While few fans know his name, the SF Giants would have looked radically different without former scouting director Matt Nerland. Nerland passed away this weekend at just 53.
Longtime SF Giants employee Matt Nerland has passed away at just 53 years old. The former scouting director for the organization was diagnosed with a liver condition this past June. He had worked for the Giants from 1989-2019.
Nerland graduated from San Francisco State in the late eighties and was hired as an intern in the Giants baseball operations department in 1989. He would soon climb the organization’s chain of command and become one of Brian Sabean’s most trusted scouts and advisors. In 1998, he became the team’s scouting director.
For the next eight years, Nerland oversaw draft selections of dozens of major leaguers, including Tim Lincecum, in his final year in the position. He then served as a top scouting advisor to Brian Sabean, Bobby Evans, and Farhan Zaidi until he was let go last year as Zaidi angled the organization for a new direction.
During his time as an advisor, Nerland often traveled the country scouting players from high school to the major leagues, looking for people that could help the Giants. According to Mark W. Sanchez of KNBR, Nerland played a large role in identifying Hunter Pence as a top trade target back in 2012, not just because of his talent but because of what he could bring to the clubhouse as well. Of course, Pence would go on to be a defining member of the Giants’ championship runs in 2012 and 2014 for his play on the field and leadership off it.
The Around the Foghorn team sends our condolences to the Nerland family and those close to him. In their statement, the SF Giants wrote, “Matt was a highly respected member of our organization and we extend our heartfelt condolences to his family.”