Tigers part ways with amateur scouting director (source)

Detroit Tigers

DETROIT — The Scott Harris administration with the Tigers will include a new man in charge of their Draft efforts. The team has parted ways with amateur scouting director Scott Pleis, sources told MLB.com.

The Tigers have not announced the move, which was first reported by the Detroit Free Press.

Pleis had been in the organization since 2007 and served as scouting director since ’10 under general managers Dave Dombrowski and Al Avila. Pleis was the point man for the Tigers’ work on the MLB Draft as Detroit aimed to rebuild its roster around homegrown talent. The Tigers had top-five picks in four consecutive Drafts from ’18 through ’21, and rose to a top-five farm system at its peak according to MLB Pipeline organizational rankings. First baseman Spencer Torkelson and outfielder Riley Greene, both first-round picks under Pleis, became No. 1 overall prospects, while Casey Mize reached the top 10 of MLB Pipeline’s overall rankings.

Nineteen of the 53 players Detroit used this year were either drafted or signed as non-drafted free agents by Pleis and developed through the Tigers’ system, including nine of Detroit’s record-tying 17 starting pitchers. Beyond top prospects, the Tigers received eye-opening contributions from rookies Beau Brieske (a 27th-round pick in 2019), Kerry Carpenter (a 19th-round pick in 2018), Garrett Hill (a 26th-rounder in 2018) and Jason Foley (undrafted signing in 2016).

While Pleis’ drafts have provided a much-needed pipeline of talent to Detroit, the youth movement has yet to translate into a team turnaround. The Tigers finished 66-96 this season, an 11-win drop from 2021. Detroit’s high picks have yet to translate into star-level impact players, though Torkelson and Greene — the fifth overall pick in the ’19 Draft — could grow into that, as could current prospects such as ’21 first-round pick Jackson Jobe and ’18 second-rounder Parker Meadows. Detroit’s lone homegrown All-Stars in recent years have been relievers Joe Jiménez, a non-drafted free agent in ’13, and Gregory Soto, an international signing out of the Dominican Republic in ’12. Former Tigers picks Nick Castellanos and James McCann became All-Stars with other clubs.

Once the Tigers hired Harris as president of baseball operations last month, amateur scouting was one of the first departments to be examined. Harris mentioned acquiring, developing and retaining young talent among his core values during his introductory press conference. Harris spent the past few weeks since that introduction reviewing the Tigers’ front office and various departments before taking over baseball operations on Thursday.

More moves are expected in the coming days. Still to be determined is the future of assistant general manager David Chadd, who was long involved in Tigers’ amateur scouting and player development before becoming Avila’s top assistant. Chadd turned his focus back to player development this past season, and could find a role there or in scouting.

Harris and manager A.J. Hinch are set to meet next week to discuss the Tigers’ medical and training departments, among other matters. Detroit’s pro scouting department is also awaiting decisions; scouts’ contracts often run through the end of October, making this a stressful time for many evaluators as they weigh their futures in a difficult profession. Harris is also searching for a general manager to work under him and lead the organization’s day-to-day operations.

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