Scott replaces Holmes as Rox bullpen coach

November 2nd, 2019

DENVER -- Darryl Scott brings a new, yet familiar, voice to the Rockies’ pitching staff.

Scott, a Rockies Minor League coach and coordinator since 2009 who worked with most of the staff during their development and in recent years has been summoned to the big league club for specific work with pitchers, was named the team's bullpen coach on Friday. The club parted with Darren Holmes after five seasons. 

As did Holmes, Scott likely will work alongside pitching coach Steve Foster in a system that doesn’t necessarily observe the pitching coach/bullpen coach parameters.

Steve Merriman, who served as pitching coach at Double-A Hartford in 2018 and has worked with Foster, will move into Scott’s previous role as a Minor League pitching coordinator.

“It’s always been exciting for me when I get up there and see those guys compete at the big league level, after being involved with their development,” Scott said. “To see them continue to grow is exciting. It’s great to see where they are at and how they have matured over the years.”

The moves were precipitated by the Rockies going 71-91 and finishing with the third-highest ERA (5.56) in franchise history. This, after it was the pitching that spearheaded trips to the postseason the last two years.

Following is a look at some factors in the decision and plans moving forward.

• In the season’s final days, the Rockies reviewed their entire pitching program -- with manager Bud Black, coaches, front-office members and personnel from data science teams both within the organization and consultants from information companies -- and saw some shortcomings in patterns and strategies.

“Some of them were specific things we’re highly focused on," general manager Jeff Bridich said. "Some of them are highly focused on some of our pitchers individually, whether it be mechanics or process in how they’ve gone about trying to get people out over the past year. Some of the things are more group-oriented in terms of patterns that we feel like we fell into as a staff.”

Bridich gave as an example Black’s admission after the season that it might have been better to be “a little more proactive and not as patient.” 

• None of this is a comment on Holmes, who not only pitched in the Majors for eight teams (including the Rockies), he came with a background in biomechanics that allowed him to work with pitching mechanics, and he brought an understanding of advanced information.

“Sometimes you feel like you need a change in voice, a change in personality and a change in skill set,” Bridich said. “It’s not like there was one specific thing that happened. We just feel like maybe it’s time for a fresh start in that role.”

• Scott, 51, lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., home of the Rockies' training facility. As early as Monday, pitchers who live in the area -- Kyle Freeland, Jeff Hoffman and Bryan Shaw among them -- can stop by as they ramp up their offseason programs. Peter Lambert and prospect Ryan Castellani expect to spend significant time there, and Scott said many pitchers who live elsewhere expect to visit.

In addition, Scott will be present later this month to begin a program for prospects, and will also be there for both Major and Minor Leaguers in a newly instituted pitching mini-camp in January.

Scott is eager to encourage a forward look.

“It’s not looking at last year as a negative -- we’ve got to start looking at it as a positive, as what we learned last year and getting better from what we’ve learned,” Scott said.

• Merriman, 52, who worked with Foster in Kansas City a few years ago, was involved in the late-season meetings and in on-field work with Rockies pitchers. Bridich said Merriman “represents a pretty good blend of the old school and the new school.”

Merriman has been a scout with the Rockies and the Major League Scouting Bureau, and worked as a pitching coach with the Mets, D-backs, Royals, Cubs and the University of Michigan.

Bridich said that the club needs a rebound from some of its current starters, and will also seek starting pitching. The first step is canvassing other teams for trade possibilities before delving into the free-agent market.