Detroit Tigers make a slew of new hires, promotions: Here's what you need to know
The Detroit Tigers announced a slew of hires and promotions within the front office Tuesday morning.
The moves — which include additions to the major league staff and newly created positions in player development — were made with an eye on "advancements in sports science and analytical data complementing investments in scouting and player development,” according to a news release.
“These personnel moves are a big step towards our goal of bringing Tigers fans and the city of Detroit the championship-caliber ball club they deserve,” general manager Al Avila said in a statement. “Their impact will be felt across the organization, with the general mission of maximizing performance of the players we have wearing the Olde English ‘D’. We’re excited for what’s to come with this group.”
Most visible among the moves is the hiring of Josh Paul as quality control coach. Paul spent the previous three seasons as the Angels' bench coach. Paul replaces Joe Vavra, who is the new hitting coach.
Paul, 44, played parts of nine seasons in the big leagues as a catcher. He has versatile professional coaching experience, spending eight seasons in the Yankees organization as a minor-league manager, professional scout and catching coordinator.
• Most notable is a change at director of player development, hiring Kenny Graham from the Brewers. He spent the past four seasons as their hitting coordinator.
That Graham’s area of expertise is hitting is not a surprise: The Tigers have struggled to develop homegrown hitters, and the move shows Avila is willing to address the long-standing issue. The previous director of player development, Dave Owen, is now the minor-league field coordinator.
Graham will work closely with roving hitting instructor Jeff Branson, who was hired prior to the 2019 season and received positive reviews from minor-league staffers.
• The Tigers also created two positions: Dr. Georgia Giblin will join the organization as the franchise’s first director of performance science, and Dan Hubbs comes aboard as director of pitching development and strategies.
Giblin has worked closely with the Tigers in the past, joining the organization as a post-doctoral fellow through a partnership with the University of Michigan. Her focus has been on maximizing player performance and health.
Hubbs “will work to establish an organization-wide pitching protocol with a particular emphasis on leveraging data and technology to aid growth and performance,” according to the release. He had served as USC's baseball coach since 2013. Before that, he spent 12 seasons as California’s pitching coach.
• The organization announced one minor-league managerial change, moving Brayan Pena up a level from Class A Connecticut to West Michigan. Pena, who led the Gulf Coast League West Tigers to a championship in his first season, will replace Lance Parrish, who enters the front office as a special assistant to Avila.
John Murrian will move to West Michigan as hitting coach, and Bill Springman heads from Class A Lakeland to Connecticut as hitting coach.
• Chris McDonald, a highly regarded athletic trainer who has spent 18 years in the organization, got called up to the big leagues as assistant athletic trainer. James Orr, who was instrumental in scouting 2019 first-round pick Riley Greene, is promoted to national scouting cross-checker.
The moves represent the Tigers’ next step in catching up to the Joneses in building an organization as reliant on analytics and information as scouting.
Complete list of Tigers' hires/promotions
Lance Parrish – Special Assistant to the EVP of Baseball Operations and GM
Major League Staff
Josh Paul – Quality Control Coach
Chris McDonald – Assistant Athletic Trainer
Matt Rosenhamer – Assistant Major League Strength and Conditioning Coordinator
Kan Ikeda – Major League Advance Scouting Coordinator and International Pro Scout (Asia)
Kyle Lanczki – Major League Advance Scouting Assistant
Austin Tripp – Major League Video Coordinator
Kenny Graham – Director of Player Development
Dr. Georgia Giblin – Director of Performance Science
Dan Hubbs – Director of Pitching Development and Strategies
Dave Owen – Minor League Field Coordinator
Jordan Wergiles – Coordinator of Player Development Analytics
Minor League Field Staff
Brayan Peña – Manager, Single A West Michigan
John Murrian – Hitting Coach, Single A West Michigan
Bill Springman – Hitting Coach, Single A Lakeland
James Orr – National Crosschecker
Taylor Black – East Regional Crosschecker
Darold Brown – Area Scout (No. Nevada, No. California)
Bryce Mosier – Area Scout (So. Texas)
Gabe Ho – Analyst
Charlie Adams – Data Engineer
Elora Strom – Software Developer