As new O’s manager Buck Showalter continues to put his stamp, if you will, on this organization, what about the minor leagues?
During his brief time as O’s skipper, Showalter already has made trips to Bowie and Aberdeen and saw some of the O’s younger prospects workout during the instructional league camp at Camden Yards.
How much impact and input does Showalter want to have on the minors?
In a recent meeting in his Camden Yards office, Showalter talked on that topic.
“I trust John Stockstill and our people there. I went over there (to Bowie) to watch JJ pitch and went to Aberdeen to sit down with Cal. On an off day, what else would you want to do? I got to meet some people and eat peanuts with Cal, that was pretty cool.
“It’s in good hands and it’s getting better. I was with Andy the other day and we saw John (Stockstill). Couple of guys were in there, pouring it over. Pretty exciting, some of the things they have planned for next year.
“I like to listen and I care. If there is some way I can help them - I’ll tell you what, I’ll call a Single-A manager that has lost ten in a row or something and talk him off the plank. I look at the games every day - that is fun.
“Now, I’m finally starting to put some names with faces. This little camp we had here, I came out a couple of mornings and watched it. I sat in the dugout and stayed out of the way. I didn’t talk to them. It’s in great hands, I’m excited about it.”
Showalter was asked about input into how the O’s minor leaguers handle plays on the field. Should they do it the same way in Bowie and Frederick that they do in Baltimore? Will he see to that?
“The relationship I have with the Triple-A manager I know will be good. I’d like to think they know how supportive I will be about what they do.
“We have certain things that we should be able to assume when a guy comes through our system. I can tell you that. That will be an expectation I’ll have of the people that have them. I think there will be a real clear picture of what I expect to be able to assume when a guy comes through our system. Someone comes from another organization, that’s different.
“I think that should empower some guys, not empower them necessarily, but be even stronger in their convictions about what they need to hold our players accountable to.
“As far as continuity on cutoffs and relays and bunt defense, pickoffs and whatever. There are some tweaks at each place depending on your talent.
“If you have a first baseman that throws real well and you hit a ball down the first-base line, we use to use Mattingly on cutoffs with a man on first to the plate. Most teams don’t have Mattingly. So they have to use the second baseman as the front guy. So you have to leave that open a little bit to the mangers down there and let them manage. We want to develop coaches and managers and trainers.
“If something happens here and we don’t have the next guy in our organization, we are not doing our part. You like to be self sufficient from that standpoint.
“It’s not like ‘here’s the way I’m going to do it and here’s a way I think is best and by God, do it.’ We will sit down and if you have a better way, tell me what you feel is the best way,” Showalter said.
He added that he is very open to the input of others in the minor league system.
“In Arizona, we sat down and had 12 different organizations represented at our first organizational meetings. That’s how we did on on-field manual. We talked out every situation and everyone gave input. At the end of the day, here’s how we did it.
“Sometimes it changed every year. Someone came up with a better idea and we’d tweak it. Players on the field have to be able to call an audible because they are on the field. We don’t have mics in their helmets like in football.”