Billy Gasparino might not be the only Josh Byrnes connection to join the Dodgers. Padres special assignment scout Jeff Pickler is also rumored to be joining the Dodgers staff, per both Mark Saxon of ESPN and Corey Brock of MLB.com, though Pickler's role is unknown.
Pickler, 38, was drafted by the Brewers in the 11th round in 1999 out of Tennessee. He played parts of eight minor league seasons, mostly at second base with some left field mixed in, as well as scattered games all over. Pickler hit .299/.370/.374 in 904 minor league games, including 491 games in Triple-A in the Brewers, Rangers and Rockies systems.
Among Pickler's minor league stops were Ogden, Tulsa and Oklahoma City, all currently Dodgers affiliates.
After retiring as a player, Pickler worked with Byrnes as an advance scout and special assistant for the Diamondbacks in 2006-2008. After one season as an assistant coach at the University of Arizona in 2009, Pickler joined the Padres scouting department as a pro scout in 2010, one season before Byrnes joined him in San Diego.
In his year with the Wildcats, Pickler implemented major league technology using the BATS software used in MLB to help Arizona study film, per Ryan Finley of the Arizona Daily Star:
How does film study help players improve?
The thing about statistics — and this includes BATS — is that is allows you to explain the 'how' and 'why,' as opposed to just the 'what'. We can all see the 'what' — we can see a guy's 3 for his last 14, that he might as well not be in the lineup tomorrow. The 'how' and 'why' is a little more complicated; that's what the data and video is able to show us. … We can figure out the how and why, and maybe fix things a lot sooner. If we want to watch Player B take swings on fastballs when he's ahead in the count, with the ball on the outer-third, with runners in scoring position, we can watch those swings in a matter of two seconds. Those 15, 20 clips pop right up.
How did you get into the video analysis? Did you watch a lot of film when you were playing?
Actually, not at all. I was raised a baseball-rat grinder. I was introduced to most of the technology stuff in my two years with the Diamondbacks. Josh Byrnes, the Diamondbacks general manager, was one of the pioneers when it came to using video for advanced scouting. I learned lot of that stuff from him.
Pickler is a native of Garden Grove and played baseball at Foothill baseball in Santa Ana.