When any team loses a coach after 14 years, things are bound to feel foreign. The Dodgers were on the verge of going through that this year with Rick Honeycutt. Honey has been with the team since 2006 as the pitching coach, and he kept that role all the way through 2019.
Now, the Dodgers are looking to hand the reins over to a new generation of coaching in Mark Prior. Prior spent the last two seasons as the bullpen coach for Los Angeles, absorbing every bit of wisdom possible from Honey along the way.
Changing of the Guard
With the promotion of Mark Prior came the sudden rise of assistant pitching coach Connor McGuiness. McGuiness is just 31 years old and made a sudden jump to the big leagues all the way from Class-A Rancho Cucamonga.
He is a younger guy who has embraced a much deeper, DriveLine style of pitching analytics. The Dodgers also added Rob Hill of DriveLine as a consulting pitching coordinator. The duo preaches the study of biodynamics, spins rates, and other deep analytical metrics.
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It’s not how the Dodgers have played the last 14 years, but the team recognizes the need to change with the times.
“We have to understand why we’re changing, and I get that. At the end of the day, it’s, ‘How do you help somebody the best?’ If you have a lot of guys that specialize in a lot of different things, you have a lot of different avenues to help people, which is good.” – Clayton Kershaw
If Clayton Kershaw is willing to change, then you know you have found something successful. It seems as though the entire team is embracing this new coaching style, and the spring results bode well already. If the Dodgers can use these new analytics to improve spin rates and velocity, the rest of the league is in a lot of trouble.