All Star Break Discussion #1: Pitching Coach
With the All Star break upon us, now’s a good time to deviate a little from the day to day game post-reaction loop. Over the next 3 days there will be a different discussion topic each day. Today we start with building the ideal pitching coach.
Chuck Hernandez caught a lot of heat early in the year. That criticism has quieted somewhat with the staff posting a 3.95 ERA since May 13th. But this discussion is less about the merits of Chuck Hernandez and more along the lines of role playing. You’re the manager/general manager. What are you looking for in a coach?
Some things to consider:
- Do you want someone with a specific philosophy or system that all pitchers would adhere to, or do you want someone who tries to leverage the strengths of the arms he’s given?
- What about pitcher workload? Old school where you see how far a guy can go and pitch counts are for wusses, or someone to coddle the arms and make sure they never ever throw more than 100 pitches or pitch 3 days in a row?
- Do you want someone who is going to emphasize mechanical tweaks and changes all the time, or someone who will let pitchers just throw and work more on their psyche and confidence?
- A pitch to contact philosophy or strike everyone out philosophy?
- Someone who embraces objective data or someone who embraces their own observations?
- When game planning how much emphasis is put on pitching to the pitcher’s strengths versus pitching to the oppositions weaknesses?
Finally, once you’ve selected someone, how do you evaluate whether they are doing a good job? How do you decide how much credit/blame is due to the coach and those he has to work with?
I don’t mean this to be a Chuck Hernandez bash (or love) fest. But feel free to cite examples of what you like or don’t like about Hernandez or any other pitching coach to help explain your preferences. And if there are any other qualities or traits you’d look for, feel free to include those as well.