Dan Hubbs jumped into pro baseball as the Tigers’ new director of pitching development after two decades in college coaching because he saw the philosophies from the college game working their way into the pros, from analytics to development.
“Before, it was two diametrically opposite games,” Hubbs said during an interview in February. “The knock on college was that they're always trying to reinvent the wheel. And now pro ball is becoming that, where now it's more progressive. It's more [about] what can we do to make every single guy better. That appealed to me.”
He also saw an opportunity to develop young pitchers and shape an organization.
“You have a chance to make an impact,” Hubbs said. “You see what they're doing with the rebuild and the kids that they've been drafting, and you see the excitement of what's on the verge. I wanted to be [in] a place that I felt like I could be part of something on the ground floor.”
If the Tigers needed any insight on a hitter who could jump-start their rebuild from a former opposing manager, Hubbs could help with that, too.
Before Hubbs joined the Tigers last fall, he was the head coach at USC, where he spent his final two seasons getting an up close look at Arizona State slugger Spencer Torkelson, projected by many to go to the Tigers with the top pick in the upcoming MLB Draft.
For two years, Hubbs and his staff tried to come up with game plans for how to get Torkelson out, how to prevent an emerging young slugger from finding that one swing to change a game.