The Yankees’ effort to take their pitching further into the analytics age may include them dipping into the college coaching circle.
After firing longtime pitching coach Larry Rothschild Monday, the Yankees interviewed Michigan pitching coach Chris Fetter on Tuesday, as first reported by ESPN and interviewed Arkansas pitching coach Matt Hobbs on Wednesday, according to D1Baseball.com.
Fetter, 33, has been a minor league coach with the Padres and a scout for the Angels. He also spent a season as the minor league pitching coordinator for the Dodgers before joining the Michigan staff two years ago.
Fetter pitched at Michigan and was drafted by the Padres and spent four years in the minors.
Hobbs arrived at Arkansas last year, where he replaced Wes Johnson, after Johnson was hired as the Twins’ pitching coach prior to last season.
Johnson became the first pitching coach to jump straight from college to the majors, but he likely won’t be the last, as both colleges and major league teams continue to embrace analytics and technology. And Johnson was credited with helping turn around Minnesota’s pitching staff on the way to the postseason.
The changes to the Yankees’ coaching staff follows their hiring of Sam Briend of Driveline Baseball in June as their director of pitching development and is expected to oversee the organization’s pitching program at the minor league level. Driveline uses a sabermetric approach to measure velocity and conditioning.
“Last year he hired Dillon Lawson [from the Astros] to be our hitting coordinator to transition our minor league program into the new world order and making sure we are using every tool in the toolbox,’’ general manager Brian Cashman said at the time of Briend’s hiring. “There are loads of technology and analytics and data which we are on top of. What we are not on top of, we will close the gap.’’
Aaron Hicks, who was limited to 59 games this season after signing a seven-year, $70 million deal in the offseason, had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow Wednesday. He posted a photo to his Instagram feed saying, “Surgery went well. Thanks for all the prayers and support. 2020 bigger and better.”
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