Earlier this week the New York Yankees . Rothschild had been at the helm since 2011, and, during his tenure, New York's pitching staff ranked fourth in baseball with 169.5 WAR. Only the Dodgers, Indians, and Nationals were better.
Interestingly enough, the Yankees are focusing on college coaches early in their pitching coach search. ESPN's Jeff Passan and D1 Baseball's Kendall Rogers report New York has interviewed Michigan's Chris Fetter and Arkansas' Matt Hobbs. Also, Rogers says the Yankees reached out to Arizona's Nate Yeskie and Texas Christian's Kirk Saarloos, but both declined to interview.
Earlier this year the Yankees hired several college coaches for minor league roles, including former Iowa pitching coach Desi Druschel and former Southeast Missouri State hitting coach Dillon Lawson,. They also hired Sam Briend away from Driveline Baseball, an independent baseball training facility with an emphasis on analytics.
Here's what GM Brian Cashman told reporters, including the New York Post's Dan Martin, following the Briend hire:
"Last year we hired Dillon Lawson to be our hitting coordinator to transition our minor league program into the new world order and making sure we are using every tool in the toolbox,'' general manager Brian Cashman said at the time of Briend's hiring. "There are loads of technology and analytics and data which we are on top of. What we are not on top of, we will close the gap.''
The Yankees are one of the most analytically inclined teams in baseball and, in addition to Rothschild, they moved on from several longtime minor league instructors following the 2019 season. Druschel, Lawson, and Briend are among the new school hires taking the reigns of the team's minor league system. Now they're looking at college coaches for their MLB pitching coach job as well.
Jumping from college to the big league coaching ranks is rare but not unprecedented. Just last year the Twins hired Arkansas pitching coach Wes Johnson (Hobbs replaced him). Others, like Reds pitching coach Derek Johnson (Vanderbilt) and Brewers bench coach Pat Murphy (Arizona State) took a more traditional path through the minors before reaching MLB.
Fetter is considered a "rising star in the industry," according to Passan, and he has drawn significant interest from MLB teams. Before rejoining his alma mater as pitching coach, Fetter pitched and coached in the Padres' farm system, scouted for the Angels, and spent time with the Dodgers as their minor league pitching coordinator. He has a wealth of experience despite being only 33.
Under Fetter the Wolverines posted the tenth lowest ERA in Division I this past season, and advanced to the College World Series championship round. It was Michigan's first trip to the College World Series since 1984. Righty Karl Kauffman and lefty Tommy Henry both developed into high 2019 draft picks under Fetter.
Hobbs, 39, is a veteran college coach who was drafted twice but never did play pro ball. His coaching career has taken him from UC San Diego to the University of San Francisco to Wake Forest to Arkansas. Righty Isaiah Campbell and lefty Matt Cronin were both high draft picks out of Arkansas this year.