Just one year ago, Matt Zmuda and Alex Tarandek were interns for the Wareham Gatemen in the baseball operations department. Now, they are working in the scouting department for the Detroit Tigers. Welcome to the show.
Zmuda interned one season for the Gatemen as a Baseball Operations/Player Development Intern, who focused on scouting. In this role, Zmuda wrote scouting reports on Gatemen players as well as other notable players in the Cape Cod League. He also worked extensively with BATS video software which helped him to breakdown players.
With the Tigers, Zmuda will be in a similar role. He will be working as an Amateur Scouting Video Intern which entails working with 17 different area scouts to capture and breakdown video of top high school and college prospects.
For Zmuda, working for the Detroit Tigers is a dream come true. “I am most looking forward to working for an organization that I have grown up cheering for since I was a little kid,” Zmuda said. “It is a dream come true being able to work for such a historic organization that I have always had such a strong connection to.”
Zmuda’s love for baseball and the Tigers has been strong ever since he was young. He grew up in Toledo, home of the Tigers’ Triple-A organization, the Mud Hens. On top of that, baseball was the favorite sport for both his mom and dad. He credits his grandfather and his mom for teaching him the skills of the game while his dad taught him to appreciate the history of it.
Having this strong baseball background and family support has been a huge part of Zmuda’s success. It helped him to become a four-year player at Denison University and post a 2.45 ERA his senior season. They have helped him to develop his baseball passion and his advanced knowledge of the game.
“My parents have been there for every step of this journey with support, love, assistance and advice. I would not be here in Lakeland with the Tigers without them,” Zmuda said.
Zmuda also heavily believes that he would not be where he is today without his internship last season in Wareham. Specifically, he is grateful for all that he learned from Andy Lang, Wareham’s GM.
“Andy Lang was extremely selfless with his time and effort in teaching me the tricks of the trade as it relates to scouting,” Zmuda said. “From the language, to the grading, to the report writing, Andy really allowed me to learn quickly while also being exposed to the best collegiate talent in the country.”
As for Tarandek, he took a very similar path to end up in the Tigers organization. Like Zmuda, Tarandek also spent last summer as a Baseball Operations/Player Development Intern for the Gatemen. Now, he too works as an Amateur Scouting Intern.
Tarandek, a USC graduate and a native of Burbank, CA, has always had a great appreciation for the game of baseball. It started when he was just 4 years old playing baseball video games with his father.
“From there, I started playing T-Ball and it just became part of my life. It was the connection of experiencing something with my dad,” Tarandek said.
After reading Michael Lewis’ “Moneyball” in middle school, Tarandek knew he wanted to pursue a career in baseball.
Years later, Tarandek finally achieved that dream and he has many people to thank including his parents and numerous bosses he worked for along the way.
“My parents have always been supportive of me and they've pushed me to test myself. My bosses at USC, Director of Operations Marty Butterick and Assistant Director of Operations Apoorv Gaur, gave me a chance to work in College Baseball and learn some of the technologies that Major League teams use,” Tarandek said. “Andy Lang, the Wareham GM, also took me under his wing and taught me a crash course in scouting while also giving me the opportunity of a lifetime.”
As an intern for Wareham, Tarandek was able to make the most of his opportunity. He was able to network with employees from all across Major League Baseball while also learning the ins and out of scouting.
His advice for future Cape League interns?
“You have to work long hard hours, but in the end, you're working in baseball. Enjoy yourself because you never know when you'll ever be able to see this much good baseball in one location for three months,” Tarandek said.
Both Tarandek and Zmuda have big responsibilities this season as the Tigers enter the June draft with the first overall pick. However, they are both committed to doing their part to help the Tigers get back to winning and are willing to do whatever it takes.
“I'm really looking forward to helping create the draft board and help the Tigers get back to their winning ways,” Tarandek said.
“2018 is an incredible year to be able to contribute to the success of the Tigers' organization as we prepare for the number one pick in this June's draft,” Zmuda said. “The scouting department will continue to play a critical role in the Tigers' success and I am honored to be a part of it.”