KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' front office continued its reshuffling on Tuesday as the organization promoted scouting director Lonnie Goldberg to vice president-player personnel and named Danny Ontiveros as the club's new scouting director.
Goldberg’s new role was previously held by J.J. Picollo, who was promoted to general manager earlier this month when Dayton Moore became president of baseball operations.
Ontiveros was previously the assistant scouting director, Goldberg’s right-hand man for the past five seasons.
“This will be interesting and new,” Goldberg told MLB.com. “I’ve never been without Draft responsibilities. We always had J.J. running the farm department and always had an open line of communication. With his responsibilities changing, hopefully I’ll be able to assist with knowing the players of the Draft and comparing them with guys in our system.”
Goldberg, who has run the Royals’ Draft for the past 10 years, will have a host of responsibilities, but primarily he will oversee player development -- filled with plenty of the players he has selected in prior Drafts, including top prospect Bobby Witt Jr., Asa Lacy (No. 2 on the club's Top 30 Prospects list, according to MLB Pipeline), Nick Pratto (No. 3), MJ Melendez (No. 4), and the two top prep pitchers selected in this year's Draft, Frank Mozzicato (No. 8) and Ben Kudrna (No. 9).
Along with evaluating and developing the farm system, Goldberg will continue to help with scouting players ahead of the Draft as well as players from other Minor League systems.
Ontiveros, 52, joined the Royals 15 years ago as an area scout. From there, he climbed the ladder to West Coast supervisor and national cross checker before Goldberg promoted him to assistant scouting director ahead of the 2017 season. Throughout his career, Ontiveros learned how to manage an area, as well as people, and he's been able to compare players on a small scale, to a mid-range scale to across the country.
“The longer you do it, you start to have your own ideas of how you would shape a staff and how you would attack a Draft,” Ontiveros told MLB.com. “There are thoughts that drive you as an area scout. You eventually want to move up, but you want to pay your dues and learn your craft every step of the way. I’ve been fortunate to do that.”
Ontiveros has built strong relationships with the Royals’ scouts and cross checkers over his years with the organization, which will help him lead them through the Draft. He said he doesn’t foresee much changing with the Royals’ Draft style as he takes over for Goldberg, although their personalities and management styles are different.
“We’ve worked really well together,” Ontiveros said. “I think we’ve done some good things as a staff and together. I think the message, the philosophy and all those things are going to be the same. … I’m in a good spot in terms of trying to get in and adjust. But there will be things that I have to learn sitting in this seat that will take some time, and I’ll have to lean on people.”
Scouts and other officials praise Ontiveros for his evaluating and leadership skills, noting his ability to see all parts of the field when preparing for a Draft. Part of the reason the Royals are ready to tab Ontiveros for this position is because of his prior experience and work helping Goldberg over the years.
“He’s able to see things at a quicker pace sometimes than others,” Goldberg said. “When you’re in this role, you have a lot of things on your plate. One of the biggest things you have to do, because you have a large staff of people and a lot of information coming in, you got to decipher the right information.
“When you have somebody that can decipher it early before you and then give you the right information to be able to make decisions, that’s what Danny has been able to do to really help me. I think he’s going to be phenomenal at it.”
Hernández moved out of rotation
Carlos Hernández won’t make another start this season because of his workload, manager Mike Matheny said on Tuesday, although the right-hander could be available out of the bullpen during the final week of the regular season. The Royals have been cautious with all of their arms this season, coming off a 60-game pandemic-shortened slate in 2020.
Hernández, who hadn’t pitched above A-ball before last season, posted a 3.68 ERA in 85 2/3 innings across 24 games (11 starts) this season. The 24-year-old hadn’t previously pitched more than 79 1/3 innings in his professional career. After posting a 3.23 ERA in the second half, he’s going to be a key piece of the Royals’ pitching staff in 2022.
“It’s been impressive what he’s done on the mound,” Matheny said. “We’re watching him grow up. … He feels great. That’s where we want all these guys -- leaving this season hungry and excited about where they can go from here.”