A byproduct of having a new regime running the show and dictating the steps and pace of a rebuild is the creation of new jobs and titles in the organization.
I reported back on Oct. 11 that the Orioles were promoting Chris Holt from the position of minor league pitching coordinator to director of pitching. The exact details of the job hadn’t been laid out for public consumption.
Holt came to the Orioles from the Astros organization as the replacement for John Wasdin, who was named bullpen coach as the replacement for Alan Mills, who was named manager of the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League team as the replacement for Carlos Tosca, who was reassigned as field coach and the organization’s outfield/baserunning coordinator.
Got all that?
The Orioles decided to extend Holt’s reach by making him director of pitching, which doesn’t replace anybody. This is a new one.
The idea is to make it easier for Holt to join pitching coach Doug Brocail in utilizing the technology and data that’s now flooding the organization after starting out as a trickle.
Holt will continue to oversee the development plans for every pitcher in the organization, his most important task, but the promotion came in anticipation of heavier traffic between Triple-A and the majors. Thirty-eight Orioles pitched this season, including four position players.
It may not have been important for catcher Jesús Sucre to grasp and utilize the data, but the Orioles want to ease the transition for guys like Keegan Akin and Dean Kremer. To make certain that the lines don’t become tangled.
“I will still by and large be the minor league pitching coordinator and then spend more time with the major league staff,” said Holt, who also will be working closely with new bullpen coach Darren Holmes.
“I would imagine at home game I may travel a little bit, but I’ll just have more consistent involvement from a development standpoint and getting the players from the Dominican all the way through the big leagues kind of up and running with the resources that we have for self-evaluation, for game planning, for delivery evaluation. All the things that go into players preparing themselves to perform.
“I’m just going to have more involvement on that front organizationally.”
With no concerns that the Orioles could have too many coaches in the kitchen, so to speak.
They view Holt as being an organization-wide resource who’s visible to everyone where there’s work to be done.
“How do I see it happening?” he said. “I see myself spending more time in Baltimore, but the really important work right now is still on the farm, so I’ll dedicate much of my time to what’s going on in the minor leagues and then spend more time in the big leagues this year.”
To put it in football terms, which seems appropriate for late December, Holt’s new title and tasks can allow for a smoother handoff. A continuity of message, environment and daily work.
Whatever is happening with pitchers at the Triple-A level and below also should be done at Camden Yards, though the majors provide better resources in terms of video recon and reports on opponents.
It’s about getting and maintaining that streamline between what’s occurring on the farm and what they need to be able to do for themselves once they’re promoted.
“Obviously we want to improve how we’re doing things on the farm,” Holt said, “so that when they get there it’s just a normal piece of what their preparation would be.”