Buck Britton and Kyle Moore went through a training process to become managers of Baltimore’s top league affiliates – Baltimore Sun


Buck Britton doesn’t consider himself a reader, and the nine books he skimmed through last year while running the Orioles’ Double-A affiliate did little to change that self-perception.

But each has provided him with something he believes will benefit him throughout this year as manager of Triple-A Norfolk. On the recommendation of Ryan Fuller, then his hitting coach with Bowie and now one of two in the majors with Baltimore, Britton read several books on leadership from Jocko Willink, a former Navy SEAL. Simon Sinek’s “The Infinite Game” explained how life, unlike baseball, has no winners and losers, just front and back. One of Fuller’s favorites, Doug Lemov’s “The Coach’s Guide to Teaching,” further emphasizes the importance of Britton’s role in player training and how to go about it.

“Just kind of getting some new tools in my toolbox, if you will, to be able to help these guys and hopefully guide these guys in their careers,” Britton said.

In Britton and Kyle Moore, who left High-A Aberdeen to replace Britton at Bowie, managers from Baltimore’s two highest minor league affiliates played, coached and managed under the Orioles’ previous front office groups. Although the organization has seen many changes since Mike Elias became executive vice president and general manager in November 2018, Britton, 35, and Moore, 36, have only seen their roles grow.

“Obviously the Orioles are rebuilding and you’re seeing a lot of staff turnover,” Moore said. “So when the front office says they trust me and believe in me enough to let me lead their Double-A team, I think that says a lot. It’s just kind of a little tip of the hat or a vote of confidence in me which really gives me the fire to seize this opportunity.

These opportunities came by showing a constant drive to grow and a desire to learn from those around them who perhaps had a better understanding of the organization’s methodologies.

Like Britton, Moore prepared to teach by going through a process of education himself. He led Aberdeen when it was the Orioles’ short-season affiliate in 2018, but as he prepared to lead Low-A Delmarva in 2019 under the new front office, Moore realized that ‘in reviewing the organization’s analysis material, he did not understand some of the numbers or even their associated abbreviations.

With the help of Deputy General Manager for Analysis Sig Mejdal and Delmarva Technology Coordinator David Barry – who now serves as a player development analyst for hitting — Moore has been working hard to understand the new information so that it can be properly delivered to players.

“I think it was a lot to take those first steps to step up and say, ‘Look, I know I’m behind the curve, and I know I don’t really understand a lot of things, but I would like that you explain it to me as many times as necessary before I can figure it out,” Moore said. “Fortunately for me, there are people around who were able to do it.

“I like to think that I’ve become much more educated about a modern baseball school and how technology and data are used to teach. I’ve always thought of myself as a teacher from day one. My parents were teachers I’m a teacher; I happen to teach baseball.”

That perspective, along with the organizational prerequisites of humility, collaboration and a growth mindset, defines what the Orioles look for in their minor league managers, said Director of Player Development Matt. Blood. He noted how open Britton and Moore have always been to the changes in approach this front office has brought.

“They’re not just tasteless, they do anything and everything you just throw against the wall,” Blood said. “They still have a backbone, but they have the ability to listen and consider new ideas that they see like, ‘OK, this could help me. Let me learn about this.

“They both embraced many of the new ideas this group brought to them, and they were also willing, to their credit, to work closely with their staff to learn from the people around them and continually get better.”

Blood cited as an example the organization’s philosophy on swing decisions, where hitters are trained to emphasize pitches they can do damage on, even if that leads to increased strikes on offers. limits which could be called strikes. Going into Sunday, Norfolk and Bowie were second in their respective leagues in walks, a partial by-product of not chasing pitches that won’t lead to productive results anyway.

Britton and Moore lead these teams at a time when they are critical to the Orioles’ plans for success. Britton can’t wait to tell players they’ve been promoted to the majors, and the hope is he can do that with top 10 prospects Adley Rutschman, Grayson Rodriguez, Kyle Stowers, Kyle Bradish and others in the coming months. . Moore must balance playing time between infielders Gunnar Henderson, Jordan Westburg and Joey Ortiz, each of whom could be Baltimore’s shortstop of the future.

The fact that they are in a position to take on these responsibilities is a credit to how they have managed and embraced change over the past three years.

“There was so much more information that was passed on to me, I learned a lot of data, I learned different ways of coaching and teaching, maybe a different language to help players figure things out,” Britton said. “I think the fundamental ideas are still the same, but it just opened the door to so many different ways of attacking different issues, looking at the game from a different angle, getting some of the perspectives of these other coaches with the guys that this organization brought in. Just a lot of information.

“You get people from different backgrounds who have been exposed to different things and different ideas, and through conversation, that leads to more conversation, deeper conversation.”

After their week in California, the Orioles get a fortnight in the Eastern Time Zone, visiting the New York Yankees for three games before hosting the Boston Red Sox to begin a 10-game homestand.

With the Orioles winning a home series against the Yankees from April 15-17, Baltimore earns back-to-back wins over New York for the first time since winning their last game of 2016 and first of 2017. The Orioles also have won the series on their last visit to the Bronx in September, which means they will have the chance to win back-to-back series at Yankee Stadium for the first time since 2014.

Baltimore also won the series in its first meeting with Boston the previous two seasons, although both were at Fenway Park.

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Closing out the Orioles’ three wins last week in impressive fashion, right-hander Jorge López became the first Baltimore pitcher in nearly five years to record three saves in four games, with Brad Brach being the most recent to do so in May. 2017.

In those three appearances, López retired more than half of the batters he faced, allowing two hits and no runs. In the Orioles’ lone win at Oakland, he entered with runners in the corners, one out, and Baltimore clinging to a 1–0 lead, then retired the next five batters with three strikeouts.

After constantly struggling mid-innings as a starter in 2021, López has found a home in the back of the Orioles bullpen. His lead is averaging nearly 98 mph, and against his secondary pitches — each of which also saw an increase in velocity — hitters are a combined 2-for-16 with eight strikeouts, according to Statcast.

Since the Orioles said John Means left his April 13 start with a left forearm tightness, the news that arrived Saturday that he would be undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery seemed like a possibility. , with any look at search engine results for the original diagnosis showing a connection to the procedure. It’s a brutal blow for Means and the Orioles, but also for their fans.

The southpaw’s departures became known as “John Means Day”, a nickname associating their occurrences with a public holiday. It’s not an uncommon practice for a team’s top starter, but in the case of the Orioles in recent seasons, it was often the only turning point in their rotation where they were guaranteed to be at least competitive. .

The pitching staff left in the wake of Means’ exit has largely thrived, although Chris Ellis left his second start as Means’ backup on Sunday with right shoulder discomfort without recording an out. The Orioles have just 16 games in their season, and the remaining 90% will have to come without more John Means Days to celebrate.

With Rutschman set to join High-A Aberdeen on a rehab assignment this week, up to two-thirds of the IronBirds roster could be made up of players who rank among the Orioles’ top 25 prospects. Among them are a pair of infielders who aren’t known for their power but showed it last week. Cesar Prieto had three straight games with a two-home run game on Friday, his first since signing to the Orioles’ international class this winter. Second baseman Connor Norby, Baltimore’s 2021 second-round pick, hit a pair over the fence a day later, with his four total homers in 20 games fewer than the three he hit last year between the Florida Complex League and Low-A Delmarva. The pair have combined for 10 of Aberdeen’s 18 home runs so far.


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