The Orioles officially announced their 2022 coaching staff earlier this week, which included newly hired hitting coaches Matt Borgschulte and Ryan Fuller. There weren’t any other new faces, but a pair of returning coaches will be shifting to new roles, including Jose Hernandez moving from assistant hitting coach to the broader role of Major League coach.
Fredi Gonzalez had been working as the club’s Major League coach for the last two seasons, and he will now move into the role of bench coach to manager Brandon Hyde. As MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko explains, this amounts to little more than a title change for Gonzalez, as “he pretty much handled the responsibilities” of a bench coach in his previous role. The former Marlins and Braves manager will now officially step in as Hyde’s chief lieutenant, and Gonzalez would also manage the O’s in the event that Hyde is ejected from a game.
Several other organizational changes were also announced, Kubatko details, with the Orioles making some new hirings and re-arranging some internal personnel. The staffing changes address such departments as draft operations, strength and conditioning, and development analysts at both the MLB and minor league levels.
Baltimore’s analytics staff is also the subject of a recent interview between The Baltimore Sun’s Jon Meoli and Orioles VP and assistant GM Sig Mejdal, who oversees the department. Mejdal and Orioles GM Mike Elias previously worked together with the Astros, and after Elias was hired to run the O’s front office in November 2018, Mejdal was almost immediately hired away from Houston and tasked with essentially building an analytics department from scratch.
Three-plus years later, Mejdal said the department has grown from a single employee to a dozen, with plans for more hirings and interns to join the staff this offseason. Meoli’s piece is an insightful look at what Mejdal has already achieved in Baltimore and how he is constantly looking to refine the analytics process, particularly when it comes to disseminating and adjusting the statistical info to best fit the needs of the players and coaches. This isn’t to say that the human element is being overlooked whatsoever, as Mejdal noted that “analytics are so well-spread that often the differentiators are the humans in the loop. The importance we put on the coaches, the managers, the scouts is greater now than I’ve ever seen in baseball.”