The life of a Triple-A manager or coach and be an interesting one, typically depending on how its Major League affiliate fares during a season.
What makes this even harder are staffs who remain, but the big league level does not. One of these examples are the Baltimore Orioles, who saw a new manager in Brandon Hyde and general manager in Mike Elias.
“As far as our association with Mike Elias and Brandon Hyde, they call on occasion,” Norfolk manager Gary Kendall said. “They check on things, check on players. They let you do your job. Of course, at Triple-A, you have more hands on with what you are hearing from the Major League staff, because you are always sending players back and forth based on their needs. That is kind of status quo.”
For the Orioles, the big league team’s struggles play well turns into the opportunity for younger guys in Triple-A and the organization to get a look at the big league level. This gives Kendall and extra motivational tool.
“I see a younger group, throughout our system,” Kendall said. “I think we are evaluating what we have at the big league level and the minor league level. Of course, there were some free agents, but there was not a whole lot of money that was spent to operate our Major League club. We are finding out about the players that we have at the Major League level and the Minor League level. It is a great organization to be in, because you have a great opportunity to get to the big leagues.”
A report earlier in the season was that the Orioles’ Double-A affiliate was using bat sensors to generate stats on their hitters. While Kendall did not get into details, he said that analytics certainly play into his day-to-day job as well.
“As far as the analytical part of it, everybody is kind of doing it,” Kendall said. “We have spray charts and things. We have meeting about pitching guys a certain way. It is really nothing different, but it is a bigger part of the game. I know that it is a strength of our General Manager and Assistant General Manager.”
The Reds also changed over to a new manager in David Bell, who has been more analytical than previous manager Bryan Price. Triple-A manager Jody Davis sees the trickle down from that.
“(The analytics) are not as much at this level as it is in Cincinnati,” Davis said. “The analytics part is here to stay and I think that all of us have to adjust to it somewhat. We are not going to be as drastic as they are there, but where you play guys, positioning, all of that is here to stay. We are just tweaking it.”
Davis, who worked for the Double-A affiliate in 2018, is seeing the differences between levels first-hand in 2019.
“I just think, being at the Triple-A level, we are doing more of what they want us to do,” Davis said. “In Double-A last year, I hardly ever heard from them last year. They have specific roles that they want to have our relievers in. It is basically, the guys who have a chance to go up if somebody gets hurt, bouncing those guys around to multiple positions. That is kind of what we do, just make sure they are ready to go there.”
It is typical to hear how managers day-to-day operations are in the big leagues. However, the Minor League positions are a similar busy day, and even maybe a bit more so.