John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Managing the Future of the Toronto Blue Jays Pt.2

As a follow up to my piece on the coaching staff of the Buffalo Bisons, let’s take a look at who will be managing the (little more distant) future of the Toronto Blue Jays. Here is a profile* of the coaching staff of the New Hampshire FisherCats, the Jays AA affiliate that plays out of the Eastern League.

 

Manager- Bobby Meacham

As a Player:

Drafted by the St Louis Cardinals in the amateur draft (8th overall) in 1981. Bob Meacham played 6 seasons for the New York Yankees as a short stop. In 1985 he led the American League with 23 sacrifice hits.

As a Coach/Manager:

1993- minor league coach in Colorado Rockies organization

1994-2001- minor league coach in Pittsburgh Pirates organization

2002- manager of Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Advanced A affiliate for the Angels)

2005- roving infield instructor for Rockies’ organization

2006- Joe Girardi chose him as third base coach for the Florida Marlins

2007- First base coach for San Diego Padres

2008- Yankees (with Girardi) third base coach.

2009- Hitting coach in the Phillies organization.

2010-12- First base coach for Houston Astros.

2013- Manager of Dunedin Blue Jays

2014- Manager of New Hampshire FisherCats

This coming season could prove very interesting for Bobby Meacham. Throughout the season, he will have come in contact with several players who are expected to have an impact on the big league club sooner or later. I’m really hopeful that Meacham’s experience as an infielder and infield instructor can benefit the Jays. With the situation at second, it sure would be nice to have a solid option emerge. Even if that option takes a while. Some will progress slower than others and the real gems of Toronto’s minor league system may not even reach Meacham this season. When it does happen though, it will be fun to watch the real depth of the system get closer and closer.

 

Hitting Coach- Jon Nunnally

As a Player:

Drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 1992’s amateur draft in the third round. In six MLB seasons Nunnally was an outfielder for the Kansas City Royals, Cincinnati Reds, New York Mets and Boston Red Sox. He finished his career with a slash line of .246/.354/.469. In 2005, while playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates AAA team, Nunnally was suspended for 15 games for use of PED’s.

As a Coach/Manager:

2006- started coaching in the Cleveland Indians organization

2009- hitting coach for Cleveland Indians. He was fired in June, 2011.

2012- hitting coach for New Hampshire FisherCats

2013- hitting coach for AAA Buffalo Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays)

2014- moved to AA New Hampshire FisherCats

What strikes me is that Cleveland promoted Nunnally to their big league hitting coach after only a few years of coaching. The Indians obviously saw something in Nunnally’s coaching that prompted a relatively quick promotion. In 2012, Nunnally’s hitters finished third in the Eastern League with 121 homeruns. The power is always a welcome addition, especially to fans who really have an affinity for the long ball. But, in an interview in August, 2013 Nunnally also preaches a focus on using the whole field. All of this sounds like the elements of an effective hitting coach. In retrospect, the quick promotion by the Indians doesn’t seem so crazy.

 

Pitching Coach- Jim Czajkowski

As a Player: Drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 29th round of the 1986 amateur draft. Czajkowski made his MLB debut on July 29, 1994 and pitched in five games for the Colorado Rockies. He pitched in the Toronto Blue Jays organization in 1996 & 1997.

As a Coach/Manager:

2000-2011- coaching in the Atlanta Braves organization

2012/13- Pitching Coach for Vancouver Canadians (Toronto’s North West League affiliate)

2014- Pitching coach for the New Hampshire FisherCats

Czajkowski has previously stated that (in a 2012 interview with KP Wee) that he has a goal of conditioning pitchers.

 “My role is specifically dealing with the pitchers and getting them ready, making sure the guys are healthy, continuing our throwing and conditioning program that we’ve set up for them, [and] making sure it’s adhered to. Basically, it’s trying to keep everyone healthy “

Um, pardon? Did he say he wants to condition pitchers? But, wouldn’t that mean they could avoid injuries?! OK, I’m sold! That is the kind of stuff we need. As pitchers progress through the system, they need to develop solid regimens in order to decrease strain and injury. Nothing is guaranteed, but still. Some healthy pitching would be nice, no? Considering the rave reviews of Toronto’s pitchers yet to come, this is great news. As well, in 2012, Czajkowski’s pitching staff had one of the top ERA’s in the Northwestern League on their way to winning the championship. I am very excited to see how Spring Training shakes down and to see which pitchers he gets to work with.

Once again, it would appear the future of the Toronto Blue Jays is in good hands.

_________________________________________

*Information gathered from Wikipedia, Baseball Reference, OurSportsCentral.com and FisherCats website

Tags: New Hampshire Fisher Cats (AA) Toronto Blue Jays

comments powered by Disqus