Jon Heyman reports that the Blue Jays have an new opening on their coaching staff, as Derek Shelton, who spent this year as the club’s “Quality Control” coach, has moved on to Minnesota, where he will become Paul Molitor’s bench coach.
Twins hired derek shelton as bench coach. Coached for nyy, TB and tor. Good hire.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 6, 2017
What are the Blue Jays actually losing here? Well, other than obviously a valued voice in the dugout, it’s not exactly clear. “Quality control” is a relatively new concept in the game. It’s certainly not a Jays-only one, though. The Tigers recently announced the hiring of one, who they say will serve as a liason between the analytics department and the coaching staff, while it was also reported today that the Red Sox will hire their first this year as well — new manager Alex Cora worked with one in Houston and wanted someone “for lack of better term, to blend analytics with scouting/video.”
Back when Shelton came on board a year ago, the way the Jays described his duties was slightly different. John Lott of the Athletic got the following response from the Jays when the hiring was made last December:
“Derek will oversee our advance scouting process and make recommendations in decision-making and approach to John Gibbons, Pete Walker and DeMarlo Hale as well as individual players.
“He will also work to complement Brook Jacoby in our efforts to give our hitters the best chance to succeed by providing all of the necessary resources.
“Derek has many strengths but one of them will be synthesizing a lot of evolving information into a digestible and usable format for our staff and players.”
Ben Nicholson-Smith wrote about Shelton for Sportsnet in February, quoting Ross Atkins as describing the job like this:
“There’s more to the title than the two words in it,” Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins added. “He’ll be impacting not only hitting but collaborating with our defence and pitching and working with our analytics to help our players get better on an individual to individual level.”
Shelton was a known commodity for the front office — though rarely cited in the conversation we often have with utter fucking morons about “cronies,” Shelton was actually Cleveland’s hitting coach from 2005 to 2009 — but apparently that familiarity wasn’t enough to keep him from being swayed by Minnesota’s offer to be Molitor’s bench coach. A promotion, I suppose — though, interestingly, that new Detroit quality control coach mentioned above is Joe Vavara, who left his job as the Twins’ bench coach to take the gig!
Whatever it is, the Jays’ coaching staff suddenly has a hole. Shi Davidi reports that the club is indeed “looking for a new quality control coach.”