Over the past decade and a half the A’s have been known mainly for their unbelievable pitching staffs. The people within that great pitching that have gotten the least amount of light shed on them however are the one’s who are with them almost everyday, fine tuning the pitcher’s mechanics and making sure the pitcher’s stay healthy. Those of course would be the pitching and bullpen coaches. One coach in particular however, has taken some young pitchers and pitchers looking to find their way to success in the Major Leagues. That man is none other than Curt Young.
September 19, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Oakland Athletics pitching coach Curt Young (41) on the phone to the bullpen during the eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Starting in 2004 Curt Young has been with the A’s his entire coaching career minus a brief one-year stint with the Boston Red Sox in 2011. Originally drafted by the A’s Young had some success at the Major League level with three different teams over the course of a ten-year career. He also played with the Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees for a season combined. There was a long gap between the end of Young’s playing career and the start of his coaching career, but the wait was worth it for the A’s.
In his tenure as A’s pitching coach, Curt Young has seen some great pitchers learn from his teachings. Just some of the pitchers are: Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson, Rich Harden, Dan Haren, Justin Duchscherer, Brandon McCarthy, etc. You could go on for sometime naming the pitchers that have successfully played for the A’s in Young’s tenure. While most of these pitchers were of the quality variety to begin with there is no doubt a tangible amount of respect and admiration that deservedly goes to Curt Young. Without his helping hand there is no doubting that the A’s would be much worse off over the past decade and a half.
One stat you can look at to see how good Young has been with the A’s is Team ERA. While ERA is not a stat that should be looked at too closely anymore with advanced stats and sabermetrics it should still be looked at at the team level. In his time with the A’s: ’04-10th, ’05-6th, ’06-7th, ’07-13th, ’08-10th, ’09-11th, ’10-4th, ’12-6th. This year the A’s Team ERA is 8th. Even with all the struggles and losing seasons the one thing that has always stayed the same is that the A’s pitching staff is one of the best and most consistent in baseball.
Starting pitchers and relievers get the glory. Pitching coaches get the tough conversations and the long nights of video reviewing. However, they are the ones that can make or break a team. Simple things like creating routines, noticing pitcher’s tipping their pitches, what pitches to call. All of these things go unnoticed for the most part, but are vital to a pitching staff’s success. Curt Young encompasses all of these attributes and more. That’s why the A’s have been able to make runs such as last year and this year.