Earlier this winter, the Cubs lost their Minor League pitching coordinator, Jim Brower, to the Mariners, when he was offered a promotion to be a coach on the Major League staff. Ya can’t hold that against him.
In the meantime, while awaiting word on who’d be brought in (or promoted) to replace him, Mike Pinto broke the news:
Congratulations to former Miners pitching coach Brendan Sagara (2009) who has been named the Minor League Pitching Coordinator for the Chicago Cubs organization. #AlwaysaMiner pic.twitter.com/dOOVSJr50F
— Mike Pinto (@MikePinto3) January 11, 2018
Then, at the Cubs Convention this past weekend, Cubs President Theo Epstein confirmed the hiring, so it’s safe to say it’s officially official: Brendan Sagara is the Cubs new Minor League pitching coordinator.
And of course, as we discussed this morning, he has a lot of work to do:
The Cubs organization has been pouring resources into pitcher development in the organization over the past two years especially, and I think we’re really going to see the fruits of that this season, when so many pitching prospects have the potential to emerge as top 100 types. Consider that all of Adbert Alzolay, Jose Albertos, Oscar De La Cruz, Brendon Little, Alex Lange, Thomas Hatch, and a few others are all capable of breaking out (or sustaining a breakout already underway) in the first half this year and getting consideration in the midseason top 100 lists. They have to get there, of course, but it’s been a very long time since the Cubs’ farm system looked like this on the pitching side.
I can’t say much about Sagara’s pitching philosophy or organizational strategy, but we know the Cubs have done well bringing in talented non-player personnel in the past and there’s no reason to think this should be any different. Sagara was mentioned together with pitching whisperer Jim Benedict as a big part of what the Cubs are doing to improve their pitching infrastructure, so clearly they think very highly of him.
Sagara, 42, is a long-time minor league pitching coach, having worked in a range of organizations, and was most recently the assistant minor league pitching coordinator in the Marlins organization (where, you’ll note, Benedict just came from).
If you’re dying to see what he looks and sounds like, you can check out this old interview from his time as a pitching coach in Hawaii:
If and when someone gets another mic in front of him and captures his thoughts, we’ll dig deeper into what his presence can bring to the Cubs organization, but for now, just know the position has been filled.