While Click has probably settled into his office, I wanted to take a moment for us to dig in a little and get to know the Astros new General Manager - James Click.
Click’s meteoric rise through the baseball ranks is an intriguing story, and I think is another step towards a new era in baseball operations, continuing the trend towards the “nerd cave” style that Luhnow ushered in.
As for his background, Click, 42, hails from Durham, North Carolina having gone to the prestigious Yale University for a Bachelors in History. Click took an interesting path to the General Manager role, although one that I see occurring far more frequently in the future, writing for an analytics website known as Baseball Prospectus. Click actually is the second BP writer to join the top of the Astros front office with Kevin Goldstein joining, who we had a chance to interview in the past.
As I began to do some research, it was intriguing as Click’s wikipedia page is all of about 3 sentences long, most of the articles focused on his recent success with the Rays. As you scroll through the endless articles announcing his hire and even those doing a deeper dive, it seems that Click has been a fairly private man, and information is somewhat limited. I wanted to find a way to get a better understanding of who he was, and his though process, but was frustrated with the articles I found.
But there’s a unique way of us getting to know Click that isn’t usually possible with most General Managers. Why? Well, as a writer for Baseball Prospectus, it allows us to catch a deeper glimpse into his mindset and his areas of interest.
His articles range from 2003 to 2006 (and a few retrospectives since), with nearly 80 articles written by him during this time. If you haven’t seen them, here is the link to BP’s archive’s of all his articles. His first article was in regards to looking at the unbalanced schedule in baseball, but from there it delves into a wide array of topics which you would anticipate from a writer at BP. He digs into Defensive Efficiency, the impact of speed on defense, Starters vs Relievers (and changing the distribution in workloads), as well as analyzing topical issues.
I plan on spending a good amount of time reading all of his articles and getting familiar with his work. If you’re looking for one that’s Astros specific - he wrote an article with an in-depth preview of the 2005 World Series - Astros vs White Sox. And although, it didn’t come to end that way - it made me happy to see that he chose the Astros in 7.
As for his time at the Rays, Click rapidly ascended through the ranks - starting as a Baseball Coordinator and quite a few other positions across 10 years, working his way up to the Vice President of Baseball Operations in 2016. If you’re wondering what exactly that role entails, here is a quick snippet from the summary on the Ray’s website:
“ In this role, he is involved in all aspects of the baseball operations department with a focus on baseball research and development and baseball systems departments. He also assists with player evaluation, roster configuration and deployment, contract negotiation and staff management.”
From a family perspective, Click is married to his wife Ace and has two sons - Sam and Nate.
Additionally, I found this video of a 17 minute interview where you can hear from Click directly and get a better feel.
If you guys have other sources or information about Click, please share as we get to know the new General Manager! What are your thoughts about him? What changes do you see compared to the Luhnow era?