The real reason the Texas Rangers moved on from pitching coach Doug Brocail
By Travis Koch
Pitching coach Doug Brocail has been let go by the Texas Rangers. Given the current rebuild and the new manager, the move makes sense. But those aren’t the main reasons he’s gone.
The Texas Rangers have decided to part ways with pitching coach Doug Brocail. Brocail held the position from 2016-2018. This is not surprising; with the Rangers rebuilding, players aren’t safe, nor are coaches.
Jeff Banister got the boot, leading to the eventual hiring of new manager, Chris Woodward. Texas also let go hitting coach, Anthony Iapoce, and first base coach, Steve Buechele. Coaches that survived the reboot include Tony Beasley, Jayce Tingler and Don Wakamatsu. Coaches still on the hook include Hector Ortiz and Dan Warthen.
Back to Doug Brocail…
The Rangers’ pitching staff was very poor under his three-year watch. The bunch ranked 22nd in team ERA in 2016, 21st in 2017 and 28th in 2018. An argument can certainly be made that Brocail didn’t have the greatest talent to work with during his tenure. While that is a valid argument, we all know coaches get the blame ahead of players.
What stood out the most, and what very well may have cost Brocail his job, is the lackluster performances of left-handers’ Martin Perez and Cole Hamels.
Once one of the organization’s premier prospects, there was always the belief that Perez could be a quality starting pitcher at the big league level. He had a great season back in 2013 when he posted a 3.62 ERA and a 10-6 record. Though, since then, he’s been an ongoing project, and Doug Brocail was unable to complete the project.
Perez struggled while Mike Maddux was the team’s pitching coach as well; however, Perez’s numbers ballooned so out of control this past season that he ended up losing his job. Not too longer after, Brocail lost his.
Next, we analyze Brocail’s handling of Cole Hamels.
Unlike Martin Perez, Hamels found sustainable big league success pretty much immediately. He’s long been known as a member of MLB’s top-tier of starting pitchers and he even has a World Series MVP to his name. Thus, there were no excuses to be found once he became part of Brocail’s staff in 2016.
Hamels was outstanding in 2016. He went 15-5 with a 3.32 ERA, pitching over 200 innings and making over 30 starts. For whatever reason, he only got worse from there.
Hamels posted a 4.20 ERA in 2017 and then finished his time in Texas with a very disappointing 4.72 ERA prior to being traded this past July.
The initial thought was the great left-hander was losing his ability. 2018 was his age 34 season, his fastball velocity had dropped a little, and he wasn’t commanding the strike zone like he so customarily did throughout his career. Hold those thoughts…
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He then joined the Chicago Cubs in the second half of 2018 and completely dominated. Hamels gave the Cubs a 2.36 ERA over 12 starts and helped get them over the hump and into the playoffs. He went from allowing 1.8 home runs per nine innings to 0.7.
Suddenly, the pointer finger redirected towards Doug Brocail. And Hamels wasn’t the only ace that got away under Brocail’s tutelage. Let’s not forget about the nose dive Yu Darvish took before being traded to the Dodgers in 2017. Darvish had seen his ERA settle over 4.00 for the first time in his career. His sudden drop off in performance cost him a lot of trade value.
Sound familiar? The Texas Rangers traded Hamels after his trade value plummeted as well.
Yes, Doug Brocail had to deal with a revolving door of starters and relievers, especially in 2018. But it was his shortcomings in relation to the established Rangers pitchers that lost his favor with the front office. Couple that the current rebuild and there was no better time to send him packing.