Ex-Tiger Wilson hired to Detroit scouting staff

January 7th, 2019

DETROIT -- The Tigers had a void on their Major League scouting staff to fill when legendary ex-Tiger Don Kelly left to become a coach for the Astros. Detroit might well have filled it with another veteran infielder and emergency pitcher who grew up in Pittsburgh and played in Detroit.

Josh Wilson's Tigers tenure as a player wasn't nearly as long as Kelly's, but the organization is hoping his baseball background translates into scouting just as well. He's one of three scouting hires Detroit announced Monday to bolster its staff.

Also added to the Major League scouting staff are longtime Orioles scout and executive John Stockstill and P.J. Jones. Joey Lothrop, Steve Taylor and Matt Zmuda were hired as amateur area scouts, while former Tigers batting practice pitcher Rafael Martinez was named as the director of Latin American player development.

The Tigers also announced additions to their baseball analytics department. Josh Kragness was hired as a senior software engineer, and Beau Hordan, Aidan Kearns and Zach Wolf were hired as analysts.

Collectively, the hires continue Detroit's trend of blending scouting and analytics in an effort to build the organization around young talent. On the scouting side in particular, the latest hires are a mix of veteran experience with potential.

The 37-year-old Wilson played pro baseball for 17 years, including parts of eight seasons in the Majors, before retiring last year. His last big league stint came in 2015 with the Tigers, for whom he started eight games between shortstop, second and third base. He also pitched an inning of relief.

Wilson's ties with the Tigers go back to his time coming up in the Marlins farm system when Al Avila and David Chadd were in the front office there. Among Wilson's teammates was a young shortstop prospect named . Wilson also has baseball instruction and evaluation in his family; his father Mike was the longtime baseball coach at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

Stockstill was in the Orioles organization for 14 years in a variety of roles, including assistant general manager, director of player personnel and director of player development. He spent last year as one of Baltimore's Major League scouts.

Jones joins the Tigers scouting staff after spending last year as a video coordinator in the Cubs organization. He was an assistant coach at Washington State University before that.

Martinez's return to player development brings him back to his roots. He managed the Tigers' Dominican Summer League team for five years before moving up to manage one of their rookie-level Gulf Coast League squads in 2016.

Among the amateur scouting hires, Taylor rejoins the organization after spending the last nine years in the Marlins scouting department. He worked with Detroit from 1999 to 2007. Zmuda, a Toledo native, and Lothrop were interns in the Tigers amateur scouting department last year. Their additions allowed the Tigers to promote Justin Henry and Dave Lottsfeldt to regional crosscheckers. Henry's scouting work included top pick Casey Mize last year.