TEMPE, Ariz. -- A decade ago, when he was a Boston Red Sox scout, Jerry Dipoto used to test the limits of his Internet browser every time he wanted to examine a player.
He needed six windows just to see all the statistics he wanted, plus a separate screen to watch actual video of said player hitting or pitching. Then Dipoto had to synthesize all that information and make a determination.
Now, the second-year Angels general manager needs just one window open on his computer -- set to Bloomberg Sports -- and no separate screens. Bloomberg Sports Pro 2.0 is an all-encompassing platform for player evaluation now used by the majority of MLB teams that incorporates years of pitch-by-pitch video, every sort of advanced statistic and thousands of scouting reports.
Dipoto used a hypothetical example to explain what it could do. In 2011, he said, Angels right-hander Jered Weaver's slider was nearly unhittable. If it suddenly wasn't in 2013, why?
The system won't necessarily answer that exactly, but it'll indicate real possibilities.
"I think that's the value of tracking these numbers," Dipoto said. "It allows you to recognize trends and eyeball where players are in their development."
Speaking at the SABR Analytics Conference in Phoenix for the second consecutive year, Dipoto cautioned against wholly disregarding old-fashioned scouting. He said he would always employ a cadre of scouts to balance things out.
"The essence of scouting is to take what you see and blend it with what you know," Dipoto said. "The live eye does mean something, and we can't create a system where we take that out of play."
Of course, another issue with baseball's growing sabermetric movement is that the players often don't follow or believe in advanced statistics. Dipoto said that presenting a factoid gleaned from analytics as simply a tip instead of a statistical guarantee is important.
And the beauty of the newest-available data, Dipoto said, lies in its interest to players. Evolving hot/cold zones, on-demand video of all previous matchups with that day's pitcher -- they want to see all of it.
"Players will almost 100 percent look at that information," Dipoto said.
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