After being selected in several Major League Baseball amateur drafts, Carmel High School alum Devin Pearson has finally found his home in the pros. Not on the field, but rather in the front office of the Boston Red Sox.
When a promotion in the scouting department left a vacancy, a fellow U.C. Berkeley alum currently working as the assistant director of amateur scouting recommended Pearson for the job.
The two-time Monterey County Athlete of the Year, perhaps best known locally for leading the Carmel High football team to a CCS championship in 2009, moved out to Boston in mid-February and is currently acclimating to the climate—both literally and figuratively—in the front office.
“I’ve been spending most of my time breaking down film of the World Baseball Classic and watching players in the tournament,” Pearson said of his first days with the Sox. “I’m just getting use to the various databases and things that we use. It has been really exciting because it doesn’t feel like a job.”
As a member of the scouting department, Pearson will help draft high school and college players from around the country. Despite the broad reach of his position, he will spend most of his time in Boston.
“There are a couple of occasions where I’ll travel to see some top prospects, but for the most part I’ll stay at Fenway,” Pearson says.
His role has already expanded from his early spring training duties, becoming more involved in the changes of an ever-shifting major league roster, as well as further examination of Major League play.
“I have some in-game duties when we are playing at home, and I have to be aware of every transaction (trades, releases, options, call ups, call downs) throughout minor and Major League Baseball,” Pearson explains. “There will be even more responsibilities for me once our season starts.”
The former outfielder enjoyed a four-year run on the Carmel varsity baseball team before playing for U.C. Berkeley and leading the team in hitting his junior year. Although he was drafted multiple times, Pearson opted not to play professionally.
He views his past experience with the draft as valuable knowledge for his current job with the team from Beantown.
“I got drafted in high school, so I dealt with the high school amateur side of it, and in college I had to deal with the draft my junior and senior year,” Pearson says. “I’ve had experience in both levels from a player’s perspective, and I think it gives me experience with how to deal with it from the other side.”
One of the teams that drafted him was the division-rival Toronto Blue Jays, a team he will now try to best in the American League East.
“I think it will be fun to play those guys. I know a lot of guys in that office, so maybe we’ll have some bets going,” Pearson jokes.
A shoulder injury his junior year at Cal marked a significant point in his baseball career, as he was restricted to designated hitter duties for the rest of his college play. This led to his decision not to sign with any professional teams.
During his playing days, Pearson received high marks from his coaches for his tenacity and workmanship. This is illustrated by his incredible winning record, taking home eight varsity championships over three sports during his tenure as a Padre.
“He’s the most competitive high school athlete I’ve ever encountered,” Pearson’s high school football coach Golden Anderson says. “I don’t make that statement lightly. In four years of high school football, he missed one practice due to being sick. He didn’t miss, didn’t ever take it easy at practice. He always worked to get better.”
Pearson, however, will face challenges that he hasn’t faced in his time on the field. The popularity of advanced statistics in the executive side of baseball, popularized by the 2002 “Moneyball” Athletics, is apparent in the Red Sox organization.
As a player, the Cal alum relied mostly on the intangible side of the game; however, the transition to the front office will cause him to shift more towards analytics, an area in which he is not as experienced.
“There are a lot of the new statistics, and that’s a big part of [scouting] now,” Pearson notes. “That’s something I really have to learn, because I’m not really an analytics guy. For me it’s more about feel. In hitting, for example, if you’re on time and balanced, I don’t care how you get there. I think that’s more important. I want to find out what stats I think impact the game the most.”
In the front office, he will be working under General Manager Dave Dombrowski, who previously led the Detroit Tigers to an American League pennant before signing with the Sox.
This past off-season, Dombrowski traded away top prospects to bring stars like Chris Sale to Boston, leaving the Red Sox farm system more depleted than it has been in several years. Certainly, Pearson’s acquisition occurred during a crucial time for the scouting department.
Pearson looks at this position as a stepping stone in his professional career, the first rung in his climb to success. He hopes one day to reach the position of general manager, and he is ready to put in the hard work required to get there.
“The goal is to be with the organization for a while,” Pearson says. “I’m trying to get in there and absorb as much as I can and see where things go.”
Anderson sees Pearson’s potential, seeing him as a great benefit for Boston’s scouting department.
“He has been successful because of the attributes that he displays daily,” the Carmel football coach says. “The Red Sox are getting someone who is going to be a huge asset in the long run.”
Despite his aspirations in the front office, Pearson’s hitting days may not be over.
The former outfielder jokes, “I gotta imagine we’ll be able to take some batting practice at Fenway.”