The Mariners' skipper on his relationship with GM Jack Zduriencik, the expectations on his club for 2010, and the acquisitions of Cliff Lee and Chone Figgins.
There are some loud tremors emanating from the Pacific Northwest this offseason, and nobody feels and hears them more than Don Wakamatsu. The Mariners skipper isn't quite quaking with excitement, but with the recent acquisitions of Chone Figgins and Cliff Lee, there is clearly an extra bounce to his step. There may also be an elevated heart rate, as Mount Rainier-sized expectations are already beginning to cascade down upon a team that won 85 games in Wakamatsu's first year at the helm. The 46-year-old skipper talked to Baseball Prospectus via phone-a conversation briefly interrupted by a call from GM Jack Zduriencik-to discuss the season that was, and the future of what clearly seems to be an organization moving in the right direction.
A successful pitching coach in the Giants organization talks about coaching, catching, and the prospects he's working with.
The San Francisco Giants possess some of the best young pitching in the game, both at the big-league level and down on the farm, and one of the reasons has been the work of Ross Grimsley. Now in his eleventh season in the organization, Grimsley has helped to develop a multitude of young hurlers since joining the coaching ranks a quarter-century ago, most recently receiving plaudits for his influence on one of the top pitching prospects in the game, Madison Bumgarner. A crafty left-hander during his playing days, Grimsley logged 124 wins over 11 big-league seasons, including 18 with the Orioles in 1974, and 20 with the Expos in 1978. Currently the pitching coach at Double-A Connecticut, Grimsley talked about his time in the game, both on the mound and as a teacher.
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A conversation with that rarest of cats in the minor leagues, the inked Wildcat from Northwestern.
Chris Hayes has emerged from the humblest of baseball backgrounds to the doorstep of the major leagues. A walk-on at Northwestern University, Hayes worked his way up to the team's closer his senior year. Following graduation he spent a year in the independent leagues before signing with the Kansas City Royals as an undrafted free agent in 2006.
The veteran hurler on setting up the pieces, controlling what you can, and employing the wisdom of others.
Paul Byrd knows his craft. Seen by many as a future pitching coach, the veteran right-hander has become a student of the game over his 13 big-league seasons, adding more than a fair share of guile to his repertoire as he has aged. Acquired by the Red Sox from Cleveland in August, the 37-year-old Byrd has pitched for seven teams overall and has a lifetime record of 108-93, with a 4.38 ERA in 338 games. On the season, Byrd is 11-12 with a 4.60 ERA. David spoke with him after his last regular-season start.
With the saves record set, will he repeat his 2002 heroics in the postseason? And will his arm eventually fall off, or won't it?
Francisco Rodriguez has easily been one of the top closers in baseball since he was handed the full-time job back in 2005, and before that he was one of the game's top relievers, period. This is why it's no surprise that he's at the center of the discussions as to why the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were able to win 100 games this year-but was 2008, the year he set the record for most saves in a season, the best year of his career, or should we be worried that this isn't the same K-Rod we watched grow up in front of us on national television?
The Phillies pitching prospect has endured a lot of changes the past few years, including a completely rebuilt delivery and a move to the bullpen.
As far as highly-regarded pitching prospects go, Josh Outman isn't particularly unique, but he used to be. Philadelphia's pick in the 10th round of the 2005 draft, the 23-year-old left-hander features a conventional pitching motion that has been completely retooled from the unorthodox and biomechanically-structured delivery he grew up with. David talked to Outman about his old motion, and what the change to a more traditional pitching style has meant to his career.
An in-depth discussion about mechanics with the motion analysis coordinator and coach of the National Pitching Association.
Pitching is both an art and a science, and from youth leagues to the big leagues, so is the challenge of keeping pitchers healthy. The National Pitching Association (NPA) is on the cutting edge of research and instruction on all three fronts, and many of their concepts are shared in their forthcoming book, Arm Action, Arm Path, and the Perfect Pitch: a Science-Based Guide to Pitching Health and Performance. David talked to the NPA's motion analysis coordinator and coach, Doug Thorburn.
Former big leaguer Mike Pagliarulo shares some ideas about consulting and information within MLB.
Mike Pagliarulo hit 32 home runs for the Yankees in 1987, and was a key contributor to the World Series champion Twins in 1991, but his impact on the game has arguably been greater since retiring. Successful, and sometimes controversial, "Pags" has been at the forefront of scouting Japanese baseball for the past 10 years, both advising and correctly predicting results on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. A third baseman during his playing days, Pagliarulo hit .241 with 134 home runs over 11 big league seasons with five teams.