When Haley Alvarez finished her internship with the Oakland A's two years ago, she began searching for her next opportunity, understanding the A's didn't have any full-time positions available at the time.But a couple of weeks later, she received a call from the club's general manager, David Forst, asking her
When Haley Alvarez finished her internship with the Oakland A's two years ago, she began searching for her next opportunity, understanding the A's didn't have any full-time positions available at the time.
But a couple of weeks later, she received a call from the club's general manager, David Forst, asking her if she would like to attend scout school, with the A's as her sponsor. That started Alvarez on a path that eventually led her back to the A's in a full-time role.
Alvarez, 24, was recently hired as the A's scouting coordinator, making her the first woman in their front office to be hired as a talent evaluator. In this role, in addition to scouting, she'll help prepare the A's for the Draft and work with the club's scouting database.
Alvarez had gained experience on the baseball operations side while she was still in college at the University of Virginia and through internships with the Commissioner's Office and the Red Sox. But it was scout school that became her springboard into a full-time career in baseball operations.
"I didn't know scout school existed before I received that call [from Forst]," Alvarez said. "But once I found out about it, I was definitely excited about the opportunity and really loved my experience there, especially getting to meet everybody throughout the baseball industry."
At scout school, Alvarez developed contacts with the Reds, who hired her as an administrative assistant to baseball operations in November 2016 until October of this year, when the A's hired her.
Alvarez isn't the first woman to be hired on the baseball operations side by Oakland, a club that continues to be on the cutting edge of creating opportunities for women in an area of a Major League organization typically dominated by men. Pam Pitts has been director of baseball administration for more than a quarter-century, and two years ago, the club hired Justine Siegal as an Instructional League coach in Arizona, working with top prospects.
"They've been extremely welcoming, and I think they recognize talent over everything else," Alvarez said. "That's really what's going to help them win baseball games in the end. They're looking to get a competitive advantage with whoever they can, with the best people who can do the job. I really admire what they've done with accepting women."
Alvarez, a native of the Bay Area, had already been exposed to the world of modern analytics in college, having spent her undergrad years as a manager for a Virginia baseball team that operated like a professional team.
With the Cavaliers, Alvarez worked extensively with TrackMan software, an analytics tool which at the time was relatively new to baseball but soon adopted by all Major League teams.
"They were pretty advanced in terms of technology," Alvarez said.
Most of the time, when she's on assignment, Alvarez is the only woman among her scouting brethren. That doesn't faze her, nor has she received a lot of negative pushback from colleagues.
"People in the industry understand what it's like to work there, and they don't see me any differently than anyone else does," she said. "Of course, when you're out in the field and you're scouting and people don't know you, there are some questions that have been raised in the past.
"But I've never faced anyone that has said anything to me that I can't get over or doesn't light a fire in me to do better at my job and to excel at what I'm doing."
Though she's still in the very early stages of her career, Alvarez understands she's a role model for the next wave of women who aspire to work in baseball operations. She has worked to start programs to get women involved in the sport, especially on the scouting side.
Her roommate in scout school was Amanda Hopkins, who is now an amateur scout with the Mariners. Alvarez hopes their career paths are a signal to women that there are opportunities in baseball operations.
"It's really about letting them know there's an opportunity within the industry, that you don't have to have played baseball, which is a common misconception," Alvarez said. "I hope that I can help women get to where I am today, because I think we can really help this industry grow and help teams be competitive in any way we can."
Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.