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Source: O's promoting Holt to director of pitching

@JoeTrezz
October 11, 2019

As several Orioles pitching prospects took steps forward in 2019, the influence of first-year Minor League pitching coordinator Chris Holt quickly became plain to see. Now, it’s set to become even more visible. The Orioles are promoting Holt to the newly-created position of director of pitching, a source confirmed to

As several Orioles pitching prospects took steps forward in 2019, the influence of first-year Minor League pitching coordinator Chris Holt quickly became plain to see. Now, it’s set to become even more visible.

The Orioles are promoting Holt to the newly-created position of director of pitching, a source confirmed to MLB.com on Friday. MASN was the first to report the news.

The club has not confirmed the move.

In his new role, Holt will oversee the development of every pitcher in the organization and have an increased presence on the Major League side. He will not officially be part of the big league staff, and he will be allotted the freedom to shuttle between the farm and Baltimore. This flexibility figures to help smooth the transition of many arms yo-yoed between Triple-A Norfolk and Baltimore, as well as streamline the organizational philosophies pitchers come in contact with at both levels.

The Orioles used 38 pitches in 2019, including 21 who also appeared in Triple-A.

Holt, 40, was the only player development personnel to come over from Houston with executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias when Elias arrived in Baltimore last November. Holt worked exclusively on the Minor League side last season before joining the big league club as a guest instructor for its final series in Boston. At the time, speculation existed that Holt could soon assume a larger role.

This after Holt spent the year emerging as one of the more influential voices in the organization and the main vessel for Elias’ developmental vision on the pitching side. He was most visible holding spin-axis seminars and implementing the use of high-speed Edgertronic cameras in Spring Training, which subsequently became customary throughout the Orioles system.

Holt was credited with helping develop John Means’ changeup, which became the lefty’s signature pitch as he emerged into a surprise All-Star. He was also integral to the many of the Orioles’ prospect success stories down on the farm, from No. 9 prospect (according to MLB Pipeline) Michael Baumann to No. 17 prospect Cody Sedlock and others.

“We’ve been able to develop some guys who weren’t on the map before. We were also able to get guys who were quality pitchers once they got here, and they were able to improve as well. Overall, we were able to reach a wider scope of players,” Holt said in September. “I like the work that was done this year. There is still work to be done, no question about it. In terms of year one, getting the foundational pieces in place, getting players and coaches on-ramped, we made tremendous strides in year one.”

Ultimately, Holt’s role was wide-ranging. He essentially functioned as a high-ranking emissary for players and coaches from the Gulf Coast League to Triple-A Norfolk between the data and how to apply it on the mound. Now that route extends to Baltimore.

At least three confirmed vacancies still exist on the Orioles staff, after they chose not to retain bullpen coach John Wasdin, first base coach Arnie Beyeler and assistant hitting coach Howie Clark. Part of Holt’s new role will be working more closely with pitching coach Doug Brocail, whose club option for 2020 the Orioles are exercising, according to MASN.

Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz.