D-backs put Fitzgerald in charge of analytics

PHOENIX -- The D-backs have hired Mike Fitzgerald to lead their analytics department as the organization looks to expand its footprint in that area.

The 28-year-old Fitzgerald comes over from the Pirates, with whom he spent the past five seasons as a quantitative analyst in the baseball operations department. His title for the D-backs will be director of research and development.

"We feel very strongly he's the right leader to help drive our research and development," D-backs general manager Mike Hazen said. "He has a lot of experience with a very good franchise doing a lot of things with the Major League operations both in the acquisition and the on-field focus."

While with the Pirates, Fitzgerald helped work with the coaching staff on defensive positioning, batting order optimization and identifying favorable matchups.

Under general manager Neal Huntington, the Pirates have become one of baseball's most advanced franchises in terms of utilizing analytics.

"The Pirates are one of the model franchises," Hazen said. "I think Neal Huntington is one of the best GMs in baseball and how they operate is enviable."

Fitzgerald graduated in 2011 from MIT, where he was the captain of the football team.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.