The Tigers found their pitching coach, and they poached him from the Twins. He is Rick Knapp and he’s served as the minor league pitching coordinator for the last 12 years in the Minnesota organization.
I really like this move. The Twins have a tradition of producing striking throwing machines on a regular basis, and you’d have to think that Knapp gets some of that credit. The Twins have walked the fewest number of hitters in the AL in 4 of the last 5 years.
The trick for Knapp now is to see if he can translate his development skills to pro pitchers and get the Tigers staff throwing strikes. His biggest challenge of course is with Dontrelle Willis, who’s struggles are well known. He will largely be evaluated though based on his work with Justin Verlander to see if he can help Verlander regain his studly-ness.
I am excited about Knapp’s long term potential impact as he imparts his philosophies on the young pitchers in the organization. Plus he won’t be churning out those arms for the division-rival Twins anymore.
- Jeff Passan wrote an article in August and Knapp was largely the subject. But one takeaway was that the Twins control strength goes beyond instruction and it is an organizational philosophy that goes down to talent evaluation. It will be very interesting to see what Knapp does with guys who were largely sought out for velocity and stuff.
- In an article about Kevin Cameron, Cameron mentions that one year there was a rash of shoulder injuries to many Twins minor league pitchers. I don’t like the sound of that, but don’t know enough about it to judge either.
- Knapp was discussed in reference to some tools and techiniques he used in assisting David Bromberg. (h/t)