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Baltimore Orioles come calling for National Baseball Development Officer

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Baseball New Zealand’s lengthy list of players plying their trade overseas is constantly growing-and now the nation’s top coaches are beginning to receive the benefits of the rapidly expanding sport, too.

Auckland-based National Development Officer Dan Tan is now an official scout for Major League Baseball franchise, the Baltimore Orioles, after an initial contact was made by their Director of Pacific Baseball Operations Mike Snyder though Baseball New Zealand CEO Ryan Flynn.

"I am now contracted with the Baltimore Orioles as an Associate Scout," said Tan, adding, "This means that I pass on information about talented ball players we have in New Zealand, for potential international free agent signings."

The 27-year old has been a Development Officer with Baseball New Zealand for four years now and said he is hopeful this will lead to being involved in the game for a very long time. "Baseball is my life, so to be affiliated with a Major League franchise is an exciting step forward for me. It is also humbling to know that people are willing to trust my level of expertise in scouting and evaluating future potential.

"At this point in time, for our top ball players to further their careers, they have to go off shore to do so," said Tan, who is the head coach of New Zealand’s U18 National Team. "And while I still firmly believe that the college pathway is the best fit for the majority of our players, my position may help to give another option to our top athletes who potentially cannot afford the college pathway, or do not want to study towards a tertiary education."

The Orioles organization has a solid reputation of often times scouting for talent where others do not, and after signing former New Zealand infielder Pita Rona, leading Orioles executive Snyder said it was time to make a move in the country.

"Originally, Ryan Flynn recommended Dan to me last off-season and I think I had asked Ryan about particular players in New Zealand one too many times," said Snyder via email from his Baltimore headquarters, "And at various points I’d asked his input on potential players and employees in New Zealand, Australia, and all over Asia. Ryan put me in touch with Dan, and after spending some time with Dan, I was sold.

"Dan helps us identify talent, providing scouting evaluations, passing along video, and tracking the progress of top players and particularly important, though, is his insight on a player’s off-field habits, work ethic, and behavioral disposition," said Snyder, adding, "Any player we sign needs to have the athletic abilities to succeed in Major League Baseball - that much is apparent - but just as importantly, he needs to have the mental toughness to survive a difficult apprenticeship in a foreign country on his way through the minor leagues. With his playing and coaching background, Dan has a natural understanding about what it takes to succeed at the higher levels of baseball, and he has the integrity and the work ethic to represent the Baltimore Orioles well."

Snyder spent a few days in New Zealand in early 2016 and said that the country has "all the ingredients to be a competitive member of the international baseball landscape: athleticism, size, speed, grit… It’s vital for us to have boots on the ground in every country where baseball is played, and New Zealand is no exception," Snyder added. "I’m confident there are players in the making throughout the country -- we just need to catch them at an early age and help give them the opportunity to succeed."

Ryan Flynn is delighted that Tan has been chosen for this role. "This is a critically important development-one of our own, Dan Tan, aligned with one of the top baseball organisations in the world," Flynn said, adding that Tan will be a real asset for the Orioles while he’ll also be learning the ropes of professional scouting along the way.

"Baseball in Australia is a good model for us in this regard as many of their top baseball minds not only coach but also work as Asia-Pacific scouts for Major League Baseball teams," said Flynn. "These relationships help identify talent in the country early, as we have boots on the ground now, and pathways and relationships open up that will inevitably strengthen our baseball program in New Zealand."

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