SEATTLE -- Paul Davis, who spent the past five seasons in the Cardinals' organization as a Minor League coordinator, has been hired as the Mariners' pitching coach to replace Mel Stottlemyre Jr.It tells you something about Davis that before he jumps into his duties with the Mariners, he's headed to
SEATTLE -- Paul Davis, who spent the past five seasons in the Cardinals' organization as a Minor League coordinator, has been hired as the Mariners' pitching coach to replace Mel Stottlemyre Jr.
It tells you something about Davis that before he jumps into his duties with the Mariners, he's headed to Mulhouse, France, this week to speak at a three-day European Baseball Coaches Association event.
Davis isn't your typical Major League pitching coach, as he never played beyond college ball, and this will be his first job on a big league coaching staff. But the 54-year-old has a strong background in coaching and analytics, which is a priority for the Mariners under general manager Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais.
Davis is well-regarded for his use of technology and video in a Cardinals Minor League system that has developed an impressive line of young talent, including Mariners lefty Marco Gonzales.
"The biggest thing analytics and pitch-tracking technology has done is it takes away a lot of the guesswork," Davis said shortly after his hiring was announced. "What I've used it as is a way to understand what a pitcher's strengths are very quickly.
"You always want to work from a pitcher's strength and use that to attack hitters. From that perspective, you're going to use it on a daily basis because it gives me feedback on what I see as a coach and also as a way to give pitchers feedback."
Davis said professional golfers have had a head start in using portable TrackMan devices to help with swing analytics, but baseball is catching up. He said he's always "been interested in how people move," which goes along with an education in psychology, teaching and coaching.
"Paul is a bright pitching mind with a very diverse background," Dipoto said. "He has exceptional understanding of the mechanics of pitching, as well as the balance to make evidence-based decisions."
Davis played baseball at Creighton University and graduated from there with a psychology degree in 1985, the year before Servais began his own three-year career at Creighton. Davis says he never crossed paths with Servais until recently, but he knows Servais' uncle, Ed Servais, the current head coach at Creighton.
Davis added a bachelor's degree in history education from Peru State College (Neb.) in 2004 and a master's degree in educational administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, also in '04.
Davis was the head baseball coach at Dana College in Blair, Neb., from 1995-99, and he spent time in scouting and pre-draft psychology evaluation for the Phillies and taught college courses in psychology at several universities before joining the Cardinals in 2013 as pitching coach of their advanced Rookie-level team.
Davis became the Cardinals' coordinator of pitching analytics in 2014 before becoming the organization's "rehab pitching coach" in '15. He was promoted to assistant pitching coordinator for the Minor League system in 2016-17 before adding the title of manager of pitching analytics last year.
"I've worked primarily with Minor League pitchers, and [I] know where everyone has come from and have good appreciation for how difficult the game can be," Davis said. "At the same time, it's about building relationships, and I've done that the past six years.
"It's helpful to have a variety of different experiences in the game. I've been able to coach on the field, be a roving coach, work with our scouts, communicate with our front office. I've seen things through a lot of different lenses. To be able to bring that to the Major League dugout and field, that's what everyone in baseball is shooting for."
Once he returns from France, Davis said he's eager to meet up with Dipoto, Servais and farm director Andy McKay so he can "hit the ground running" in his new post.
"I'm excited to add Paul to our coaching group," Servais said. "As we've talked in recent weeks, it became clear that his philosophies, experience and skill set made him a great fit for what we are building here."
While Stottlemyre was let go at the end of last season, the Mariners expect to retain bullpen coach Brian DeLunas and assistant coach Jim Brower as part of their coaching staff in 2019, though exact roles have not yet been announced.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.