DENVER – Rockies Assistant General Manager Zack Rosenthal is looking forward to new ideas.
The Rockies’ research and development department lost staff during the pandemic and was understaffed during a resulting hiring freeze in 2021. But Rosenthal this week revealed a remodeled staff full of ideas from other organizations and other disciplines. The staff in research and development is back to the previous level, with gradual expansion in the factories.
“You want to talk about bringing in different perspectives, just different perspectives – in my opinion we urgently needed that,” says Rosenthal, whose time at the Rockies began in 2006 with an internship. That’s just as excited as I was [the] Front office for a long time. “
The Rockies have also undertaken other baseball operations, scouting and player development advancement and recruitment as part of a redesign that began in late April when Bill Schmidt took over as general manager after the departure of former GM Jeff Bridich.
The transformation began in September when Scott Van Lenten was hired as R&D director. Van Lenten, who has been with the Nationals since 2017 and won 19 World Series titles, has made the move to Denver.
Here is the newly designed research and development department:
• Brittany Haby, Manager, Baseball Research
Haby has worked with the Rockies for the past four seasons as part of the MLB Diversity Fellowship Program. After all the departures in the past season, Haby has taken on many tasks at home and on the go, from advising coaches on defensive positioning to researching special tasks for pitching coaches.
One of the tasks of Haby is the advance scouting. She will work with longtime associates Chris Warren, a traveling pre-scout, and Joe Little and Brian Jones, who will share the responsibilities of video coordinator and pre-scouting. Statistical analysts will also report to Haby and she will provide information to Manager Bud Black and the coaches.
“Advanced scouting is a passion of mine and we work very well together,” says Rosenthal. “She’s going to make a huge difference.”
• Isaac Gerhart-Hines, full stack web developer
Gerhart-Hines had worked with Van Lenten at the Nationals, but he had left the club and was considering other business deals.
“But then he turned to Scott and said, ‘If you head the department, I want in,'” said Rosenthal. “The reviews and calls we’ve received from the Nationals are off the charts.”
Gerhart-Hines is working on the user-oriented system.
• Taehwa Hong, data engineer
The native South Korean had compulsory military service and worked in computer technology and development for the South Korean government, but had other dreams.
“He grew up watching baseball, loved the game of baseball, but his family didn’t love baseball and didn’t know much about it,” said Rosenthal. “He moved to the United States five years ago with the sole aim of getting a job in Major League Baseball. I’ve never spoken to someone who was so excited about getting a job. “
Hong helped on the ground floor of the Prep Baseball Report, which covers the baseball world. Hong brought and verified augmented data – the same chores he’ll be doing with the Rockies.
• Ryan Kelley, data architect
Kelley spent six seasons with the Rays, highly regarded for the integration of analytics with the field product, and was looking for a new challenge.
“Taehwa brings all the data in, and Ryan takes it from there, making sure it goes into the correct tables to put in the website that Isaac is building. So the process consists of three steps, ”said Rosenthal.
• Ethan Moore, Analyst, Baseball R&D
Moore has been with the twins for the past couple of seasons, but this is a homecoming. Moore attended Broomfield (Colo.) High School and Holy Family High in Broomfield before going to Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo.
“He’s a lifelong Rockies fan and will do projects for us,” said Rosenthal. “He’s just a really smart guy, good at computers, good at numbers and a whole range of things, and he has some experience from a really smart front office.”
• Al Gilbert, director, baseball operations
Gilbert, the former Dodgers’ contract and finance coordinator, replaced Domenic Di Ricco, who left for an opportunity outside of baseball.
After receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford, Gilbert earned a PhD from Harvard Law School and worked in a private practice before becoming assistant district attorney for the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. But after 11 months, he joined the MLB Diversity Fellowship program in its inaugural 2019 season, and from there ended up the full-time position with the Dodgers.
“He was excited because [it offered] many more opportunities to influence the club, ”said Rosenthal. “We heard great things about him. I’ve interviewed a lot of people and he was the best. “
• Julianna Rubin, baseball operations staff member
Rubin was a former soccer star at Baldwin Wallace University, earned a law degree from the University of Miami, and was promoted to Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs at Steinberg Sports – an agency owned by famous agent Leigh Steinberg.
“She loves baseball,” said Rosenthal. “I got a call from her before she went to law school because someone recommended that she speak to me about her interests. I’ve spoken to her repeatedly over the past four years and I’m really excited about her potential. “
Rubin will deal with roster, contract and pay arbitration proceedings.
Here are also scouting and player development steps:
• Sterling Monfort, Director of Pro Scouting
Sterling Monfort, son of Rockies owner Dick Monfort and brother of Vice President of Corporate Partnerships Walker Monfort, has worked in scouting since 2014 and served as assistant director of scouting operations since ’18.
Monfort takes on the role necessary to compile information from the club’s professional scouts researching trades and freedom of action. He will be part of a decision-making team that includes Schmidt; Danny Montgomery, vice president and assistant director general, scouting; Ty Coslow, Special Assistant – Player Staff; and longtime professional scouts.
“Sterling is more than qualified for the position – he has become a very good appraiser and is ready for the challenge of leading the department,” said Schmidt. “And we have a lot of experienced scouts so it’s a perfect situation for Sterling.”
• Emily Glass, Scouting Operations Administrator
Glass had served as the marlin education program coordinator from 2018 until the team left the position after the ’21 season. Glass always wanted to be a boy scout and was trained in a scout school.
Rosenthal was familiar with Glass’s educational work since his brother Joshua had served in a similar position with the Rockies.
“We received extremely high recommendations from everyone at their scout school,” said Rosenthal. “She actually drove across the country, and we found out she was going across Denver. We interviewed her and she never left. “
Additionally, Colt Olson, who previously served as a part-time coordinator, has been promoted to full-time as part of a promised mental upgrade. Doug Chadwick, Director of Mental Skills Development, will be mostly busy with the Major League roster, while Jerry Amador and Olson will work with players across the system.
Since taking over the GM job, Schmidt has been campaigning for more resources for mental abilities. He said further expansion is planned.