- Nov 29, 2001
Good piece in The Athletic today about the moves the Red Sox have made to grow their front office and behind-the-scenes staff:
There had been some growth before Bloom, but since his arrival, the analytics/research and development staff has been bolstered noticeably. Part of it has been to keep pace with the industry itself. As recently as 2018 there were nine people in the Red Sox R&D department. That increased to 14 at the start of 2019 when Dave Dombrowski was still president of baseball operations. By the following year, Bloom’s first year on the job, there were 16 people in R&D. The group grew to 21 people entering 2021 and by the start of 2022, there were 28 people working in R&D including additional hires in sports science and biomechanics.
At the start of 2023, the R&D staff had grown to 33 people, nearly four times the size it was when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2018. That has not necessarily translated to on-field wins, but reflects a reality across the sport: Many teams are staffing up in this manner, and much of the growth in that area has been a result of keeping pace with the rest of the industry.
Red Sox building up staff to compete in the next frontier of MLB’s arms raceAhead of 2022, development coaches were added to each minor league affiliate to serve as liaisons between the analytics staff and the coaching staff then ultimately the players. Sometimes data can be misconstrued or seem intrusive when coming from the top, so the goal was to have a uniformed coach with each minor-league affiliate to receive the information and create a plan with the coaching staff to implement it if they felt it could help the player.
Crockett, who’d been vice president of player development before Abraham took over in 2021, moved into the senior VP of baseball operations role, where he now works closely with Bloom, O’Halloran and assistant general managers Ferreira, Eddie Romero and Mike Groopman. Crockett’s role focuses on major league operations, but with a heavy emphasis on growing the sports performance group within the organization. Meanwhile, this winter Paul Toboni, who had been director of amateur scouting — in charge of the last three drafts — moved into a hybrid player development and amateur scouting role where he’ll work with both departments, in not only scouting but transitioning players into the Red Sox system once they’ve been drafted. Devin Pearson, who’d been assistant director of amateur scouting, is now the director and in charge of the 2023 draft.
Scouting and player development groups had always worked together, but Toboni’s role will help tighten any gaps and put drafted players in a better position to transition to professional ball more seamlessly.