Yesterday MLB.com Padres’ beat writer Corey Brock wrote a great expose on the Friars new general manager A.J. Preller. Brock outlines Preller’s long road through the baseball industry that led to him being hired by the Padres executive team and ownership group. After playing baseball in high school, Preller’s baseball career began as an intern in the Phillies organization, where he wrote a research paper on baseball in Latin America focusing on the academy system that is very prevalent in that part of the baseball world.
Since that paper, Preller has developed a deep love, understanding, and strong relationship with people in that part of the world. After spending time in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization, he was hired to work for the Texas Rangers’ front office. In this position, he was given full autonomy to scout, recruit, and sign players in Latin America. He developed unique systems that included doing background checks and getting to know the players beyond the diamond as well as in between the ears. Preller wanted to make sure he was signing ball players who loved to play baseball and was not just trying to find a way to leave their native country and get to America.
Preller was very successful scouting and signing players that have produced on the Major League level including Jurikson Profar and Leonys Martin. While he wasn’t the sexiest pick, I believe A.J. Preller can rise to the challenge and improve the Padres international scouting and signing of high-ceiling players to elevate the Padres Major League squad. Let’s take a look down on the farm that A.J. Preller is now tasked with adding to.