Cubs Announce Changes to Player Development Infrastructure, Name New Directors of Pitching and Hitting

Theo Epstein talked in his end-of-season press conference about reworking the organization’s development infrastructure, a process that began when Jason McLeod was shifted to the major league side of the organization. The Cubs announced specific changes and the addition of some new roles Thursday, including new directions of pitching and hitting.

Per the club’s press release, Matt Dorey has been named Senior Director, Player Development. He spent the last six years as the club’s director of amateur scouting after joining the Cubs in 2012 as a national crosschecker. Bobby Basham, who most recently served as Director of Special Projects/Assistant Director of Player Development, has been named Director of Player Development.

In a move similar to what they made with McLeod, the Cubs named Jaron Madison Special Assistant to the President/General Manager. Madison had spent the last eight seasons with the Cubs as director of amateur scouting, but now will be in more of a player evaluation role with emphasis on professional, amateur, and international scouting.

Craig Breslow, dubbed the “Smartest Man in Baseball,” has been named Director of Pitching/Special Assistant to the President and General Manager. A 2002 Yale graduate with a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, Breslow joined the Cubs in January as Director of Strategic Initiatives for Baseball Operations. The 12-year MLB vet’s new role will have him overseeing strategic management of the club’s minor league pitching infrastructure.

On the other side of the ball is Justin Stone, who was named Director of Hitting. Stone has 20 years of coaching and teaching experience and has served as a biokinematic hitting consultant for the Cubs since 2018. He is the founder of Elite Baseball Training in Chicago, a technology-infused baseball and softball instructional company that provides hitting instruction by merging and embracing baseball and technology.

Finally, Jeremy Farrell has been named Assistant Director of Baseball Development, which has him working across all areas of player development to maintain the club’s organizational philosophy with respect to fundamentals and competitive standards. This is his fourth season in the organization overall after serving one season as minor league infield coordinator and two as a minor league hitting coach.

This isn’t it for the new roles, either. The last line of the release promised that “The Cubs will announce further player development hirings and a new scouting leadership structure at a later date.”

Perhaps notable in that regard is Gabe Kapler’s interview this week, which was thought to be merely a courtesy. The former outfielder served as the Dodgers’ Director of Player Development prior to a stint as the Phillies manager, so the Cubs might be eyeing him for a similar role if he doesn’t catch on with another team as skipper.

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