The Rangers welcomed a Major League newcomer to their coaching staff Friday, announcing that Julio Rangel will be the club's pitching coach under new manager Chris Woodward in 2019.This will be Rangel's first big league assignment after he served as the Giants' Minor League pitching coordinator in 2018 and spent
The Rangers welcomed a Major League newcomer to their coaching staff Friday, announcing that Julio Rangel will be the club's pitching coach under new manager Chris Woodward in 2019.
This will be Rangel's first big league assignment after he served as the Giants' Minor League pitching coordinator in 2018 and spent 11 years with the Indians -- an organization known in recent years for developing pitching talent -- in their farm system from 2007-17. Rangel, 43, spent seven Minor League seasons as a pitcher himself in the Yankees' farm system, rising as high as Double-A.
Rangel replaces Doug Brocail as Texas' newest pitching coach. The club has not announced a replacement for departed assistant pitching coach Dan Warthen.
Rangel is the Rangers' second big coaching hire of the week following Wednesday's announcement of new hitting coach Luis Ortiz, who formerly worked with beside Woodward as the Dodgers' assistant hitting coach. The club is retaining bench coach Don Wakamatsu, third-base coach Tony Beasley and first-base coach Hector Ortiz from former manager Jeff Banister's staff.
"As a first-year manager I can't wait to dig in with these guys," Woodward said of Rangel and Luis Ortiz in a conference call with reporters Friday. "I'm going to bet that in a year's time, each of these guys are going to be much better than they are today -- which I plan on being myself. I wanted to surround our players with a group that wanted to grow together, so I guess we [as a coaching staff] kind of mirror our players. We want to show our players that we're going to dig in, day in and day out."
The Rangers are hoping for improvements from their pitching staff after tying with the White Sox for the American League's second-highest average for runs allowed per game at 5.23. Recently converted starter Mike Minor is expected to anchor next year's rotation after finishing strong in 2018, followed by a host of newcomers, including Ariel Jurado, Yohander Mendez and Adrian Sampson.
"Julio has a unique background," president of baseball operations and general manager Jon Daniels said, "and I think he really combines a feel for the mechanical side and the use of some more advanced data and technology with an old-school piece of him at heart, with understanding how to appeal to guys of different backgrounds.
"Everyone after Julio's interview remarked on his infectious personality," Daniels added. "'Connector' was a word that his recommendations used a lot, and we saw that in the interview. He has a real way with communications and relationships."
Woodward advocated strongly for Ortiz's hiring, meanwhile, after their time together in Los Angeles. Woodward said he believes his new hitting coach has a strong ability to relay the mental approaches of hitting to young players.
"The one thing that stood out to me about Luis is that he's a tremendous human being," Woodward said. "He showed he cares, and that's something that we demand on this coaching staff. His ability to teach a swing is one of the better ones I've been around, and his understanding of the biomechanics of a swing will help make a lot of our hitters a little more efficient. On the mental side of things, he's as good as I've ever been around. I'll think he'll have a tremendous impact on this young group."
The additions of both Rangel and Ortiz tie into Daniels' desire to emphasize player development and analytics under Woodward's new regime moving forward.
"It's been a collaboration across the board," Daniels said of the team's hiring process. "These hires are huge in how the culture is created in the clubhouse, how our players are developed and ultimately in the product we put on the field."
Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.