Author Topic: Fire [insert name here]! - the 2024 coaching staff  (Read 718 times)

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Offline RobDibblesGhost

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Fire [insert name here]! - the 2024 coaching staff
« Topic Start: November 10, 2023, 11:59:55 AM »
The coaching staff was announced this morning:

Bench Coach – Miguel Cairo
Hitting Coach – Darnell Coles
Pitching Coach – Jim Hickey
First Base Coach – Gerardo Parra
Third Base Coach – Ricky Gutierrez
Catching and Strategy Coach – Henry Blanco
Bullpen Coach – Ricky Bones
Assistant Hitting Coach – Chris Johnson

https://www.mlb.com/news/nationals-announce-2024-mlb-coaching-staff?partnerID=mlbapp-iOS_article-share

Kind of cool to see Parra’s name and glad he’s part of the organization. Disappointed Hickey is still around but oh well.

Online imref

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Bullpen Coach – Ricky Bones

Bones Barboni?

Online Slateman

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Coles and Hickey. Still cannot believe these guys are here after last season

Offline Natsinpwc

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Coles and Hickey. Still cannot believe these guys are here after last season
Stay the course!

Offline IanRubbish

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Coles and Hickey. Still cannot believe these guys are here after last season

They're Davey's boys. 

Offline JCA-CrystalCity

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Quote
The Nationals announced Tuesday that Doolittle is joining their staff as a pitching strategist. The 11-year Major League veteran and two-time All-Star will serve as a liaison between the pitching staff and the analytics department. Doolittle, 37, also will assist manager Dave Martinez and pitching coach Jim Hickey with mental preparation, strategy and mechanics.

“Sean Doolittle was always an extremely talented pitcher, but he is also one of the most intelligent baseball minds you can find,” general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement. “We’re incredibly excited to have him on our staff to help guide our talented group of young pitchers.”
https://www.mlb.com/nationals/news/nationals-hire-sean-doolittle-as-pitching-strategist

Interesting move. Slate posted a sound clip with Doo talking about Hickey's approach to analytics. Hickey's not to fond of them. The liaison role sounds like the data team is giving Hickey stuff he isn't using, and Doolittle will be the way to see that it gets to the pitchers rather than Hickey.

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Having Doolittle and Parra in the clubhouse should be a net positive. Just need to bring back that big bullpen catcher who used to carry folks around on his back.

Offline nfotiu

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Having Doolittle and Parra in the clubhouse should be a net positive. Just need to bring back that big bullpen catcher who used to carry folks around on his back.
The camel could do that.

Offline Mattionals

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https://www.mlb.com/nationals/news/nationals-hire-sean-doolittle-as-pitching-strategist

Interesting move. Slate posted a sound clip with Doo talking about Hickey's approach to analytics. Hickey's not to fond of them. The liaison role sounds like the data team is giving Hickey stuff he isn't using, and Doolittle will be the way to see that it gets to the pitchers rather than Hickey.
So is this the nice way of basically hiring Doo to be pitching coach in 2025 or 2026?

Offline Five Banners

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So is this the nice way of basically hiring Doo to be pitching coach in 2025 or 2026?


Maybe, but it seems like a smart way to have more than one voice

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https://www.mlb.com/nationals/news/nationals-hire-sean-doolittle-as-pitching-strategist

Interesting move. Slate posted a sound clip with Doo talking about Hickey's approach to analytics. Hickey's not to fond of them. The liaison role sounds like the data team is giving Hickey stuff he isn't using, and Doolittle will be the way to see that it gets to the pitchers rather than Hickey.
Was it Doolittle making the comments or one of the other forner Nats with him?

Not sure what Doolittle brings to strategy. He basically had one pitch his whole career. Its seems like the Nats are expecting the veteran presence to come from the coaching staff next season.

Offline JCA-CrystalCity

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Was it Doolittle making the comments or one of the other forner Nats with him?

Not sure what Doolittle brings to strategy. He basically had one pitch his whole career. Its seems like the Nats are expecting the veteran presence to come from the coaching staff next season.
Kintzler and Cishek were the hosts, Doo the guest. Before what you had lined up, Doo talks about advising the young pitchers, "hard in, soft away, see you later" then Cishek and Kintzler start making jokes about Hickey not believing in numbers. Doo just laughs and says something like no comment. Exchange starts just before the point you had it start somewhere around 2:40 or so.



Offline Kevrock

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https://www.mlb.com/nationals/news/nationals-hire-sean-doolittle-as-pitching-strategist

Interesting move. Slate posted a sound clip with Doo talking about Hickey's approach to analytics. Hickey's not to fond of them. The liaison role sounds like the data team is giving Hickey stuff he isn't using, and Doolittle will be the way to see that it gets to the pitchers rather than Hickey.

Simpler solution is firing Hickey.

Offline JCA-CrystalCity

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Michael Henshaw at District on Deck writes about Corbin adding a cutter this year to replace an ineffective 4 seam as his 3rd pitch. Henshaw speculates that this may be a sign of the Nats new receptivity to using data and also a sign of Doolittle's influence as the pitching strategist / data translator for the pitching staff.

https://districtondeck.com/posts/patrick-corbin-has-a-new-weapon-01htjrpe0mgt

Quote
So, in the year 2024, after multiple long summers of getting crushed, Corbin has made an adjustment. Indeed, a new pitch, a cutter, has joined the arsenal that hasn't budged over the last 12+ years. The old, hardened fastball and slider have a baby sibling.
...
Plenty of other, better, pitchers already utilize the naturally deceptive sinker-cutter mix that Corbin is essentially trying out for the first time. It's ridiculous that it took a 570 inning sample of Corbin being the league's punching bag for a tweak to be made, even if it ends up working out.

