Brocail is an impressive addition to Orioles' staff - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Brocail is an impressive addition to Orioles’ staff

Doug Brocail
Photo credit: Bruce Kluckhohn - USA Today Sports

Most of the reported names on the list of Orioles coaches for 2019 aren’t widely known. However, the news that longtime major league pitcher and pitching coach Doug Brocail has been added to manager Brandon Hyde’s staff was greeted with enthusiasm by at least one keen observer of the Orioles.

“Dylan Bundy will have a breakout year under Brocail,” the observer said.

In the eight years that Buck Showalter managed the Orioles, he had six pitching coaches, inheriting Rick Kranitz and spinning through Mark Connor, Rick Adair, Bill Castro, Dave Wallace and Roger McDowell.

Bundy worked under Adair, Wallace and McDowell, and now will get a sample of Brocail.

After a difficult 2018 when he slumped to an 8-16 record and 5.45 ERA and led the majors with 41 home runs allowed, Bundy could prosper under Brocail.

Wallace, who was considered one of the better pitching coaches in contemporary baseball, had a knack for getting a great year out of a pitcher who never had one before.

In 2014, Wallace’s first year, when the Orioles handily won the AL East, Bud Norris had by far his best season as a major league starter when he went 15-8 with a 3.65 ERA and 1.216 WHIP.

Wallace also performed impressive feats as pitching coach with the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets and Boston Red Sox.

Brocail, who has the thickest major league resume among the coaches who’ve been selected though not announced, pitched 15 seasons for San Diego, Detroit, Houston and Texas. He last pitched in the big leagues in 2009 when he was 42.

He was the Astros’ pitching coach from 2011-13 where he first worked with general manager Mike Elias. Dallas Keuchel made his major league debut in 2012 under Brocail.

Like the Orioles, the Astros were in a multi-year rebuilding process, and Brocail won’t be intimidated by the challenge of a long-term project.

He was the Texas Rangers’ pitching coach for the past three seasons and had Andrew Cashner on his staff in 2017.

Hyde, who was not a major league player, has reportedly chosen four staff members who never played in the majors (Arnie Beyeler, Tim Cossins, Jose Flores, Don Long) and Brocail.

John Wasdin, who is believed to be the team’s next bullpen coach, pitched 12 seasons in the majors and was a teammate of Brocail’s with the Rangers in 2004 and 2005.

The Orioles are believed to nearing a choice for an assistant hitting coach, which could complete the staff and enable an announcement.

Spring training update

The Orioles moved up the start of spring training by a day. Pitchers and catchers will report Feb. 12 instead of Feb. 13. They’ll work out for the first time on Feb. 13. The full squad reports to the Ed Smith Stadium complex in Sarasota, Fla., on Feb. 17, and the first workout is Feb. 18.

Tickets for the 17 home games at Ed Smith Stadium will go on sale Jan. 26 at 10 a.m.

No Navy game

The Orioles will not be able to fulfill their hope of playing a game at the Naval Academy before the 2019 season. Once the schedule for both the regular season and spring training was released, there wasn’t room for another game.

The Orioles play their final Grapefruit League game on March 25 and the collective bargaining agreement requires a day off between the time camp ends and the regular season begins.

Opening Day is March 28, and manager Brandon Hyde is likely to schedule a workout at Yankee Stadium for March 27, leaving March 26, which would have been the only possible day for a game at Navy. Presumably, that will be the Orioles’ day off.

The Annapolis Capital Gazette reported that the Orioles had been unable to find a major league opponent for the game and that they hope to try again in 2020.

FanFest autographs

Fans looking for autographs at the Jan. 26 FanFest at the Baltimore Convention Center can find a list of participants at www.orioles.com/fanfest. Vouchers will go on sale at 2 p.m. today and are $20 each. The proceeds go to OriolesREACH and will be distributed to charities.

Most of the more recognizable names on the team, including Dylan Bundy, Chris Davis, Mychal Givens, Trey Mancini Cedric Mullins, Mark Trumbo and Jonathan Villar, are on the list. Keegan Akin, DL Hall, Ryan McKenna and Ryan Mountcastle also will be there.

Hall of Famers Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer and Brooks Robinson will be available along with Orioles Hall of Famers Mike Bordick, Rick Dempsey and Boog Powell.

Andrew Cashner and Alex Cobb were among those not on the list of participants.

Children 4-14 will have a station at the event for complimentary autographs.

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. DevoTion

    January 17, 2019 at 8:23 am

    I have said it before that a good pitching coach is very important for this team. Wallace was great, McDowell was horrible. I give McDowell a lot of credit for the down fall of the pitching staff over the last couple of years, only a couple of players improved and most declined. I think (hope) the O’s made a good choice, time will tell

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 17, 2019 at 10:16 am

      Devo, I think Brocail will be an excellent choice.

  2. JDSax

    January 17, 2019 at 9:02 am

    The most recognizable name on the team is Chris Davis, and I don’t see him listed as someone who’s signing autographs at FanFest. Is he unavailable? Does the team not want to put him in a position where he’ll have to talk to fans for a couple of hours, which could prove awkward given his recent performance? I would hope someone who makes the kind of money he does would feel obligated to put himself out there, even though I know contractually, he’s likely not required to be there.

    • JDSax

      January 17, 2019 at 9:52 am

      OK I just saw the list, and Davis is on it. Odd that you wouldn’t have mentioned him as one of the team’s most recognizable names, Rich!

