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Isotopes pitching coach Darryl Scott keeps it positive with prospects

Scott stays on an even keel with all of his pitchers at Albuquerque

Isotopes pitchers credit coach Darryl Scott with keeping them positive and focused throughout the season.
Isotopes pitchers credit coach Darryl Scott with keeping them positive and focused throughout the season.
Courtesy of the Albuquerque Isotopes

Calmness, patience and positivity are not normally the three words one would associate with a pitching coach.

Especially not for a team in the Pacific Coast League, baseball’s most hitter-friendly circuit in the minors.

Yet during every Albuquerque Isotopes game, there is Darryl Scott, staying calm and patient and positive through the constant maelstrom of the Triple-A season.

"What makes him great in the Pacific Coast League in general, his mindset is an execution mindset, it’s not a results mindset," said Isotopes right-hander Jeff Hoffman. "When a guy starts to think about execution, not the result of the game, going out there (not) just to throw up zeroes and throw a seven-inning shutout, (instead) you’re going out there to execute one pitch at a time and one batter at a time and execute your game plan and all of that stuff, that’s what makes him so good."

Scott has had the task of guiding prospects like Hoffman, Kyle Freeland and Harrison Musgrave through the PCL minefield, as well as a dozen-plus other pitchers throughout the season. From starters to relievers, veterans to youngsters, he keeps the same even keel with all of them.

"There are definitely those guys that are pitching coaches, wherever they may be, that sometimes they want to put a stamp on a guy, or feel they’re a major part of that pitcher’s development to get them to the big leagues or whatever it may be," reliever Scott Oberg said. "For Darryl, I don’t think he’s really a guy that cares about that. He’d almost rather be in the shadows, helping a guy out. But he’s not going to take any credit for himself because he knows at the end of the day that particular pitcher has to comprehend, understand and then transition whatever the message is that Darryl is conveying to him and bringing that to the mound and executing his pitches."

For two seasons, the Isotopes pitchers have done just that, many taking those lessons to heart en route to pitching for the Rockies.

"I’ve worked with him for about five years now," catcher Dustin Garneau said. "He treats guys like professionals. He doesn’t use his authority and say you’ve got to do this or that. He works within a guy’s pitching mechanics or frameworks. He tries to be as positive as really he can. The more he does that, the more guys buy into what he’s saying."

Scott credited two of his own pitching coaches from his playing days with instilling his current style of handling players.

"I think probably the two biggest impacts were Dave Snow, who I had at Loyola Marymount, and Gary Ruby, who I had for a lot of years, we were together for six years in three different organizations," Scott said. "But Dave Snow probably more so from the mental side of things. He introduced me to Kenny Ravizza, who put me more on the path to looking at the mental side of the game instead of the physical side.

"Gary Ruby, from a coaching standpoint, was real good relationship-wise. That style fit me better as a player, where developing a relationship with a pitching didn’t always feel like it was just pitching. It felt like there was a friendship and a trust that developed no matter the situation, I felt comfortable discussing that with him.

"Being a father of three boys, I know how important that relationship is, developing that trust. I think my biggest thing is you can’t teach pitching if I can’t develop trust."

Having the trust and confidence from a pitching coach can be huge to a young pitcher going through the ups and downs of a season.

"It’s huge," Hoffman said. "You get that sense about somebody when they’re standing in front of you. You can tell if they’re pissed off or you can tell if you’re happy about it. There’s no fluctuation with Darryl, he’s the same every time. Whether he’s coming out to give you a break because you ran to cover first, or whether he’s coming out because you just walked two guys straight, it’s the same thing. The message is always the same also. Everything is over, we’re going to execute the next pitch. That’s the same thing he says every time he comes out there.

"Because we’re all working towards the same goal, which is to win in Denver. That’s what it’s about. It doesn’t matter if I can get it done, or this entire team can get it done, in the end all that matters is you execute, you do your job and you win in Denver."

Getting players through the mental, as well as physical hurdles of Triple-A is a tough task, but Scott never loses sight of that ultimate goal that Hoffman talked about.

"This is a very different level than any other level," Scott said. "You have guys coming up, you have guys going down, you have guys at a lot of different stages of their careers. You have to be very cognizant of where each guy is in that process.

"But ultimately whether they’ve come down and they’re working to get back up or they’re coming up and trying to get to that next level, it’s really kind of simplified. The goal is to be an impact big-league pitcher. That’s where I set my goals. My goal isn’t just to get somebody to the big leagues, the goal is to be impactful when they get there."

It’s that approach, combined with keeping things simple and always focusing on the positive, that makes Scott such a prized coach for his pitchers.

"That’s what makes him awesome, that’s why people love playing for him, it’s because he doesn’t harp on the negatives, he knows what guys do well, he knows how guys respond to certain things and he’s good at communicating what to do," Hoffman said.