Phillies Again in Search of a New Pitching Coach

by Marc Narducci | Oct 21, 2020
Phillies Again in Search of a New Pitching Coach
Not only are the Phillies looking to upgrade their bullpen and starting rotation, but now they have to hire a new pitching coach.
 
On Sunday the Phillies announced that veteran coach Bryan Price, 58 retired after just one season with the team. 
 
That means the Phillies are in search for a pitching coach for the fifth straight year. 
 
“Bryan provided a trusted voice and had a major impact on our pitchers this season,” said Phillies interim general manager Ned Rice said in a statement. “We wish Bryan nothing but the best in his retirement and thank him for his contributions this past season.”
 
Price replaced Chris Young, who lasted one season as pitching coach. Young was assistant pitching coach in 2018 and then replaced Rick Kranitz, who was fired after that season and is now the pitching coach of the Atlanta Braves. 
 
Kranitz was the Phillies bullpen coach in 2016 and assistant pitching coach in 2017. He had replaced Bob McClure, who was the Phillies pitching coach from 2014-2017. 
 
Price came to the Phillies with plenty of experience. 
 
Before coming to the Phillies, Price managed the Cincinnati Reds from 2014-18 after serving as their pitching coach from 2010-13. Prior to that, he served as pitching coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2006-09 and the Seattle Mariners from 2000-05.
 
According to the Phillies, under Price, the starting rotation was third among all major league staffs in WAR at 6.9, behind only the Cincinnati Reds (8.1) and Cleveland Indians (7.8).
 
The bullpen was a different situation.
 
Due to the bullpen, the Phillies finished 27th out of 30 MLB team in ERA (5.14). 
 
The bullpen ERA of 7.06 was the worst in baseball. 
 
According to Baseball-reference.com, the Phillies bullpen was 9-14 with the 7.06 ERA, 11 saves, but 13 blown saves. Teams hit .315 with 42 home runs and a 155 OPS+
 
This wasn’t on Price because the Phillies kept bringing in journeymen who would get lit up. Or they had some young players that weren’t quite ready although at the end of the season, Connor Brogdon, who had a 3.97 ERA in nine games with 17 strikeouts and five walks in 11 1/3 innings showed great future promise.
 
The starting rotation is more defined with Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler an extremely strong 1-2 combination with Zach Eflin almost certainly occupying the No. 3 role. Spencer Howard, the Phillies top young starting pitching prospect, struggled with a 5.92 ERA but he figures to be the No. 4 next season and then the Phillies have to find a No. 5 starter. Jake Arrieta, a pending free agent, isn’t expected to return. 

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There will be challenges for the new pitching coach but the Phillies hope that the next one hired will be able to provide more stability and stay more than one season. 

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Author: Marc Narducci

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