Jeff Passan of ESPN is reporting that the Yankees will hire Matt Blake to be their new pitching coach. The club has not made an announcement yet.
The New York Yankees are hiring Matt Blake as their new pitching coach, sources tell ESPN. Blake was previously a pitching coordinator with the Cleveland Indians, who continuously have churned out quality big league pitchers. He also has worked as an area scout for the Yankees.
Blake was just promoted to Director of Pitching Development with Cleveland on Tuesday.
Blake, who is in his 30’s, has no major or minor league pitching coach experience. According to his LinkedIn page, he was a pitching coach for a college development program team, the New England Ruffnecks, from 2009-2015. He was also a pitching coach for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2015, and coached at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School.
The Yankees had been interested in hiring young collegiate pitching coaches. According to Passan, the organization interviewed Chris Fetter from Michigan, Matt Hobbs from Arkansas and Nate Yeskie from Arizona. Kirk Saarloos from TCU turned down an interview. The Yankees also interviewed David Cone, a fan favorite.
Blake fits the mold of a pitching guy who has experience working with young players. We don’t know yet if the Yankees are thinking about hiring another pitching coach; they currently have a main hitting coach in Marcus Thames, and an assistant in P.J. Pilittere.
The rapid ascent of Blake started in 2015, when he was still serving as pitching coach for Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School outside Boston. Blake’s reputation had grown within the industry due to his work with Eric Cressey, the New England-based performance coach. Blake did some scouting work in the area for the Yankees. Then Cleveland, which has arguably the most robust pitching factory in baseball, hired him as a pitching coordinator.
Quickly he became an indispensable figure in the organization, spending the past four years with the Indians as they regularly churned out quality major league pitchers. This past season alone, starters Zach Plesac, Aaron Civale and Jefry Rodriguez along with reliever James Karinchak came through the farm system to debut, and starter Shane Bieber developed into an All-Star.
A pitcher who worked in the #Indians minor leagues with Matt Blake who is now the #Yankees pitching coach called him “terrific” and praised: "great understanding of analytics but can interpret and make it easy to understand and apply."