time to sift through all of those reports, watch video and talk to his fellow scouts on the phone.

In some ways, with the time for travel removed from the equation, it’s more efficient. Of course, that’s not a trade that Swanson is happy to make.

“Nothing will ever replace going and seeing players live,” Swanson said. “What we’re doing as a group is understanding the constraints we have, how we can proceed each day and prepare for the draft as well as we possibly can..

“I am really proud of the group. They continue to work as best they can so they’re ready when the time comes, when they get the green light. Hopefully that’s sooner rather than later.”

Swanson said he has no idea what is going to happen. He is as much in the dark as anyone else about where the country is going to be in the coming months, so it’s unclear if games will resume at all between now and June.

“Hopefully in two weeks we look up and everyone’s health is good and clear and we can proceed as normal, but one thing I’ve learned over the past few weeks is there are no guarantees at all,” he said. “You wake up each day and take it as it comes.”

One idea that’s been floated is that there may be a series of huge tournament-style events for draft-eligible players just before the draft.

While Swanson waits to see what happens, he has more than his reports to keep him occupied. This is the first time since he was in high school that he’s been at home this time of year for more than just a couple days at a time. Swanson, 37, may not be doing what he’s accustomed to doing, but with 9- and 7-year-old daughters and a 3-year-old son, he isn’t bored.

“Trying to juggle three kids,” Swanson said. “Between my wife and I, the days are really busy.”

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2 hours ago, AngelsWin.com said:

At this time of year, Matt Swanson is usually crisscrossing the country trying to see as many of the best amateur baseball players as he can

 

I can't be the only one

kris kross party hard GIF

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