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Post-Gazette Confirms Neal Huntington Will be GM

The Post-Gazette confirms what John Perrotto reported a few hours ago: Cleveland advance scout and special assistant to the GM Neal Huntington will be the Pirates' new general manager.

The Pirates will name Neal Huntington, currently an advance scout with the Cleveland Indians, their new general manager, probably on Tuesday.

"He's going to get the job," an industry source said yesterday.

This has totally taken me by surprise. Vlad has some details two posts below this one. Huntington has a degree from Amherst and a background in player development and scouting, which is good. It's unclear to me why he used to be the assistant GM in Cleveland and now appears to be a couple rungs below that, but maybe that doesn't mean anything anyway. I'm guessing that new team president Frank Coonelly will be closely involved with transactions at the major league level, with Huntington specializing in drafting and development.

Huntington isn't just a scouting guy, though - he worked in a stats-obsessed front office and even did some number-crunching of his own:

Most scouts believe a player's ability to hit home runs doesn't develop until he reaches the major leagues. To try to determine if this is statistically true, Antonetti and assistant general manager Neal Huntington researched and analyzed home run numbers in DiamondView.

They found that generally power does come later in a player's career. More importantly, they identified what they believe are good early indicators that a player will become an effective home run hitter.

It looks like Huntington will strike a balance between traditional and analytical approaches. Information on him is pretty slim pickings, though, and I'd never seen him mentioned as a top GM candidate before today. It wouldn't surprise me if Coonelly decided he really liked what the Indians were doing and contacted assistant GM Chris Antonetti, and when that didn't work, asked Antonetti who he recommended. That's pure speculation on my part, but it wouldn't surprise me if Coonelly looked for a model for success in Pittsburgh, found one in Cleveland, and looked for the person most involved with building it.

Time will tell whether Huntington has what it takes to lead the Pirates, but I don't see much to dislike so far.