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.
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.