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redsmetz
07-24-2008, 11:17 AM
I glanced at the Larkin wants to return to Cincy thread and someone mentioned he ought to pay his dues and coach wherever. Larkin's not the point of this thread though.

While looking at the past experience of some managers, I started with Joe Maddon of Tampa Bay and saw that they had a "Quality Assurance Coach" - Tim Bogar. It is a newly created position this year (perhaps why they're playing so well?) and it intrigured me. I especially liked element of the job described in the article, but there's much more to like, IMO: He will watch the Rays from the stands and scout them like an opponent would.

I came across this blog post about the announcement.

http://blogs.tampabay.com/rays/2008/01/bogar-joining-r.html


The Rays added former major leaguer Tim Bogar to their major league coaching staff as a "quality assurance" coach.

Bogar's duties will include coordinating spring training schedules, series preparation and serving as a liason between the scouting department and the ball club. He will watch the Rays from the stands and scout them like an opponent would, research upcoming opponents and do a lot of the advance leg work.

"I know this is a radical approach to baseball," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "But so was the bench coach when that came along, so was the DH, so was color television at some point. With all the information that's available to us and all the different things that the coaches have to do on a daily basis, I want the coaches to be able to really be able to get involved with the players as much as possible."

"We're trying to get somebody to try to get ahead of our own mistakes," Maddon said.

Bogar -- who managed in the minor leagues the last four seasons, including the past two at the Indians' Double-A team in Akron, Ohio -- will be in uniform during spring training assisting with infield and base-running instruction.

And this article from the Tampa Herald Tribune, including another coach Brian Anderson who is referred to as an assistant to pitching coach Jim Hickey, but isn't listed on the Rays' website.


Secret weapons: Anderson and Bogar dissect opponents

By Dennis Maffezzoli

They don't play.

They are not major league coaches, but are considered an extension of the staff.

Although you rarely see them, Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon has praised their work on numerous occasions.

Brian Anderson and Tim Bogar have been a big part of the early-season success of the Rays.

In fact, fans will have to search far and wide to get a glimpse of Anderson and Bogar these days.

Anderson could be seen during spring training. Wearing No. 17, the left-handed pitcher was a non-roster player attempting to resume an 11-year major league career cut short by injuries in 2005.

After a promising early bid, Anderson suffered a career-ending elbow injury at the outset of the Grapefruit League season.

Unsure of his new career path, but not ready to walk away from the game, Anderson accepted a job as an assistant to Tampa Bay pitching coach Jim Hickey.

Bogar played for three teams -- the New York Mets, Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers -- during a playing career that spanned 1993 to 2001.

A former minor league manager in the Cleveland organization, Bogar is the quality assurance coach, an assistant on the major league staff, much like Don Zimmer, the team's senior baseball advisor.

Anderson and Bogar have different but similar tasks: research anything and everything to provide more information for Maddon, his staff and Rays players.

Sometimes, Anderson can be spotted shagging balls during batting practice.

Often, he will chat with pitchers and catchers while in the outfield.

"All these little things matter," Anderson said. "All these little things help. All these good minds and this good energy we have going on about us right now, you can see the translation on the field."

During the first game of a series, Anderson will be in on the meeting with the pitchers and catchers to discuss strategy on how certain pitchers will face opposing hitters, which players are likely to steal or hit and run and other nuances.

"With catchers, it's pretty general," Anderson said.Some of the things Anderson will ask include:

What is your game plan?

What are you trying to accomplish with certain hitters?

What are your keys?

"It's more of a mind-set: How to approach certain guys," rookie catcher Shawn Riggans said. "How to corral your pitcher's thoughts. How to get your pitcher through the game. One little thing to tell him to get him back on track.

"I don't know that much in the game. It's another angle. He sees things from the stands that are hard to see from the dugout. He can relay that to me and get it to stick in my head. That's huge."

With pitchers, Anderson consults with Hickey before approaching them.But lately, pitchers have been coming to Anderson.

Once the game begins, Anderson disappears into the tunnel between the field and the clubhouse. In between is a room across from the batting cages where Anderson sits in front of a computer and watches the game.

"I have my own little chart I keep throughout the game by watching it on TV," the 36-year-old said. "I have my own little things that come up, whether it's a nice sequence against a hitter that I can star it and write it in there for future reference."

He often gets company.

Reliever Gary Glover and starter Matt Garza have been known to visit. "The first time I was in there for six or seven innings," Glover said. "Just good classic baseball conversation. It's good to talk to somebody who's been there and done everything."

Since Anderson started and relieved in his career, he can share the different aspects.

"How to attack hitters," Glover said. "When it's good to be aggressive. When it's a little bit better to nibble at the corners."

It's an in-game, in-season refresher course.

"He has a ton of more information that he's gathered from that perspective," Glover said. "It's something you don't get to see when you're down in the bullpen or you're sitting on the bench.

"Plus, it helps you recollect things you've forgotten about from prior years."

Anderson, who likes to interact, keeps it short when dealing with the players.

"One thing you want to do is have a lot of quality in what you say," he said. "You don't want to bury those guys with information. Two to three minutes, and it's pretty general stuff."

At times, Bogar will receive specific instructions from Maddon.

"Joe asked me personally to go over the bullpen of the opposing team that is coming in," Bogar said. "I go back four or five days to see who appeared on what days, how many pitches they have thrown.

"Just information that is useful and helpful for our guys and can put us in the best position."

Otherwise, Bogar has an expanded to-do list.

Before a series, he will speak with advance scout Elanis Westbrooks, who watches the team the Rays will be playing next.

"Make sure there is nothing that is not covered," Bogar said. "Make sure there are no surprises."

Bogar will scan the Internet for newspapers in those cities.

