Paul DePodesta On What Makes A Championship Player

Last night, I had the pleasure of being on a conference call with Paul DePodesta, the Mets’ Vice President of Player Development & Amateur Scouting. He was kind enough to field questions from me and several other Mets bloggers, and I was able to get the following question in:

Joe DeCaro, Mets Merized Online:

A few years ago while in San Diego, you made/said the following quote in an interview:

 “Makeup is often what separates the championship players from the rest of the pack. Nobody on talent alone is a championship player.”

Please expand on that a little and explain what you meant by makeup. Is it something you look for early in the pre-draft process, or is it something a player develops with the rest of his game over time?

Also, in your opinion, how does Jose Reyes rank as far as makeup goes and being a championship-type player.

Paul DePodesta, New York Mets:

For me, makeup can mean an awful lot of different things. It certainly can mean work ethic, character, selflessness. I think there are a lot of things that we look for when we talk about makeup. Certainly in that quote, those were some of the things I was referring to.

Some of the great players I’ve been lucky enough to be around over the years are guys that have tremendous ability but also outwork everybody else, too. I think that’s part of what makes them great. They also have a tremendous distaste for losing and also play the game with a lot of passion — they do everything with a lot of passion. They want to be out there, they want to compete, and they want to do what it takes to win. And they’re willing to make sacrifices today that they know might not pay off for them not only tomorrow but maybe not in a year, maybe not in two or three years, but eventually will pay off for them. I think that’s a special kind of mindset and certainly not everybody has it.

And there are plenty of players in the big leagues who are extremely talented and who work pretty hard and are very good and productive players, but I think what will cut off and separate guys is that will combined with that passion. And in that sense, it’s absolutely something we look for in the draft.

The minor leagues are a real grind, a real grind. Not a whole lot of players get through it, and it’s not always just because of talent. They deal with an awful lot of failure, they deal with a lot of fatigue, they deal with a lot of selfishness on the part of other players — everybody’s goal isn’t necessarily to win, it’s to get to the big leagues in front of their teammates, in front of the guy that’s playing next to him. It can be a difficult atmosphere, so we absolutely look for guys who can not only survive in that atmosphere, but really thrive in it and do well where others might get capsized.

In terms of Jose Reyes, it’s probably not my place to comment. Since I’ve been with the Mets, I’ve spent the bulk of my time on the road; I think I’ve been in New York for all of ten days and have only gotten to see a handful of games live, as opposed to TV, but I can tell you this: he certainly plays the game with a tremendous amount of passion, one of the keys I was talking about earlier. He loves to play, and I think he brings up the people around him, and I think that’s pretty obvious, even when you’re just watching on TV. That’s certainly an admirable quality.

As always, I want to thanks the Mets for the opportunity to paticipate in these types of functions which allows fans like us to gain more insight on the organizational philosophy of the team, as well as a better overall perspective.

James Kannengieser and Alex Nelson did the tedious work of transcribing the entire conference call which you can read on their site, Amazin Avenue. Thanks, guys.

You can also listen to our friend Kerel from On The Black who asked DePo about the upcoming Moneyball movie, which I thought was pretty interesting. Stephen Keane of the Kranepool Society also had a great question regarding the recent drat. Michael Baron of MetsBlog also has a summary recap of the call.

About Joe D 7946 Articles
I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73, '00 and '15, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.