Prior to last night’s loss to the Seattle Mariners, some rather intriguing news dropped in regards to the Texas Ranges and their current front office construction.
According to Daren Willman himself and later confirmed by MLB.com, the Baseball Savant creator and Statcast extraordinaire is leaving Major League Baseball to join the Rangers as Senior Director of Research and Development for Baseball Operations.
Here’s a bit of what MLB.com had to say in their press release in regards to the latest Rangers front office addition:
"Willman, who has been with Major League Baseball since January 2016, will be responsible for the development and expansion of the Rangers’ baseball information systems. He will oversee a team of developers in the continued growth and improvement of the organization’s information infrastructure…More from Nolan Writin'3 Texas Rangers outfield trade targets not named Bryan ReynoldsDid Jacob deGrom really mean what he said at his Texas Rangers press conference?Where do Texas Rangers prospects Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker stand after the DeGrom signing?Martin Perez accepting the qualifying offer looking like solid deal for the Rangers4 outfielders the Texas Rangers can still pursue this winterWillman, who is the Director of Research & Development for MLB’s Baseball Operations Department, has been responsible for the creation of a number baseball analytic websites and systems. He designed, developed and maintained baseball websites Baseball Savant and MLB.com’s Prospects Stats Section.In addition, he developed MLB’s real-time Statcast Gamefeed that includes stats, visualizations and box scores for every Major League game. Willman also created the Savant Illustrator tool to help fans easily create visualizations for story telling centered on players and teams."
The Texas Rangers’ analytics department just got beefed up.
On the surface, this looks like a pretty sizable get for the Texas Rangers. The organization has really placed an emphasis on building up their analytics/research department in recent years, and it’s hard to argue that there isn’t a more qualified person for the job than Willman.
A baseball analytics “pioneer”, Willman’s work with Statcast and Baseball Savant should translate over quite directly to what the Rangers are trying to accomplish with their own respective data-driven approach to player development, on-field performance, and prospect scouting.
This will be Willman’s first time working with an MLB organization directly, so I’m definitely interested to see what type of innovation he brings to the table. His outside approach to the game is probably a big reason the Rangers targeted him in the first place.