Jason Parks, John Baker Promoted as Cubs Announce Baseball Ops Personnel Changes
In a series of moves roughly three months in the making, the Cubs have announced a shuffling of their baseball ops positions. The changes were necessitated by the departure of director of pro scouting Jared Porter, who left to become senior vice president and assistant general manager with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The full list of promotions and hirings is below, but I wanted to highlight a couple of the moves in particular.
Jason Parks, a Baseball Prospectus alum and beloved Twitter follow whose hiring by the Cubs caused quite a stir and spurred one of our most popular posts ever, is now Special Assistant to the President and General Manager. I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Professor Parks, but he seems like a good dude and is universally revered by people whose opinions I respect.
From one cult favorite to another, we see that former backup catcher and extra-innings hero John Baker has been promoted to Mental Skills Coordinator, a position currently held by Darnell McDonald. But wait, what does that mean for McDonald? Mark Gonzales doesn’t address that specifically in his piece on the moves, but he wrote that Baker’s role is “a coordinator in the mental skills department.” [emphasis mine]
I’m assuming this means that Baker isn’t replacing McDonald, but that the two will work in tandem. Manbearwolf himself seems to back that up:
all good things is what it means.
— John Baker (@manbearwolf) February 10, 2017
The focus on mental skills has been an underrated part of the Cubs’ rebuild, but it’s something that I think we’ll be hearing more about in the future. Whether it’s a matter of using neuroscience to determine which players to draft or helping prospects and current players alike to develop the psychological side of their game, this is a major — and still growing — aspect of the organization’s philosophy.
If you’d like to check out the rest of the minutia, here’s the press release in its entirety:
The Chicago Cubs today announced a series of promotions and hirings within the baseball operations department.
Kyle Evans has been promoted to Director of Pro Scouting/Special Assistant to the President and General Manager. Evans enters his sixth season with the Cubs organization and has held a variety of roles with the club, most recently serving as Special Assistant to the President & General Manager/Director of Major League Scouting. He fills the role previously held by Jared Porter, who departed the organization shortly after last season for an opportunity with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Alex Suarez has been promoted to Director of International Pro Scouting; Assistant Director of Player Development and International Amateur Scouting. He joined the Cubs in 2008 and was previously Assistant Director, Player Development and International Scouting.
Jason Parks has been promoted to Special Assistant to the President and General Manager. Parks joined the Cubs in 2014 from Baseball Prospectus and most recently served as a professional and amateur scout.
The following additional promotions and hirings have occurred within the club’s baseball operations department:
– Andrew Bassett, promoted to Assistant Director, Pro Scouting
– Min Sung, promoted to Supervisor, Pacific Rim Scouting/Special Assignment Professional Scout
– Jason Cooper, promoted to Special Assignment Scout
– Jake Ciarrachi, promoted to MLB Scout
– Joe Nelson, hired as MLB Scout
– Nic Jackson, hired as Pro Scout
– Shane Farrell, promoted to Upper Midwest Area Scout
– Ella Cahill, promoted to Amateur Scouting Assistant
– John Baker, promoted to Coordinator, Mental Skills
– Greg Davey, promoted to Coordinator, Baseball Operations
– Albert Lyu, promoted to Developer, Research and Development
– Garrett Chiado, promoted to Assistant, Research and Development
– Jacob Eisenberg, hired as Assistant, Research and Development
– John Pedrotty, hired as Trainee, Baseball Operations