ARLINGTON, Texas – For most of the year, a team’s pro scouting staff is laying groundwork, evaluating players for moves that might happen months or years later – if they ever happen at all.

The trade deadline can be different. And, with the way things are trending, it might be especially different for the Diamondbacks, a team that is preparing to buy, sell or do a combination of both in the days leading up to July 31.

“First and foremost, it’s exciting,” Diamondbacks Assistant General Manager Jared Porter said. “It gives our scouts an opportunity to really impact the future of the organization, either short-term or long-term. And it could be both, of course.”

In recent weeks, the Diamondbacks’ staff has been doing its usual traversing of the baseball landscape, with a focus on minor league prospects about whom the organization has less – or conflicting – information. The Diamondbacks also are trying to anticipate the clubs they could match up with in trades and lock in on those teams’ systems.

“I think we’re in a pretty good spot already,” Porter said. “The last month or so has been about making sure we feel really good about our looks and making sure we get more looks on players, like guys at short-season levels.”

At a time when some clubs seem to be shifting away from traditional scouting models, cutting back on staffing and using data and analytics more heavily, the Diamondbacks remain staunch believers in the value of old-school evaluators. According to research by Ben Lindbergh at The Ringer, the Diamondbacks employ the third-most scouts in all of baseball, their approximate total of 75 ranking behind only the Yankees (80) and Dodgers (79).

The Diamondbacks’ top baseball operations personnel came from Boston, and General Manager Mike Hazen said the scouting model they follow is similar to the one they had during their time with the Red Sox.

He said a larger scouting staff makes it easier to get as many looks as possible on as many players as possible. Hazen values the opinions of his top scouts, but he seems to believe there’s as much if not more value in bulk evaluations.

Multiple looks allow the organization to crosscheck players who the analytics might like but on whom a scout might have been lukewarm. He also believes it helps find players who might otherwise go unnoticed.

“I think a lot of the players who slip through the cracks are guys who don’t jump out tools-wise but are really good baseball players,” Hazen said. “The major leagues are littered with those types of players. I think the way that you get to understand those players is by having more information on them.”

Hazen said he leans heavily on the reports his scouts file about players whose names come up in trade talks. He leaves most of the direct communication with the scouts to Porter and Jason Parks, the club’s director of pro scouting, but Hazen said he tries to spend as much time as possible around those two and Assistant GM Amiel Sawdaye in the weeks before the deadline.

“We’re constantly having those conversations about what this scout said or what this scout wrote or what they put into reports,” Hazen said. “We may have conversations about what the scout said and then we’ll push back and say go ask this question or that question to follow up on things. They may have already done that in a lot of cases. That’s kind of how the process works.”

Another thing Hazen values about his scouting staff is potentially avoiding the possibility of an echo chamber effect that happens within an insulated front office. 

“I hope we don’t fall into that trap, but I think we’re always susceptible to falling into that trap,” he said. “That perspective outside, coming in, even if we don’t ultimately agree with that perspective, it causes us to have conversations about it and rethink things.”

Whether the Diamondbacks are active as buyers or sellers or quiet at the deadline, their scouts will have a busy couple of weeks. Porter said this time of year is rivaled in the pro scouting world only by the advance scouting work teams do to prepare for the postseason.

“This is really a busy time for scouts, a time that they feel like the work that they’re doing can show immediate results,” he said. “I’m sure it’s exciting and energizing for them, being at the ballpark and knowing things can happen quickly.”