      • Rich Dubroff

        January 17, 2019 at 10:16 am

        Thank you for catching my error, JD. I have now listed him, as I should have. I mentioned that he would be signing on Twitter, but inadvertently left him out in my article, which I have now changed, thanks to you.

        • JDSax

          January 17, 2019 at 10:25 am

          Ha! No problem. I just thought, “How far the mighty have fallen that he doesn’t even warrant a mention!” Thanks.

  3. jkneps63

    January 17, 2019 at 9:54 am

    BAL vs TEX Pitching stats for 2018:
    ERA 5.18 vs 4.92
    ERA+ 80 vs 99
    FIP 4.98 vs 4.79
    WHIP 1.50 vs 1.40
    HR Allowed 234 vs 222
    W9 3.7 vs 3.1
    SO9 7.6 vs 7.1
    Number of pitchers used 30 vs 32
    Average age of pitchers 27.1 vs 30.4

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 17, 2019 at 10:18 am

      Jkneps, I think you will see pitchers get better over the long-term with Brocail. This season will be a challenging one, but I think they will get better for the future.

      • DevoTion

        January 17, 2019 at 10:39 am

        You say over the long term. It seems like pitching coaches don’t stick around for long these days for one reason or another. What is considered a long term for a coach these days?

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 17, 2019 at 10:42 am

      I would think five years, Devo. Wayne Kirby and John Russell were with Buck Showalter for eight years.

  4. willmiranda

    January 17, 2019 at 10:50 am

    I sure hope you’re right about Brodall, Rich. It seems to me the O’s have a lot of guys who could use his help. I hope he has enough time for them all or gets help from the bullpen coach. Usually veteran pitchers, if they’re willing, can help with the younger ones, but here even the vets need at least some tweaking.
    Too bad about the breakdown with the Navy program. Hope they can get back on course.

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 17, 2019 at 11:32 am

      Will, I think that Brocail will be good for younger players and veterans alike.

  5. Bancells Moustache

    January 17, 2019 at 10:50 am

    Off topic, as I like most people know absolutely nothing about assistant coaches and will just assume Hyde hired the guy for a reason;

    The dust-up with Lozano and the White Sox over the Machado deal makes no sense to me Rich. If someone from the organization leaked the terms, far below what people were projecting, what exactly is the point? It’s not like Machado is gonna say ‘well, now everyone thinks I’m only getting 175mil, better stick with that so no one thinks I’m greedy’. What’s the play here? (Also, if Machado signs a deal with a bad team that virtually mirrors the Chris Davis deal, Elias should be fired before spring training)

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 17, 2019 at 11:33 am

      Bancells, I certainly don’t know the back story here. But, a team can leak terms to show its fans that it’s making an attempt to sign free agents, even if they can’t or won’t match the offers made by big-market clubs.

  6. Orial

    January 17, 2019 at 10:52 am

    I think Oriole pitching problems of the last few years were more of a philosophy than coaching/developing. Read where O’s threw second most fastballs in MLB in 2018. Buck had an obsession with cutting down opponents running game. If Brocail,Hyde,and Elias have a new approach things may improve. Brocail’s recent track record in Texas is so so. Again fingers crossed but I have total faith in Elias.

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 17, 2019 at 11:34 am

      Elias has a history with Brocail, Orial. The fastball is the best pitch in baseball, and causes the fewest arm injuries.

  7. TheGreat8

    January 17, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    Rich – i recall hearing the on an organizational level the team wasn’t letting pitchers throw a cutter. Is that true and do you think it’ll change with the new regime?

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 17, 2019 at 3:49 pm

      It was a Dan Duquette philosophy though not universally adhered to. I would assume it will change, Great8.

  8. cedar

    January 17, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    Thanks for the background on Brocail. I remember him as a pitcher but didn’t know anything about him as a coach. After reading your article it sounds like Hyde has made as good a choice as any. I recall previously that Hyde would have I put on the minor league coaches too. Are they still being assembled or will that be after Hyde makes his final decision on his major league staff?

    Also, with the autograph station for the kids, I again think the Orioles are one of the most family/kid friendly pro sports teams around. Kudos for what they do to enrich children’s experience.

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 17, 2019 at 8:10 pm

      Cedar, Hyde has input on the Triple-A manager, who has yet to be named.

  9. BirdsCaps

    January 17, 2019 at 8:07 pm

    I sure hope Brocail does better than his predecessors, however that shouldn’t be hard. If the entire rotation can hit the broad side of a barn it would be an improvement. Also, as a side note to the cancelled Navy game, I wonder if the birds would consider preseason games at their farm teams stadiums. I know they played the tides at Norfolk before, but I would be jumping for joy if they played a preseason game at Aberdeen (maybe against the Phillies).

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 17, 2019 at 8:11 pm

      BirdsCaps, as you note the Orioles have played at Norfolk several times before, but it’s too late to schedule another game now. I think they’ll try again for Navy next year.

  10. Ekim

    January 17, 2019 at 11:05 pm

    Let’s put it this way… at least Brocail doesn’t come in with an abominable record like MacDowell did where he “ blew up” Atlanta’s pitching staff before doing it to the O’s. It would have been nice if he had a list of pitchers he turned around because he’s got a lot of them to that need to be turned around with the O’s. We can only hope…

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 18, 2019 at 7:40 am

      Ekim, it’s McDowell, not MacDowell. Considering that the Orioles were so late in the hiring process, Brocail is an especially good choice. He comes highly recommended.

    • Ekim

      January 18, 2019 at 8:08 am

      Spelling aside, everybody knew who I meant.

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