In the Majors
Right after his junior year, Jeremy Zoll ’12 landed a summer internship in the front office of a major league baseball team, and it’s been a meteoric rise ever since. Today he’s director of minor league operations for the Minnesota Twins.
Growing up in Ridgewood, N.J., Jeremy Zoll ’12 played baseball throughout his youth; his father was a partial season ticket holder for the New York Yankees. But Zoll never dreamed he’d end up working for a Major League Baseball team. Yet here he is, just six years removed from his Haverford graduation—he majored in East Asian studies and minored in economics—with an absolute dream job for any diehard baseball fan: director of minor league operations for the Minnesota Twins.
“I’m really excited for this next step,” says Zoll, who was named to the position in October. A catcher on the Haverford team, in his junior year he decided it would be intriguing to work in the baseball world and consulted with coach Dave Beccaria about connecting with former Haverford alumni involved in the majors. With some help from Eric Lee ’04, now a director of baseball operations with the Cincinnati Reds, Zoll eventually landed a summer internship with the team, followed by another job with a Toronto Blue Jays minor league team in Vancouver. After graduation, he got another internship with the Los Angeles Angels, who eventually hired him as a coordinator of advance scouting. Following that, he was an assistant director of player development with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
At just 27 years old, Zoll has seemingly had a lifetime’s worth of baseball experience. The internships, he explains, exposed him to the inner workings of a major league front office. He also had an important role for Reds players and coaches: He was asked to “chart” opposing players. “We would sit there and watch a bunch of recent games of upcoming opponents and [note] pitches—like a curveball in a certain location—and hits,” he explains. “That information would be put into a database.” (That practice is now antiquated thanks to innovations that show pitcher and position-player statistics at the touch of a button.) Zoll got to see how players and staff members digested and interacted with those statistics. With the Angels, he filled a variety of roles, from traveling with the team to helping coaches determine midgame when to challenge a play on the field so that umpires would review it via instant replay. “I kind of got thrown into the fire,” he says. “It was a little bit sink or swim, but it was super valuable for my career going forward.”
It was with the Dodgers that he honed the skill set he would bring with him to Minnesota. As assistant director of player development, he was focused on the future, including designing developmental player plans with goals for young prospects in the minor league system and testing new technology such as bat sensors that can pick up vital information about a player’s swing. Although he’s tasked with spreading the franchise’s overall philosophy throughout the Twins’ minor league organizations, Zoll says he also works to get input from coaches and staff members in the farm system and bring it up with Minnesota’s front office.
It might sound daunting on paper, especially for someone as young as Zoll, but he doesn’t sound fazed at all. At the end of the day, he says, he can’t imagine anything cooler than working baseball. “A lot of times, as hard as you work,” he says, “it doesn’t feel like work.”