The Tigers have announced that they’ve hired former utilityman Don Kelly as a pro scout and assistant to player development. It would appear, then, that the 37-year-old Kelly, who played briefly for the Marlins in each of the last two seasons, has retired, or at least put his playing career on hold. He spent much of last season with Triple-A New Orleans, batting a modest .198/.284/.233. Kelly is best known for his six-year tenure with the Tigers from 2009 through 2014, during which he played mostly outfield, first and third while serving as one of Jim Leyland’s favored bench pieces. In nine years in the Majors, Kelly has batted .230/.294/.334. Here’s more from the AL Central divisions.
- Twins scouting director Sean Johnson plans to incorporate analytics into his team’s draft process, Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press writes. The Twins have the No. 1 overall pick in June. Exactly how they plan to use analytics to inform that pick is unclear, but Berardino’s piece still demonstrates what appears to be a change in outlook from the Twins’ mostly traditionalist front office under Terry Ryan. Johnson was with the Twins under Ryan, previously serving as their West Coast supervisor, but new Twins front office honchos Derek Falvey and Thad Levine appear to be emphasizing a different approach. “At the heart of it, it’s always going to be about our scouts: who they like, who they want to draft,” says Johnson. “And then you layer on different things to make sure you’re on the right track. It might be numbers or psychological testing. It could be a makeup call. There are numerous things we want to implement.” Still, Johnson adds, “Broadly speaking, we’re going to use more of the metrics. We’re going to have more of the numbers, but not to drive the guys we go evaluate and who we want.” In contrast, Johnson says the Twins didn’t even discuss the spin rate on Tyler Jay’s well-regarded slider before selecting him sixth overall in 2015.
- The Royals plan to use Alex Gordon at all three outfield spots during Spring Training, and perhaps in the regular season also, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan writes. “Every scenario is open,” says manager Ned Yost. “I’m going to move Gordy around. I’m going to play Gordy in right, Gordy in center. Just to see what we got.” Gordon has won four Gold Gloves as a left fielder, but it appears the Royals won’t be shy about experimenting, at least for now. The idea, it seems, is to see how best to utilitze Gordon along with new additions Jorge Soler and Brandon Moss, although Yost does note that he views Soler mostly as a right fielder. Moss played 58 games in left field for the Cardinals last season, although his defense there does not rate as highly as Gordon’s.