Detroit Tigers: The most important offseason move

Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila watches spring training.
Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila watches spring training. /
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Detroit Tigers Player Development Option 4: Raid the Private Sector

Detroit Tigers
Cincinnati Reds minor-league pitching coordinator Kyle Boddy walks around the bullpen during spring practice. /

Over the last decade an increasingly large amount of player development has been taking place during the offseason, away from team facilities. And once again MLB teams have taken notice of the gains made by their players while working with private instructors. The Dodgers hired Robert Van Scoyoc as a hitting consultant in 2016, the Reds brought on Kyle Boddy as a pitching coordinator in 2019, and last year the Yankees brought in Eric Cressey to oversee their training staff.

Tigers fans may already be familiar with the name Doug Latta. He is credited with helping alter the swings of Marlon Byrd and Justin Turner, among others, and has worked with current Tigers players/prospects Derek Hill, Ryan Kreidler, and Jake Rogers. Maybe he isn’t interesting in joining an MLB team, but it couldn’t hurt to ask.

And that brings us back to Boddy. There’s not a bigger name in private baseball instruction than Driveline Baseball, which he founded in 2012. Scores of players and coaches have ventured to Washington to learn and improve, and teams like the Dodgers, Giants, and Phillies have hired Driveline trainers. That’s an impressive “coaching tree” for a baseball outsider who isn’t yet 40. Boddy was initially reluctant to join a pro team, but he took the plunge in 2019. Perhaps he’s ready for a bigger role?

Next. Robbie Grossman is having his best season. dark