I've had a hard time putting into coherent words my concern about Nolan taking control of the pitching situation with the Rangers, and now I don't think I have to...
Over at the DMN blog, Hindman analyzes many of Tom Hicks' comments from yesterday, and while I don't agree with everything Mike says, I do think he crystallizes my issues with Ryan and the minor league pitching quite well:
"Nolan is putting together the Nolan Ryan philosophy of pitching plan," Hicks said. "We're going to try to implement that throughout the system. Pitching has been an issue here for a long time. We've got an opportunity to change that."
This concerns me. Let me say at the onset, that I've never been completely sold on the idea that you can't push young pitchers. I tend to believe that leaning on them can be the right thing to do in a lot of cases, but not all. I don't believe you can treat them all the same. Just like you can't limit yourselves to scouting and drafting only one kind of pitcher, you can't assume that every pitcher with the ability to deliver quality service time to the big league club can be developed in the same way.
Dictum coming down from the Hall of Fame Mountain Top scares me. As I've said many times before, I think that minor league pitching coordinator Rick Adair knows what he's doing. He's been at the controls as Edinson Volquez and John Danks were developed in this system. He was at the helm as Chris Young made his dramatic metamorphsis in this system. He was at the helm as Armando Galarraga seemed to find something special last summer. And he's been at the helm as guys like Derek Holland and Neftali Feliz have skyrocketed into national consciousness. He's leading what experts throughout the industry are calling the deepest pitching prospect collection in all of the minors, and with very few exceptions, these heralded prospects all improved this year.
What I fear is that Ryan, who doesn't (and should not and can't be expected to) know a tenth as much about the individual pitchers in this system as Adair does, will start to issue demands that pitchers be handled a certain way and that Adair and the pitching coaches are backed into a corner of trying to force young players to do things that they can't do. Drive-by pitching coordination frightens me.