Wednesday, October 22, 2008

John Farrell: The Next Great Manager

John Farrell is one of smartest baseball minds out their right now.  He's not only been a coach but has also worked in the front office and has played the game of baseball.  This guy just knows pitching.  He can recognize pitching talent, he can develop pitching talent and can elevate pitching talent.  He is currently the pitching coach of the Boston Red Sox(since 2007) and was formerly the Director of Player Development for the Indians(2001-2006).  We both know the level of pitching in these two places is extremely high.  Since 2002 the Indians have never been out of the top five minor league systems in all of baseball.  In 2007 John Farrell led the Sox rotation to a 3.87 ERA in a hitters park which was second to only San Diego who have amazing pitching teachers(Bud Black, Darren Balsley), and also play in an extreme pitchers park and posted a 3.68 ERA.

Under Farrell's watchful eye the Indians farm system slowly ascended to the top of the MLB. He signed and developed players like Fausto Carmona, Jeremy Guthrie(now with the Orioles), Jeremy Sowers, Rafael Perez, Rafael Betancourt and more. He also produced three current top 100 prospects that the Indians have: Aaron Laffey(LHP), Adam Miller(top 15) and Chuck Lofgren(LHP).

With the Red Sox he has worked wonders for Justin Masterson, Jon Lester, Hideki Okajima, Manny Delcarmen and Javier Lopez along with overseeing the terrific Josh Beckett, Jon Papelbon and Tim Wakefield and has really eased the transition for Dice-K.  The Red Sox have a rotation consisting of Beckett, Dice-K, Lester, Wakefield and Buchholz(needs a lot of work). They also probably have the best bullpen in the MLB with Papelbon(also a starter), Masterson(also a starter), Delcarmen, Okajima, Javier Lopez and rookie Michael Bowden(a top prospect who's a starter).  

The one thing that truly amazes me is that all these pitchers are different from the next. Papelbon has the demeanor of a closer and has overpowering stuff, Masterson on the other hand is a sinkerballer with excellent command.  Okajima comes at you from the strangest arm-slots and angles, and Delcarmen is a power pitcher with outstanding breaking stuff(curveball, changeup). Then there is Javier Lopez who's a sidearmer and a lefty specialist but can face right handers one in a while, and Michael Bowden the highly touted prospect who has run out of minor league stops(he's dominated everywhere).

As you can see wherever Farrell has gone his teams pitching has flourished, now since he's had two years of tutelage under Terry Francona(arguably the best manager in the game) he should be ready to manage in the bigs.  He knows how to handle a bullpen, knows how to handle the media(he's a coach in Boston) and has probably learned how to be a successful manager from Francona(a great tactician, a winner, a leader, disciplinarian, settles clubhouse issues).  All this could mean that the MLB has a great manager in the making over in Boston and someone should get a hold of him(hopefully the Mets).