Tigers promote Ryan Garko and Georgia Giblin

Bless You Boys

The Tigers announced on Thursday afternoon that Vice-President of Player Development, Ryan Garko, has received a promotion. Just over a year and a half into his tenure, the club has promoted Garko to Vice-President, Assistant General Manager.

The decision is likely both a reward for a job well done, and also to ensure that Garko isn’t poached by another organization. Teams can block other teams from speaking to an executive about a lateral move, but not a promotion. So in order to hire Garko away from the Tigers, a team would presumably have to offer him either a full General Manager or a President title in order to even interview him.

When Garko was hired in September 2021 after the lengthy and disastrous tenure of his predecessor, the state of the Tigers farm system was extremely bleak. Al Avila’s attempts to modernize the facilities and build analytics and sports science departments had been underway for a few years, but player development was a complete backwater that had been neglected despite the purported rebuild with young talent they were trying to achieve.

Garko has overseen an extensive program to bring more innovative practices to the farm system with greater transparency toward the Tigers farm hands. Some of this involved going out and hiring talented coaches from top teams like the addition of director of pitching, Gabe Ribas, formerly of the Dodgers. The Tigers also invested heavily in technology both in terms of training aids, data capture, strength and conditioning facilities and personnel. Perhaps the most obvious change with Garko is the vastly improved organization, communication, and coordination between all parts of the development system.

Successes like the development of Kerry Carpenter, Jace Jung, Wenceel Perez, Parker Meadows, and Justice Bigbie, along with pitchers like Jackson Jobe, Ty Madden, Keider Montero, and many more have made it clear that the Tigers are in a far better place in Garko’s hands.

The Tigers now have four executives with the title Vice-President, Assistant General Manager. Sam Menzin and Jay Sartori have been in the organization the longest, while Garko was hired in 2021, and Rob Metzler hired by Harris in 2022 to run the scouting department.

Here’s an interview with Garko from the offseason.

Georgia Giblin promoted to VP

Another promotion announced on Thursday was the promotion of Dr. Georgia Giblin to Vice-President, Baseball Performance Science. Hired in September of 2019 to develop a performance science department from scratch, Giblin’s department and influence throughout the organization has grown over the past five years.

The Geeland, Australia (near Melbourne) product never specifically intended to work in baseball, but she always intended to work in sports. She received her doctorate in biomechanics from Victoria University, and happened to do post-doctorate work at the University of Michigan just as the Tigers were reaching out to the school in an effort to develop a sports science partnership.

Finally, Andrew Thomas was hired as Vice-President, Baseball Analytics on Thursday. The work developing an analytics department was begun by VP and assistant general manager Jay Sartori, who was hired by Al Avila as senior director of baseball operations and analytics back in 2015. That program has expanded significantly over the intervening eight and a half years.

Thomas was most recently the senior director for data science at SportsMEDIA Technology Corp. He has consulted for several major league teams and was also a lead researcher for the Minnesota Wild from 2016-2019.

Presumably, General Manager Jeff Greenberg, hired back in October after working to develop an analytics department for the Chicago Blackhawks, approves that background. Greenberg worked with President of Baseball Ops, Scott Harris, with the Chicago Cubs, before taking the detour into hockey back in 2022, so he too is versed in all the different applications of data in sports.

Here is Scott Harris’ statement on the moves.

“Creating a culture of development in which players at all levels can grow and improve is one of our foundational goals,” said Scott Harris, Detroit Tigers President of Baseball Operations. “The work of Gark and Georgia, along with many others, over the past few years helped make that culture of development a reality. These well-deserved promotions will amplify their voices and influence, helping players throughout our organization get the most out of their abilities. We also welcome Andrew, who comes to us with impressive technical skills, experience teaching at multiple academic institutions, and a terrific reputation within the sports industry. I’m confident he will be a great thought partner and leader for our talented analytics group.”

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