There are two basic types of pitching coaches in major league baseball. There are the more hands off types, who wait until their guys ask for assistance, or until they see something major that needs correction. The other type is much more proactive. The Tigers’ new pitching coach, Chris Bosio, is clearly of the latter persuasion.
Almost from the moment he was hired Bosio has been in touch with his pitchers to exchange thoughts on their mechanics. That work has continued in spring camp as he tinkers with their motions and mentality. From pitch design sessions, tweaks to foot position and even eye line to their catchers, Bosio is involved in every detail.
The Tigers pitchers have greeted his approach warmly so far, and a level of trust seems to have quickly been established. So when, for example, Bosio suddenly decides before a game to use Daniel Norris as the closer, Norris was game. The rest of the fanbase, on the other hand, had a minor meltdown fearing that the Tiger were going to prematurely convert one of their best arms into a reliever. But there is a method to Bosio’s madness.
“That’s a different heartbeat there, a different urgency,” Bosio said. “And to be able to take that mentality into a starting role later in my career was invaluable for me.”
Turns out he’s just passing on something that helped him as a young pitcher back in the day. Bosio has also used starting pitching prospect Sandy Baez in a late innings role this spring training for the same reason. The point? To learn to concentrate their energy on one high leverage inning of work, as well as to help them learn to be flexible and respond in any situation.
Bosio believes learning to take that approach into each inning of a start is invaluable. But you have to develop it one inning at a time. He also, in contrast to the role-based philosophy of more old school managerial philosophy, has come to value the kind of flexibility a pitcher like Travis Wood could’ve provided had he not gone down to a season ending injury. So don’t be surprised if he stretches other pitchers outside of their comfort zone this season. Bosio likes to see how his guys react to unfamiliar situations.
A taxonomy of Tigers (uniforms)
There has been a good deal of grousing about the Tigers’ uniforms this offseason. The new larger D on the caps has looked grossly out of place to many fans. Cliff Corcoran ran a piece for the Hardball Times on Wednesday that traces the evolution of Tigers uniforms, and particularly the Old English D, going all the way back through 120 years of Tigers uniforms.
Ichiro in winter
This is a must read for any baseball fan, whether you’re an Ichiro devotee or not. The most famous Japanese baseball player of all time signed with the Mariners this week and will embark on what is likely his final season as a major league ballplayer. Wright Thompson, writing for ESPN, traveled to Japan to interview Suzuki and to try and learn what makes him tick. What he found was a man who had the Way of the Warrior, baseball edition, driven into him at a tender age, and now finds himself, and his legendary routines and work ethic, close to the point of obsolescence, with little idea how to go forward when his time on the diamond finally comes to an end.
Around the horn
Baseball’s middle class continues to bear the brunt of the changing market. Teams continue to obsess over how players were their hats. One man spent the winter listening to old radio broadcasts of baseball games. Here’s what he learned. Meanwhile, folks at the Ringer attempted to invent a new baseball league.
Shohei Ohtani faced Clayton Kershaw yesterday, as a hitter, and it went like you’d expect.
This is all well and good, but I like Ohtani’s chances of hitting Kershaw better than I like Kershaw’s chances of dealing with Ohtani’s splitter and slider, which have looked hellacious so far this spring.
Here's a supercut of the prettiest pitches thrown by Shohei Ohtani in his three inning outing today against the Brewers.— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) March 2, 2018
His slider is looking so good. pic.twitter.com/Y9RZP6YKXO
Baseball is awesome
This Justin Verlander commercial with his Dad is full of feels.
Here’s your catcher of the future working on some blocking drills. Take notes Derek Norris!