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Royals hire Brian Bridges as scouting director

Bridges helped the Braves find their championship core.

Colorado Rockies Spring Training in Scottsdale Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The Royals have hired Brian Bridges to be their new director of scouting, according to Keith Law of The Athletic. Bridges was scouting director for the Atlanta Braves from 2015 to 2018, overseeing the department that found players like Austin Riley, Kyle Wright, Ian Anderson, and AJ Minter that would be part of the team that won a championship in 2021.

Bridges was featured prominently in a book written by ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel and Fangraph’s Eric Longehagen titled “Future Value: The Battle for Baseball’s Soul and How Teams Will Find the Next Superstar” as a former colleague of McDaniel’s. In the book, Bridges is portrayed as the conduit between old school scouting and analytics. McDaniel describes the 2016 draft room that Bridges oversaw, writing that for each player considered, a scout would go into detail on what he knew about the player. Bridges would then turn to McDaniel for the analytical profile, meshing the two worlds together.

“Too often, people are old school vs. analytics and we didn’t really have that issue. We had a unified front, scouting, analytics, medical, and psychological, everyone pulling in the same direction for the same thing.”

Bridges oversaw four drafts for the Braves and in addition to the players listed above, he selected players like Kolby Allard, Mike Soroka, Kyle Muller, Joey Wentz, Bryse Wilson, and Freddy Tarnok as well as current Royals Drew Waters and Tucker Davidson. However he was fired along with his mentor and longtime Braves scout Roy Clark in 2019 by general manager Alex Anthropolous. The Braves had failed to sign their first round pick in 2018, high school pitcher Carter Stewart, and some have speculated that was a factor.

Since being dismissed by the Braves, Bridges has served as a national crosschecker for the Giants. Bridges played collegiately at Florida Southern College and began his career as a scout with the Angels and Marlins before joining the Braves in 2007 and rising through the organization.

The current Royals director of scouting is Danny Ontiveros, who has overseen the last two drafts. The team has been criticized for their failure to develop starting pitching, and this year’s pick of Blake Mitchell was criticized by many observers for selecting a high school catcher so early in the draft when they have the shakiest track record of any position.

1:36 p.m. update: The Royals have promoted Ontiveros to Vice President of Scouting and he will continue to help with the draft. Goldberg will also remain in the organization, according to Anne Rogers.