Caleb Cotham completes journey from Major League pitcher to pitching coach in only five years

The Phillies will expect new pitching coach Caleb Cotham to bring out the best in staff ace Aaron Nola. Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Forget about the heater, Ricky. Give ’em the biomechanics!

Former Major League pitcher Caleb Cotham was named the next pitching coach of the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday. He’ll be the team’s fifth pitching coach in the last five years.

In the summer of 2015, I saw Cotham make two appearances for the Trenton Thunder in the Eastern League. I was a pro scout for the Tampa Bay Rays at the time. In my report, I considered him upper-level minor league depth and noted “right place, right time, he gets a cup of coffee.” He found the right place later that…


San Francisco’s renewed playoff hopes leaves buyers and sellers waiting

Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

After Friday night’s walk-off win over the New York Mets, the San Francisco Giants find themselves at .500 for the first time since the season began. They’ve moved to within two games of a National League Wild Card, joining five other teams separated by only three games for the two playoff spots. This is what a 13–2 July can do for an erstwhile lifeless club.

The Giants appeared poised to punt on the 2019 season and trade their most valuable pieces to contending teams as recently as last week. …


A silent trend within baseball has eliminated roles for big league hitters

Oberazzi on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

The game of baseball is always changing. Nobody denies it, even when not everybody likes it. Spin rates and exit velocities have replaced wins and RBIs in industry jargon. As the past two winters have shown, teams value young controllable players — often making league-minimum salaries — over veterans on the back end of their careers who typically demand guaranteed contracts and place constraints on roster flexibility.

In-game strategy has undergone significant change, and teams throughout the league are quick to copy pioneering teams who have demonstrated success. Now roster construction has followed suit.

In a league where intellectual property…

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash


Weekly roundup of MLB news and notes

As it often happens during the baseball season, writers identify a trend and cover it a variety of ways. This season’s home run explosion is no great secret, and it’s been receiving more attention from the media as of late.

Ken Rosenthal detailed his views on it Thursday, and he closed his column by saying he has the “same uneasy feeling” he did during the steroid era. Other articles have followed, chronicling the absurdity of the homers, including the 13-HR output between the D-backs and Phillies last Monday.

Nobody, including officials with Major League Baseball, denies that the current baseball…

Photo by Joshua Peacock on Unsplash

Navigating an era in which technology tops turnstiles

Five years ago, when I was working for the Arizona Diamondbacks, a colleague from our business operations team remarked that future Major League Baseball stadiums would be designed with a capacity of only 20,000–25,000 seats. His reasoning was straightforward and logical: the at-home experience was too enjoyable for fans to pass up. Flat-screen TVs had become ubiquitous, and broadcasting capabilities presented viewers with higher definition as well as more angles and insights than ever before. …

Ryan Isaac

Former baseball operations staffer (Padres and D-backs) and pro scout (Rays and Twins); wine | @RyanLIsaac

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