The Pirates have made several changes to their scouting department this off-season, with a lot of the moves coming as a result of the trickle down impact of losing Jim Benedict and Marc DelPiano to the Miami Marlins.
Benedict and DelPiano both held the roles of Special Assistant to the General Manager. Back in November, the Pirates announced that Ron Hopkins and Matt Ruebel were promoted to the roles, which filled the vacancies (although technically the team can have as many or as few Special Assistants as they want).
Hopkins was previously a pro scout, which left a vacancy there. The Pirates also no longer have Gary Robinson in the pro scouting department, and it doesn’t look like he’s still in the organization. Ruebel was previously a National Crosschecker on the amateur scouting side. It doesn’t appear that he was replaced, as the Pirates went from having three national guys to having two of them.
To fill the pro scouting vacancies, the Pirates promoted Everett Russell and Rodney Henderson to the pro scouting side. Both were regional crosscheckers on the amateur side, with Russell covering the Midwest, and Henderson covering the Southeast.
These are the moves we already knew about. But the trickle down impact changed a lot of other roles on the amateur scouting side, which were just revealed in the latest version of the Pirates’ media guide.
The biggest move is that Trevor Haley has been promoted from an area scout to the Midwest Region Supervisor, replacing Everett Russell. When I did a breakdown of the amateur scouting department, Haley was by far the highest rated guy. He had seven players in this year’s top 50 prospects when you include Trey Supak (who was part of the list before being traded this off-season).
Sean Heffernan was promoted to the Southeast Supervisor role, replacing Rodney Henderson. Heffernan has been a scout in the organization for the last four years, scouting the Carolinas in 2015. His biggest prospects in the system right now are Jacob Stallings and James Marvel.
Haley scouted Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Western PA, and Eastern Canada. His replacement is Adam Bourassa, who the Pirates hired this off-season. Bourassa was an area scout with the Padres from 2008-2012, before joining the Cincinnati Bearcats as their assistant coach and hitting coach. His biggest signing was Rico Noel, who bounced around as a minor league free agent last year, and made his MLB debut with the Yankees.
Heffernan’s two states were split up among the other scouts. Jerry Jordan dropped the state of Georgia and added North Carolina. Jordan also scouts the state of Tennessee. Jordan has been with the organization since 2011, and is responsible for Austin Meadows. He also drafted Alex Dickerson, and drafted former Pirates’ closer Mike Williams back when he was a scout with the Phillies in the 90s.
Heffernan also scouted South Carolina, and that went to new scout Tim Osborne, who also picked up Georgia from Jerry Jordan. Osborne is a long time scout who previously worked for the Major League Scouting Bureau for over 30 years.
The other addition to the area scouts was Wayne Mathis, who was hired for Southern Louisiana and Southern Texas. Those areas were covered by Tyler Stohr last year, who left to take a job with the Rays. We reported on Mathis back in January.
On the pro scouting side, the Pirates added Sean McNally. He was the head coach at Duke for several years, but resigned in 2012. The addition of McNally means the pro scouting group has grown by one person, which makes sense, as Benedict and DelPiano also helped in that area. The amateur scouting group has the same amount right now on the area side, and one less crosschecker, although it’s possible that Matt Ruebel could still help in this area.
The Pirates also added Mike Mangan as their assistant director of amateur scouting, which further boosts the eyes in that department. Mangan was previously with the Blue Jays for 17 years, spending 14 years as a National Crosschecker on the amateur side, and two seasons as a pro scout. This was reported back in November.
The final move to report is recent, with the Pirates hiring James Harris as a Special Assistant to Baseball Operations. Harris is actually changing sports, as he previously worked in football for the Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, and the University of Oregon.