In a stunning move, the Chicago Cubs moved on from bullpen coach Lester Strode. His replacement is one of the game’s more regarded up-and-comers.
Chris Young will serve on David Ross’ staff as the new bullpen coach of the Chicago Cubs, according to multiple reports. It’s a different Chris Young than the really tall guy who pitched in the Majors and won a World Series with the Royals.
Young served as the pitching coach for the Phillies last season and even though that didn’t go as planned, he is still a highly respected guy throughout baseball. Before getting his on-field uniform job last year, he was a pro scout for the Astros and Padres.
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He was the scouting supervisor for the Astros in 2017, and just a scout from 2015-16. He scouted from the Padres from 2010-14. There, he worked with current Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer for one year with the Padres, so there is a little bit of familiarity with some members of the front office.
In this day and age, being able to take anybody who worked for the Astros is a good thing, since they appear to be so far ahead of the curve in terms of baseball philosophy.
Young played six seasons in the minors and was originally drafted by the Rockies back in the 2002 draft. He spent time in the Pirates and Marlins farm systems before hanging it up in 2008.
Chicago offered Strode another position within the organization, although the details of the position and whether he will accept have not been mentioned.
Young’s time as pitching coach saw the Phillies’ team ERA rise from 4.14 in 2018 to 4.53 in 2019. Albeit, the league ERA went from 4.14 to 4.49 during his time in Philadelphia. The Phillies were decimated by pitching injuries this year, so Young was a bit handcuffed in what he could do. He was not retained by Joe Girardi and let go along with former manager Gabe Kapler.
The Cubs have talked about wanting to be more analytics-driven, and Young will help here. The Astros don’t employ anybody who isn’t fully bought in to the analytics movement that has overtaken baseball.
Since we wrote about David Ross’potential staff last week, there have already been two casualties off the staff. Brian Butterfield is now the Angels’ third base coach under Joe Maddon, and now Strode is potentially gone. Jon Heyman tweeted Thursday that quality assurance coach Chris Denorfia will also not be back in 2020. Denorfia played for the Cubs in 2015 and has stayed with the organization in some capacity ever since.
According to Patrick Mooney of The Athletic (subscription required), pitching coach Tommy Hottovy, hitting coach Anthony Iapoce and catching coach Mike Borzello will all return to the coaching staff next year, lending some stability the Cubs need to get rolling again in 2020.