The New York Yankees’ search for a pitching coach is over and it’s Matt Blake, a 2003 Concord High graduate.
The Yankees hired Blake away from the Indians to take over for the fired Larry Rothschild, according to a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
They fired Rothschild on Oct. 28 after he spent nine years in the role.
Blake, 30, had just been named Cleveland’s director of pitching two days ago. Over the last three seasons, he served as a pitching coordinator and assistant director of pitching development. Before that, he’d served as a Yankees area scout.
He grew up in Concord and graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in 2007 with a psychology and philosophy degree. He also worked with Cressey Performance Sports in Hudson, Mass.
After last season, Cleveland manager Terry Francona singled out Blake for his work with young pitchers such as Zach Plesac, Jefry Rodriguez and Aaron Civale, according to Joe Noga of Cleveland.com.
In August, Blake participated on a panel for Positive Coaching Alliance. He said that “understanding how the player wants to be coached is really important,” according to Cleveland.com. He added, “The challenge is not every player is going to get better. Are we putting the right work in? I do think there is a hard conversation you have to have if a player is not getting better. If not, what else can we consider?”
Reds starting pitcher Trevor Bauer went out of his way to endorse Blake as the right choice.
“For all the @Yankees fans coming to my page to ask me about @Blake_Matt he’s awesome,” Bauer tweeted late Thursday night. “One of the smarter guys I know. Knows a lot about pitching. A lot about development. Good communicator. Etc. Really excited for him getting this opportunity and pumped to see the results.”
Bauer worked with Blake with the Indians from 2015 until Cleveland traded Bauer to Cincinnati at the trade deadline.
Blake, 33, had just been named Cleveland’s director of pitching three days ago. Over the last three seasons, he served as a pitching coordinator and assistant director of pitching development in the organization, which saw Bauer make the American League All-Star team in 2018.
Bauer has also long been a proponent of analytics and advanced technologies in aiding pitchers’ development. That’s one of the areas in which Blake has excelled.
The Yanks also interviewed David Cone, the retired pitcher and YES Network analyst, and college pitching coaches Chris Fetter, of the University of Michigan, and Matt Hobbs, of Arkansas.
Rothschild had been the Yankees’ pitching coach for the previous nine seasons. He was adored in the organization for his work ethic and pitching knowledge, but the Yankees clearly wanted someone who didn’t just adapt to new-age statistics and methods but openly embraces and champions them.
On Friday, Rothschild landed a job as the San Diego Padres’ pitching coach.