"Against the Yankees, I read the Times, the Post, the News," Bogar said. "I want to see if there's anything in those papers that will give us an advantage."

One bit of information he secured before the Yankees' past visit was that third baseman Alex Rodriguez definitely would not play in the series against the Rays.

Before the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim came to town, Bogar knew Chone Figgins was on the active roster, "but there was no way he was going to play, because he had a bad hamstring."

Bogar also is in on the coaches' meetings to scout the opposing players.

Then, he prepares the pre-game activities.

Some days, players are scheduled for extra hitting, fielding or throwing. Bogar makes sure the schedules don't conflict.

Then, he maps the defensive chart for third base coach Tom Foley on where to play certain players.

Then, he makes out the big lineup card that hangs on the wall in the dugout as a reference during games.

When the game begins, Bogar is out of the spotlight. He takes his seat in the second row of the press box, just to the left of home plate.

"When you're sitting in the dugout, you might be close, but you don't always see things correctly," Bogar said.

His seat in the press box provides a different perspective on the defensive alignment.

"I get a better angle of where the guys are and how they are reacting to the ball off the bat," Bogar said.

He also manages along with Maddon.

"If there's a move that's made, and I don't know why, he wants me to discuss it with him," Bogar said. "I talk to him, so I know his philosophies. Maybe project to him what I thought, because he's a very cranial person."

The 43-year-old Bogar also interacts with players when he sees the need. When the Rays were in the eighth inning of a game May 6 in Toronto, left-handed hitting Eric Hinske was facing left-hander Brian Tallet with a runner on first base. Bogar noticed Blue Jays third baseman Scott Rolen playing back and off the foul line.

Hinske grounded out.

"It would have been a good time to try to bunt for a hit," Bogar said.

He approached Hinske about it after the game. Hinske said he bunted for a hit a few days earlier in Boston and didn't think it was a good idea to do it again.

When Bogar explained what he saw from the press box, Hinske agreed a bunt attempt would have been a good idea.

"I talk to Bogey as much as I talk to anybody," Riggans said. "He's got another angle. He sees things. He was a utility player. He has a good mind for the game. Approachable. He talks to you on a level that you understand.

He simplifies things, because out here you can make things harder than they are. Then you're lost.

"He makes you feel comfortable and confident. "It's just a little thing here and there. Food for thought for your mind. It's not an overload of information, which is good."

Team Clark
07-24-2008, 11:57 AM
The Cardinals, White Sox and Yankees have been doing this for at least 5 years. Not so new. That being said the value of this is tremendous in my opinion.

traderumor
07-24-2008, 12:19 PM
RedsZone is the unpaid QC for the Reds, an untapped resource that is basically noticing the types of things that Anderson and Bogar are pointing out... except for actually having the ear of the manager, players and management.

In listening to the ballgame yesterday, Thom B. was discussing the DBacks abuse of Maddux by using a particular game plan. Regardless of whether it is indeed a cause/effect relationship, it got me to thinking--I'm not sure that I've seen the Reds over the past several managers showing evidence of a game plan from game to game. Or, if they do, it is not evident that it is being executed. And by game plan, I mean a purposeful strategy against a particular pitcher, catcher, etc. on a regular basis. I do not mean by game plan the types of basic baseball situational strategies that arise within any game. For example, I have even seen the lowly Pirates figure out that you go up there hacking against Aaron Harang because he throws first pitch strikes, usually a fastball, to a fault. And, the Pirates regularly give Harang fits. I do not see regular evidence beyond random that the Reds are doing the same, nor have I for years. Perhaps such a person is the instigator of such a mindset for the Redlegs to actually have a plan other than the current daily "hit and hope" strategy.

Cooper
07-24-2008, 12:36 PM
I really don't see a whole lot of value in this stuff. It looks like to me they are just friends who hang around.

One their big finds was reading the paper and figuring out that A-rod was going to miss the series. Isn't that kind of embarrassing?

Here's another guess: most of the stuff they give as advice is baseball cliche stuff. Really nothing to back it up -things like "watch this guy he's a 1st ball, fastball hitter".

Maybe there's more to it, but form the looks of things. The Rays hired 2 guys to just hang around.

Do i think you could get value from this kind of position? Yes, i do. I think it would be better served if they came from outside the organization, they had a sabermetric background, and they didn't talk baseball cliche'.

Chip R
07-24-2008, 12:53 PM
I think it's a pretty good idea to scout your own team. I've always wondered what other teams thought of the Reds.

redsmetz
07-24-2008, 02:51 PM
I really don't see a whole lot of value in this stuff. It looks like to me they are just friends who hang around.

One their big finds was reading the paper and figuring out that A-rod was going to miss the series. Isn't that kind of embarrassing?

Here's another guess: most of the stuff they give as advice is baseball cliche stuff. Really nothing to back it up -things like "watch this guy he's a 1st ball, fastball hitter".

Maybe there's more to it, but from the looks of things. The Rays hired 2 guys to just hang around.

Do i think you could get value from this kind of position? Yes, i do. I think it would be better served if they came from outside the organization, they had a sabermetric background, and they didn't talk baseball cliche'.

I think I would disagree. It does seem a bit wonkish, but it also sounds as if they are providing valuable insight. To have someone scouting your own folks, looking for the same things that the other team's advanced scout are watching and reporting can help alot. The example someone mentioned was Harang's propensity for throwing first pitch fastballs. If we're seeing it here, then our staff should be seeing.

It will be curious to hear a post-mortem on this move by the Rays (and the other teams that Teamclark mentioned), particularly if the Rays make the playoffs. I'll take guys sitting around talking baseball if it makes my team better (although I disagree with that assessment, but I can see how one might think of it as that).