Toronto hired former Major Leaguer Kevin Cash to act as a full-time advance scout. It's a position that had been vacant in recent seasons, but according to manager John Farrell, it is already paying big dividends this year.
Cash gets a firsthand look at opposing teams before the two sides meet. That allows the Blue Jays to not have to rely solely on video and also provides the club with the inside knowledge of a player who spent eight seasons behind the plate in the big leagues.
"He has done a very good job, because he has recently been a player and has caught in games and called pitches against a lot of the guys he's now seeing," Farrell said. "An updated view of what a player is currently doing, from a hitting standpoint, is very helpful in combination with the information that we generate internally. We feel like he gives us the best available information going into a series."
Cash also has worked closely with third-base coach Brian Butterfield to help the organization with defensive alignments. The Blue Jays have become one of the most aggressive teams in the Majors at the shifting of their infielders to better cover parts of the field.
"You can really start to identify some trends or some areas to cover," Farrell said. "The information is there but I think it's most important that the person who is interpreting it, and then implementing it, and the communication that we have as a staff.
"There's buy-in by the players, so when a pitcher might not know a shift or a subtle movement behind him is going on, they give up a hard-hit ball and turn around and see an infielder standing there. You gain a lot of confidence in that."