August 22nd, 2011
Scott Servais, the Rangers’ Senior Director of Player Development, was in Tulsa for the last two days to check in the RoughRiders players and staff – something that happens a handful of times per season. Scott oversees the on-field development of all players in the Rangers’ Minor League system. It’s a big job, and Scott was gracious enough to sit down with me in the ‘Riders dugout at ONEOK Field to chat about his job, the RoughRiders, and the minor leagues.
Me (AG): What all does your job entail?
Scott Servais (SS): I’m in charge of everything going on in the Rangers’ minor leagues. It all starts with our scouts. They bring the talent to us, and then it’s up to us to groom the talent and put them in the right spots.
AG: With so many players between rookie ball and Triple-A, is it ever hard remembering who is where?
SS: No, it’s pretty much ingrained. It’s a part of my life every morning waking up and knowing who is where. It’s a full-time gig. Fortunately, I have a great staff. They do a tremendous job not only teaching the game the “Ranger way,” but also communicating with our players and myself.
AG: What exactly is the “Ranger way?”
SS: I think there are a lot of ways to put that. I think we have a certain style of player, and a certain style of play. It’s played out in the big leagues by some of the younger players who have come up through our system. Obviously Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Mitch Moreland, and Craig Gentry. Even Nelson Cruz spent some time with us in the minors before figuring it out.
And then there’s the pitching. Guys like Neftali Feliz and Derek Holland are products of our system and guys that we’re very proud of. They understand what it is we feel is important and they have the discipline to carry it out and get better at the big league level.
AG: Former ‘Rider Matt Lawson told me earlier this year following his retirement from baseball that he felt like you really took the time to get to know him when he was playing in the Rangers’ system. How important are those relationships?
SS: It’s everything. I played for 15 years and I remember how important it was when the brass came into town. Letting [the players] know that they’re not just a number or a piece of meat, so to speak. I’m a person, I have a family, I have a background. I hope to build equity with the players so when I have to go to a player and hold them accountable or ask them to make an adjustment, we’ve built that equity, and they’ll buy in and take our suggestions.
The game is a little different now than it was 20 years ago. Then, when a coach said something, you just did it. Now days, you have to be expected to explain “why.” Hopefully when you have a background with the players, they’ll trust you, and that’s what it’s about. They have to trust. There’s never been one player that has made it to the big leagues on his own.
My thanks to Scott for taking the time to answer some questions. It was clear that he wasn’t just rattling of a company line. I can tell he really does believe in the things that he was talking about.
This is now my second season in the Rangers’ system and I continue to be impressed with the overall quality of people that are in the mix – both on and off the field. I’m sure there are things that could be better, like everywhere, but from everyone I’ve talked with, Texas is going about things the right way.