Colorado Rockies: Betting on Bud Black Is The Right Move
Multiple sources are reporting that the Colorado Rockies have agreed in terms to hire Bud Black as their new manager. What does this mean for the future of the boys on 20th and Blake?
By now, you’re probably already somewhat familiar with the back story of Harry Ralston “Bud” Black. A former MLB pitcher and the manager of the Padres from 2007-2015, Black was widely respected across the game for his ability to squeeze surprising results from rosters (particularly bullpens) that were not jammed with talent.
Before he was a manager, Black was doing just that in Anaheim, serving as the pitching coach for the Angels from 2000-2005. Black and the Angels somehow won a World Series in 2002 behind a starting rotation made up of legends such as Jarrod Washburn, Ramon Ortiz, and an aging Kevin Appier.
In general, it’s a good idea to be skeptical of the idea that a single coach can teach an entire team how to be good at something they don’t have the natural talent for. Just because you can do something yourself doesn’t make you good at teaching it to others, after all. But in Black’s case, there may be something to the narrative.
The Padres have been a franchise since 1969. The two best seasons in franchise history in terms of run prevention were 2010 and 2014; both came under Black’s watch. What kind of pitchers did Black have to work with in those seasons? Well…
2010 Padres Starting Rotation: Clayton Richard, Jon Garland, Mat Latos, Wade LeBlanc, Kevin Correia
2014 Padres Starting Rotation: Ian Kennedy, Tyson Ross, Eric Stults, Andrew Cashner, Odrisamer Despaigne
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With the possible exception of Ross, none of these guys were any better than mid-rotation pitchers (and that’s being generous for some of these names). Look at that 2014 rotation again: That, believe it or not, is the rotation of the best run preventing team in Padres history.
I’m repeating myself, but this bears repeating: Bud Black was given a rotation featuring a third starter who won 36 games in nine MLB seasons, and he turned it into a team that gave up fewer runs than any other in the history of the franchise.