Barely a week after previous pitching coach John Farrell accepted the managerial job in Toronto, the Red Sox went and pillaged Billy Beane’s small market Oakland A’s by hiring Curt Young as a replacement.
I’ll reiterate what I said when Farrell left: it’s very difficult for an outsider to quantify the success of a pitching coach. There’s just too many variables involved. With that caveat out of the way, Pete Abraham tells us that during Young’s 7 year tenure as pitching coach, the Oakland staff had the lowest earned run average, opposing batting average, and opposing HR total in the league. Now, let’s take a look at their starting rotations during that span:
|Oakland A’s Starters, 2004-2010|
|2004||Mark Mulder||Barry Zito||Rich Harden||Mark Redman||Tim Hudson|
|2005||Dan Haren||Barry Zito||Rich Harden||Joe Blanton||Kirk Saarloos|
|2006||Dan Haren||Barry Zito||Esteban Loaiza||Joe Blanton||Kirk Saarloos|
|2007||Dan Haren||Chad Gaudin||Lenny DiNardo||Joe Blanton||Joe Kennedy|
|2008||Greg Smith||Dana Eveland||J. Duchscherer||Joe Blanton||Rich Harden|
|2009||Gio Gonzalez||Trevor Cahill||Dallas Braden||Vin Mazzaro||Brett Anderson|
|2010||Gio Gonzalez||Trevor Cahill||Dallas Braden||Ben Sheets||Brett Anderson|
Haren and Hudson were legitimate aces. Zito has had success, but is incredibly inconsistent. Harden, Sheets, and Mulder were all guys who could have been aces, but suffer from chronic injury problems. The rest of these guys were either 1) very young, 2) relief pitchers masquerading as starters, or 3) not very talented.
Lenny DiNardo? Greg Smith? Kirk Saarloos? These are the pitching staffs that have collectively had a lower ERA that the Red Sox, Yankees, Angels, etc…?
Whatever Curt Young was doing in Oakland, it seemed to be working.