Phillies poach Padres up-and-comer Preston Mattingly to head up player development

A Philadelphia Phillies batting helmet (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
A Philadelphia Phillies batting helmet (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Phillies are reportedly hiring Preston Mattingly as their new Farm Director

Hours after news broke that the Philadephia Phillies were looking at a New York Yankees player-turned-development man to head their farm system, media members are singing a different tune. Sources now tell The Athletic that it will be Preston Mattingly, not David Adams.

Mattingly is currently the San Diego Padres’ coordinator of major-league advance scouting and game planning.

He’s also the son of Miami Marlins manager, Don Mattingly.

In an ironic twist, Preston Mattingly’s baseball career began, ended, and began again with the minor leagues. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first round of the 2006 June amateur draft and traded to Cleveland days after his father was announced as LA’s new manager.

After six seasons in which he never ascended past High-A, Mattingly was granted free agency in November 2011. He was signed by the Yankees in January 2012, but released two months later. After retiring from professional baseball, Mattingly went to college and played Division I basketball for three years at Lamar University. Now, he’s back in baseball.

The Padres have one of the best farm systems in MLB. Can Preston Mattingly transform the Phillies’ minor leagues?

Mattingly will leave an organization with an excellent farm system to hopefully turn the Phillies into one. Ahead of the 2021 season, ranked the Phillies 19th overall, while the Padres were sixth, and had been second in 2020. San Diego has four prospects in the Top-100, including CJ Abrams, who is sixth overall, while the Phillies have two, Mick Abel (65), and Bryson Stott (99).

The Phillies have struggled immensely when it comes to developing prospects. They have had numerous top draft picks over the last decade, including first-overall pick Mickey Moniak in 2016, and most of their prospects have not materialized as big leaguers. Many have either been mired in the minors for years, like Moniak, or been returned there, like Scott Kingery and Alec Bohm. If the Phillies want to finally complete a rebuild, starting from the ground up in the farm system is essential.

When it comes to scouting and evaluating, Mattingly said in 2019 that it’s important to embrace sabermetrics, but also go with his gut, or as he puts it, being “old school.”

"“Sabermetrics is a big part of the game today, but all it is, is numbers. A lot of times it’s facts. You blend that with eyes and scouts and you use them both.”"

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While Mattingly’s surname obviously carries some weight, it seems that he has worked hard to make it on his own. He does not work with his father, and will now work with his father’s division rivals, instead.

An interesting footnote is that the elder Mattingly and Phillies manager Joe Girardi have crossed paths a few times in their careers, and even worked together. Both played on the Yankees (at different times), Girardi managed the Marlins years ago, and they briefly coached together on the Yankees. In 2007, they each interviewed to replace Joe Torre as Yankees manager.

So what should you know about Preston Mattingly? His father says he’s “Super competitive” and “hard on himself.”

Hopefully, he can bring that energy to the Phillies.

Update: The Phillies officially announce the hiring of Preston Mattingly as new Director of Player Development

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