Lindbergh: Baseball’s new kind of coach: defensive coordinators

From SABR member Ben Lindbergh at Baseball Prospectus on November 20, 2013:

A few months ago, in a guest piece for BP, Gabe Kapler made the case for hiring Matt Martin, a coach whose passion and instructional skills had impressed him in the minors. On Monday, the Detroit Tigers took his advice, adding Martin to new manager Brad Ausmus’ staff.

The 44-year-old’s resume looks like that of many major-league coaches: some experience as a professional player, followed by close to two decades of minor-league coaching experience. His title is a lot less typical: “Defensive Coordinator,” a position familiar to football fans (though the NFL’s “Quality Control Coach” is a closer equivalent) but almost unknown in baseball.*

It’s about to become much more common. Martin is just one of three men hired this month to play a similar role next season. The first was Mark Weidemaier, a former advance scout and special assistant who new Nationals manager Matt Williams brought with him from the Diamondbacks to serve as Washington’s “Defensive Coordination and Advance Coach.” Next was Martin, followed by Rick Eckstein, whom the Angels hired on Tuesday as a “Player Information Coach.”

The titles differ from team to team, but the job descriptions are essentially the same.

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Originally published: November 20, 2013. Last Updated: November 20, 2013.