BY SPNW Staff 12:20PM 11/06/2018

Mariners’ new pitching coach big on analytics

In keeping with the plan to drive the franchise with data, the Mariners Tuesday hired Paul Davis, who had been manager of pitching analytics with the St. Louis Cardinals, to replace Mel Stottlemyre Jr. as pitching coach for 2019.

A five-year member of the Cardinals staff, Davis was assistant pitching coordinator for the club’s minor leagues in 2016 and 2017.

“Paul is a bright pitching mind with a very diverse background,” general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a press release. “He has exceptional understanding of the mechanics of pitching, as well as the balance to make evidence-based decisions.”

Davis, who did not play pro baseball but had two seasons (1984-85) as a college pitcher at Creighton, began his pro coaching career in 2013, working with the Cardinals advanced rookie team as the pitching coach. He returned to that role in 2014, but added responsibilities as coordinator of pitching analytics.

“I’m excited to add Paul to our coaching group,” manager Scott Servais said. “As we’ve talked in recent weeks, it became clear that his philosophies, experience and skill-set made him a great fit for what we are building here.”

Davis, a Florida native, has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Creighton (1985), a bachelor of science degree in history education from Peru State College (2004) and a Masters in educational administration from the University of Nebraska (2004). He took advanced course work in leadership studies at Nebraska through 2007, lacking only a dissertation for his doctoral (PhD) degree.

Stottlemyre was let go Oct. 1 after the Mariners won 89 games but missed the playoffs for the 17th year in a row. Hitting coach Edgar Masrtinez asked out of his job, and accepted a lesser position in the organization.

“Mel has been with me here since I got the job for the last three years,” Servais told the Seattle Times. “I have a very close relationship with Mel. I just thought with where we are at currently and where we want to go moving forward, I thought we should go with a different voice and a different direction there.”



  • 1coolguy

    Paul Davis must have been out of options. The M’s are a baseball graveyard

    • art thiel

      It’s his first time to be an MLB pitching coach. Why wouldn’t he?

      • bugzapper

        Yeah, that’s what the M’s need. Another unproven first-timer in the club’s most critical coaching position. Maury Wills wasn’t available?

  • coug73

    The analytics say good bye Felix and thanks for all the innings. Or, do you believe in magic and Felix learns to rebuild his approach to pitching.

    • art thiel

      Felix needs to be a one-inning set-up guy in the pen, something for which he’s not suited psychologically or physically. So I have idea what they do with him. Maybe DH.

      • coug73

        He would love getting more at bats. Racking it.

  • jafabian

    I thought Mel did a good job considering what he had to work with. David Phelps was lost in the Spring, Felix struggled and there wasn’t a starting pitcher brought in during the offseason offseason who could eat up innings despite the glaring need. Outside of Diaz the bullpen was patchwork but did a credible job. Wade, Marco and Leake have developed nicely. So I don’t really think Mel should be placed blame but I’m intrigued at getting someone from within the Cardinals organization, considering the success they’ve had over the years.

    • art thiel

      I think Stottlemyre did well, but Dipoto wants buy-in on data usage. In his previous job, the Angels manager refused to use analytics, and Dipoto was ousted.

  • Guy K. Browne

    Taking a broader look, are analytics killing baseball? That seems to be the drumbeat from the crusty old-school fraternity of players and coaches, but then, they’re the ones who are out of a job… Seems like if you’re on the winning end you don’t care about analytics, you’re winning. For everyone else (mediocre teams or worse), what joy is there in watching your team calculate that they aren’t there yet and so, save money and tank another year?

    • art thiel

      Analytics are just the latest tool, as were batting helmets and instant replay. Tools are neither bad nor good. It’s how you use the opportunity the tools provide. Analytics allow teams to make better informed decisions, like where to play defenders relative to where hitters usually hit the ball. The shift has cut offense, so it’s up to baseball to change. Like, lowering the mound?

      • bugzapper

        The shift has cut offense because the hitters can’t adapt. Kyle Seager being the poster boy.

        People who fool around with “baseball analytics” are just guys who couldn’t cut it as actuaries.

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