However, none of that makes it a bad idea. ...

Here's an optimistic take, as much as that can be possible in a Patrick Corbin article. The Nats fully committing (so far) to having Corbin eschew his longstanding pitch mix could represent the advancement of their pitching brain trust, and whatever departments or decision-makers may be involved. It probably wasn't hard to suggest Corbin change things up, given his numbers across the board, but this is the area the team has desperately needed to catch up to their competitors in. If something this simple means the team will be more experimental and forward-thinking with their pitching staff as a whole, that is a major positive. Whatever data they may have used, however they may have communicated it, this was a necessary change, and they need to be able to make these types of changes.

Could Sean Doolittle have influenced this decision for Corbin? I can only speculate, but his start in his new role with the team does line up with his former teammate Corbin tinkering with a cutter this spring.

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Parra. We've had like four guys essentially get picked off first, but the other team fumbled the ball.

Offline JCA-CrystalCity

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Mentioned above is speculation about the Doo effect on Corbin adding a cutter. Doo gets another shout out from Ghost Mears at Talk Nats on helping Gore improve the perceived rise and velocity on his fastball:

Quote
Fingers crossed that Gore is headed towards greatness. He showed periods of that last year of being the ace that some expected when he was drafted near the top in the first round at Pick No. 3 by San Diego in 2017. He came to the Nats with a top-rated 4-seam fastball by movement. Last year he regressed, but has found some footing by working with Doolittle on the fastball by giving his 4-seamer the illusion of rise and higher velo. His changeup is becoming a ‘plus’ pitch in his repertoire.

https://www.talknats.com/2024/04/08/the-mixed-bag-of-pitching-results-has-a-silver-lining/

Offline JCA-CrystalCity

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https://districtondeck.com/posts/the-impact-of-sean-doolittle-s-hiring-on-the-nationals-01hvkgx7974f

Sam Holstine notes Doo's career was built around an outstanding fastball he could throw hard and high. Suggests he may be having an impact on Gore in particular, who has an outstanding fastball but also starter secondaries.

Quote
A noticeable trend so far in 2024 has been where MacKenzie Gore has been locating his fastball, with an increased emphasis on throwing it at the upper-third of the zone. While his location can still be shaky at times, Gore's fastball has also benefited from better shape and movement. These increased trends have benefited Gore already, as his four-seam fastball K% is up at 36.4% this year, an insane increase from the 22.2 K% mark it was at last season. With that, Gore's heater has seen a 10% increase in whiff % and 8% decrease in hard hit %. All of these metrics highlight how much better Gore's heater has improved this year, and a lot of it can be attributed to the hiring of Sean Doolittle. Not only has his fastball gotten better results, but Gore's secondary pitches have all benefits from the better fastball shape.

Also suggests Irvin's improved fastball may show signs of Doo's analytics work.

Quote
As I am writing this article, Jake Irvin shut out the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup over six outstanding innings, highlighted by a more lively fastball which he is also utilizing up in the zone, similar to how Doolittle did throughout his career. Irvin's heater was averaging 95.7 mph today, a bump from his previous 94.2 mph average, while featuring increased vertical and horizontal break, generating 9 whiffs on 22 swings. If this trend is able to continue, Irvin could join Gore as the immediate beneficiaries of the Sean Doolittle hiring.

Offline Mattionals

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https://districtondeck.com/posts/the-impact-of-sean-doolittle-s-hiring-on-the-nationals-01hvkgx7974f

Sam Holstine notes Doo's career was built around an outstanding fastball he could throw hard and high. Suggests he may be having an impact on Gore in particular, who has an outstanding fastball but also starter secondaries.

Also suggests Irvin's improved fastball may show signs of Doo's analytics work.
He's our best coach. Gotta dump Hickey and tell Davey it's Doo's ship to steer.

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Parra. We've had like four guys essentially get picked off first, but the other team fumbled the ball.
I am still confused why they fired Eric Young and a handful of other coaches coming off a pleasant step forward season.

Offline JCA-CrystalCity

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some praise for Parra helping coach Jesse Winker's throwing:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2024/04/18/jesse-winker-nationals/

Given how the Nats cornered the market on cheap lefty veteran free agent left fielders this off-season, the Nats plan for playing time had Winker mostly in left, with Gallo at 1st, and Rosario mostly strong side of a CF platoon. This allowed Meneses to play bring a golden batting glove to DH. Golden the author notes:
Quote
That plan seemed flawed. Gallo was a two-time Gold Glove winner. Winker isn’t known for his defense — he has never had a positive outs above average (OAA), which measures a player’s range in the field. His career high is 0. His range hasn’t been significantly better this season, leading to a minus-3 OAA. But Winker does have three outfield assists, third in the major leagues going into Thursday’s games.
...
Winker credited first base coach Gerardo Parra for helping him with his accuracy. The two throw on the field before games. After one throwing session in Cincinnati earlier this year, Parra stopped Winker to have a conversation. Parra stood in front of Winker as he slowly repeated his throwing motion. Parra grabbed Winker’s arm and moved it closer to his face.

Parra was reinforcing a mechanical adjustment. Winker, a lefty, has a natural tail to his throws, which move like a cutter when his release point is too wide and his elbow drops. But when he releases the ball closer to his head, he has a higher release point and gets the proper backspin to get the ball to the right base on a line.


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FWIW, the rotation has been pretty good so far this year (minus Gray and most of Corbin's starts).