It’s technically correct that Jeff Pickler, hired by the Twins as the newest member of Paul Molitor’s coaching staff, spent the past two seasons “in the Dodgers’ front office.” But try not to picture him walking the halls of Dodger Stadium wearing a business suit, because that’s not the job he had.
“Actually, Jeff wore so many hats. It’s like he had five different jobs,” Clayton McCullough, the Dodgers’ minor-league field coordinator, said Tuesday. “I don’t know how he kept it all straight.”
Pickler would spend spring training instructing infield prospects at the Dodgers’ minor-league complex in Arizona, a process that lasted into May for the least experienced. “He helped us get our system-wide infield program set up and implemented, and would be on the field every day doing drills,” McCullough said of Pickler, who was once SEC player of the year as a second baseman at Tennessee.
Once that task finished, the Dodgers assigned Pickler, who served a half-dozen seasons as a scout for the Diamondbacks and Padres, to travel the country and personally observe the top 50 or so hitting prospects for June’s draft, ranking potential draftees and double-checking scouting reports. “He had experience, so he was a voice [the Dodgers] wanted to hear,” said McCullough, who worked with Pickler since they both were hired in 2014.
After the draft, Pickler donned a uniform again to help the new prospects learn adapt to the routine and structure of professional baseball. And once players were assigned to their rookie-league teams, he undertook an entirely different task: Scouting potential trade targets, both major and minor league, for the upcoming trade deadlines. Then it was back to the diamond to help coach instructional league as the season wound down.
“Jeff just had so much going on,” McCullough said. “As baseball staffs continue to evolve, it’s really great to find somebody who can put on a uniform, break it down with players, use his knowledge and experience to break down swings. And then he loves mining the numbers, too, so he can dissect the stats that have become so prevalent and find ways to make them useful for the organization and the players.”
His role will be more focused in Minnesota, where he will be in the dugout of a major-league team every day, but the skills should serve him well, McCullough said. “[The Twins] are getting a good one. He’s a smart guy who is open to new ideas and can envision ways to apply them,” the Dodger official said. “He just has a great ability to adapt, mesh, and blend all that goes into developing players.”