Texas Rangers hire Daren Willman as senior director, research & development/applications for baseball operations

Willman joins Rangers after five years with Major League Baseball Rangers also announces several promotions and hires in baseball operations

May 7th, 2021

Arlington, TX—The Texas Rangers today announced that Daren Willman is joining the organization as Senior Director, Research & Development/Applications for Baseball Operations.

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.

“We are excited to welcome Daren and his family to the Texas Rangers,” President of Baseball Operations Jon Daniels. “He’s been recognized an industry leader in data analytics since the creation of Baseball Savant. His unique baseball background combined with his innovative development skill set will enhance our internal systems and decision making, and have a significant impact on our organization.”

Willman, 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.

Willman’s department at Major League Baseball has recently helped create and drive new Statcast metrics for the various MLB properties. The group has also implemented leaderboards and visualizations to help community understanding of new metrics and developed advanced search tool to allow casual fans to create metrics in real time based on a variety of search criteria.

Prior to his work with Major League Baseball, Willman was the Lead Software Architect for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in Houston for almost ten years. He is a graduate of Texas Lutheran University where he was a member of the varsity baseball team. He will begin his new role with the Rangers later this month. 

The Rangers also announced several other promotions and additions to the Baseball Operations group:

Vinesh Kanthan has been promoted to Manager, Sports Science and Baseball Operations. Kanthan will take on an expanded role in baseball operations in his new role. He is in his third season in the Texas organization, originally joining the club in 2019 as a junior analyst in Baseball Analytics.

Cody Atkinson was promoted Director of Hitting prior to spring training. Atkinson joined the Rangers’ organization as minor league hitting coordinator in October 2019. He was at the Texas’ Alternate Training Site in 2020 and has previously worked for the Cincinnati Reds, West Virginia University, and the University of Texas-Rio Grande.

Taylor Cameron has been hired as a Professional Scout. Cameron was with Seattle as the West Coast Crosschecker through the 2020 season after previously serving as an area scout covering Southern California for several years with the Minnesota Twins.

Graf Reiner and Ryan Stoll have been added to the Baseball Systems department as Data Engineers. Reiner comes to the Rangers with more than 25 years of experience working in Information Technology, including several seasons as a consultant for the Rangers. Stoll has spent the last four years at Canon U.S.A. as a Business Intelligence Analyst and was at Ernst & Young in Manhattan prior to that.

Kawika Emsley-Pai has been hired as a coach at Triple-A Round Rock. Emsley-Pai was most recently the head baseball coach at Centralia (Wash.) College, filling the position that was vacated when Cody Atkinson left the school to join the Cincinnati Reds player development staff. The Washington native played six professional seasons as a catcher in the Arizona and Pittsburgh farm systems following a college career at the University of Texas and Lewis and Clark College.

Angel Peguero: was promoted to the coaching staff at Double-A Frisco. He had been set to serve on the Arizona League Rangers staff in 2021. The New Jersey native was due to coach at the Rookie level for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2020 prior to the cancellation of the Minor League season after spending 2019 as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Grambling State University.