Caitlyn Moyer of Cait Covers the Bases (and Brewers Director of New Media) has published a list of the coaching staffs for all of the Brewers affiliates. It has always seemed to me that Major League baseball is top heavy with coaching at the big league level with not enough in the minors, where most of the teaching needs to happen.
The Brewers have spoken in the past (beginning with Doug Melvin) about establishing a consistent culture in the entire system, much as the St. Louis Cardinals have done. The Cards have been able to plug in players from the farm when injuries or poor performance have come up, often without losing a beat. Of course, a system filled with good prospects makes that much more likely to happen, and the Brewers farm system has moved into the top echelon of prospects available in short order due to the trades and drafting of both new GM David Stearns and Doug Melvin during his last season.
I can’t imagine that leaving the development of these players to chance, and time, would be the plan of the Brewers. We hear precious little about the ‘hows’ of minor league supervision. Here are some basic ideas that would seem logical, and are most likely already in place:
- Specific developmental goals for all players in the system.
- A stringent monitoring strategy, including regular reports on each player - probably with a form customized for each - submitted to the minor league director.
- Regular sessions with roving instructors to monitor actual development compared to reported development.
- Special instruction from team coaches and roving instructors when results are not where they are projected to be.
- Intensive scouting of other systems to identify players that would be desirable to add to the organization should they become available in any capacity.
- Advanced metric analysis of all players to see if developmental goals are achieving the desired effect.
- Yearly, at a minimum, review and analysis of the developmental system and how it is impacting the growth and preparation of Brewer minor league players.
I’m sure that much of this, or all of this, is in place. And more. It isn’t something that is routinely discussed or thought of; we spend much of our time on what is happening at the major league level. Of course, the state of the minors has been more on our minds lately, as that is where the Brewers’ future resides.
AAA Colorado Springs manager Rick Sweet is entering his third season; Mike Guerrero is back with the AA Biloxi Shuckers, and has spent 12 seasons at various posts in the Brewers system; Joe Ayrault will be in his sixth season for the new A affiliate, the Carolina Mudcats; the low A Wisconsin T-Rats will be led by Matt Erickson for his seventh season; and Nester Corredor (2nd year), Rafael Neda (1st year), and Victor Estevez will head up Helena, the Arizona League, and the DSL Brewers respectively.
Each team also has a strength and conditioning coach, as well as an athletic trainer.
Get ‘em ready, gentleman - the fans’ patience can be notoriously fickle.