But Brocail’s anticipated addition drew some praise this week. The 51-year-old former big league pitcher worked in the Houston organization from 2010 through 2015 and was the Astros’ major league pitching coach from June 2011 through the 2013 season and was later a special assistant. He was pitching coach for the Texas Rangers from 2016-2018.
Former big league hurler Ron Darling spoke of Brocail this week on MLB Network.
“Knowing Doug a little, there is a toughness about Doug. That comes with strong pitching development. Toughness is good for young players and young pitchers that want to be led. He’s a leader,” Darling said.
Reporter Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News covers the Rangers and covered Brocail during his three seasons with the club. He believes Brocail has a solid background in analytics. Grant was interviewed this week on “The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report” on MASN.
“I think Doug was an early adapter of analytics and had some background from the Houston organization,” Grant said. “From my perspective, the most important thing on the analytics side is having the ability to present the information in the way players can understand. That gets you the competitive advantage out of it.
“Doug, with his background as both a starter and reliever, and with the number of injuries he dealt with, he’s got an ability to relate to pitchers. That, to me, is the most important element of coaching now. Everyone has a lot of good information, but how do you get the message across? Doug has the ability to get that message across.”
Grant was asked if Brocail has a specific focus in working with his pitchers?
“The thing that comes to mind is he, like a lot of pitching coaches, has spent a lot more time having pitchers work up and down in the strike zone much more than to different sides of the plate,” Grant said. “To elevate the batter’s eye and to throw strikes up in the zone and to elevate up outside the zone.
“Yu Darvish was very, very outspoken in his support for Doug. He formed a strong connection with Doug, and to me that’s a really strong endorsement. I think that speaks highly of Doug. I think he’s a fine pitching coach. In Texas the last few years, as the Rangers acknowledged their window (to win) may be closing, I don’t think he had the tools to work with to make a noticeable impact, especially in the starting rotation.”
Orioles pitcher David Hess was a guest last night on the “Hot Stove Show” on 105.7 FM The Fan. I asked him about the pitcher-pitching coach relationship and what he believes is the key in having a smooth one between the coach and his staff?
“I think it’s very similar with any relationship. I think communication is one of the biggest things,” Hess said. “I think just being able to talk about things in a productive way and just understand where each other is coming from and be on the same page. I think that’s something that you know, regardless of who it is that is in there, that is something that, from top to bottom, is very important.
“I think from what I can tell about our new management and all the new faces we have coming in, that is something they’re really focused on. That is something that is going to show probably right away. From a player standpoint, that is really exciting to allow us to engage with the staff and have good communication.”