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Tuesday Rockpile: Mark Wiley Officially Signs On for Hardest Job in Baseball

There has been twenty consecutive years of pro baseball in Denver, and we still don't know how best to battle to altitude. In trying to find the wiles necessary to finally beat it, the Rockies have hired Mark Wiley.

Mark Wiley was the pitching coach for the Indians 90's dynasty.  Here, he is trying to calm Doc Gooden.
Mark Wiley was the pitching coach for the Indians 90's dynasty. Here, he is trying to calm Doc Gooden.
Jonathan Daniel, Getty Images

When Dan O'Dowd announced the Rockies front office re-shuffle in early August, he also announced his intention to create a new "pitching supervisor" position. With yesterday's hire of Mark Wiley, that intention became reality. Insodoing, the Rockies are trying a new method to develop pitchers at Coors Field. Meanwhile, Mark Wiley signed up for the hardest job in baseball.

Wiley's tasks for this position will be versatile and widespread. From what we have heard, he will:

  • Have input in who the team hires to be the on-field pitching coach.
  • Oversee the development process of pitchers from the low minor leagues to the major leagues.
  • Establish continuity of instruction between minor league levels.
  • Aid in identifying pitchers to target in the amateur draft.
  • Figure out a way to prepare pitching prospects for Coors Field.
That's all.

I applaud the creation of this position. In talking with Craig Baker and other pitching prospects and reading Dirk Hayhurst, it is apparent the inefficiency of instruction in the minor leagues. Each pitching coach has their own philosophy to impart, and those tips could be invalidated with a promotion to another level with another coach. Continuity and a unified vision is practically non-existent, which makes full development, particularly in the harsh conditions of Coors Field, nearly impossible.

Rockies fans may be embittered at the inevitability of Wiley's hire, as he was the only publicized candidate for the position from the the start. I have never met Mr. Wiley, so I cannot speak to his candidacy other than his resume. For such a position, I would hope the Rockies find someone with experience 1) pitching in the major leagues, 2) acting as an MLB pitching coach, 3) working in the front office and 4) pitching at Coors Field. Wiley has done the first three, totalling 47 years of experience in pro baseball. He has not done #4, but that sample of candidates would be quite low anyway.

While the yet-to-be-named pitching coach will spend more time with the big league club, Wiley will also have his fingerprints on Drew Pomeranz and Alex White. Thomas Harding released a must-read column yesterday on Pomeranz and White, in which both candidly criticize the four-man rotation and admit the they have not been very good since the Ubaldo trade. Really, please read it.


Marco Scutaro travels west, finds home with Giants | News In case you haven't heard, Marco Scutaro was named NLCS MVP yesterday after setting a record for hits in an LCS. He has been nicknamed "Blockbuster," in the Giants clubhouse, a way to mock both the Dodgers (for Ramirez/Gonzalez/Crawford/Beckett) and the Rockies, for sending cash with the LCS MVP for Charlie Culberson.

"I wish I could see Dan O'Dowd right now," Scutaro said Sunday evening. "I'd kiss him on the lips. He made this happen for me. He told me he was going to send me to the team that was the best place for me to have a chance to win. He was right."

Salt meet wound.

Does a long at-bat create an advantage for the hitter? - Beyond the Box Score - It is one of those TV color analyst staples. Any at-bat that features 3+ foul balls or 6+ pitches automatically gets this comment, but is it really true? We clearly remember at-bats like Jason Werth's walkoff vs Lance Lynn, but that doesn't mean it happens that way more often than not. Great read.

Phil Coke's road to the majors was far short of glamorous - Grantland - I've advocated books like Bullpen Gospels by Dirk Hayhurst in the past, which cuts down the viney myths of what it is like to be your average minor league player. Jonah Keri explores this even more with Phil Coke.