Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Jays Lose Quality Control Coach, Whatever That Is, To Minnesota

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.

To wit:

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.”

Sure. OK.


    I know what QC is from a production standpoint. What that has to do with sports I have absolutely no idea.

    I assume his job was to sift through all the info given to him from the analytics and scouting departments and determine what would be useful to the rest of the coaching staff?

    Perhaps they should find a new, less-confusing name for this position.

    • Barry

      “I assume his job was to sift through all the info given to him from the analytics and scouting departments and determine what would be useful to the rest of the coaching staff?”

      It could be that. I took it more as a person who takes what the analytics people tell him, considers how it can be applied to players’ approaches and mechanics, and then passes on that translated message to the coaches. And it would, I think, go the other way too, with the QC person offering feedback from coaches to analytics about why player X just isn’t able to do whatever it is analytics wants, for example. And Coach QC probably also evaluates how well all of this is being integrated.

      But yeah, we’re guessing, because the title is wrong and the description vague.

  • Barry

    Given what the job appears to be, “quality control” seems like a lazy name that really has nothing to do with the job … or, at least, it has no more to do with that job than ANYONE’S job that is remotely coaching related.

    But whatever. I can see the value of having someone between the analytics people and the coaching staffs. If nothing else, the “quality control” person can translate geek speak to jock speak, with the added bonus that — one hopes — the coaches (who tend to be less about analytics) would, hopefully, react more pleasantly to input from a “quality control” person than to an analytics person emailing them Fangraphs links.