Tigers start beefing up analytics department

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — Last month, new Tigers general manager Al Avila talked about pumping up the ballclub’s analytics department.

It appears the first hire has been made.

While Avila and the Tigers aren’t yet speaking publicly about the move, The News has learned Christopher D. Long will be joining Sam Menzin’s staff in Detroit.

It’s unclear if Long has been hired as a contractor or a full-time employee. Avila told The News early last month that Menzin, the Tigers’ 20-something new head of baseball operations, has been given the green light to hire a staff of two or three, and then use contractors as he sees fit.

Long, of Lexington, Kentucky, lists JMI Equity as his current employer on his LinkedIn profile.

Long’s sports background includes eight years as a senior quantitative analyst for the San Diego Padres, as well as previous consulting work with the Padres and the NBA’s Houston Rockets.

He teased on Twitter recently that he was about to join another MLB team.

Long holds degrees from Rutgers and The State University of New Jersey-New Brunswick.

The Tigers, in 14 years under former GM Dave Dombrowski, were considered one of the most old-school teams in baseball, preferring traditional scouting to sabermetrics.

Avila told The News traditional scouting will remain essential, but that a significant and rapid increase in the use of analytics is a major priority in his first year on the job.