The ultimate goal in Minor League Baseball is to get each player to the next level and eventually contributing at the big league level. So, what does the communication needed for that goal look like from those at the top?
For Indianapolis manager Miguel Perez, it is about implementing the direction to best prepare those players on the doorstep to become acclimated quickly.
“The communication has been outstanding,” Perez said. “I think there are clear messages on guys who get sent down or guys who are sent up. It is not a daily conversation with [Pirates manager Derek Shelton], but somehow we communicate constantly. At the end of the day, we want the team up there playing well. We want to make sure when they need someone from here, we provide some help. That is the priority.”
Beau Sulser is one of the players who made that transition recently. Sulser raves about the communication and preparation, and has seen clear improvements.
“As far as getting called up from Triple-A to the big leagues, they do a great job,” Sulser said. “They have changed a lot of things at the minor league level to help the transition, in terms of just keeping everything the same. They are the same scouting reports, the same way of doing things and throwing programs. The way it is all set up is very similar. I think they do a pretty good job now, compared to when I was first in the organization about making that transition easy.”
For Shelton, a key this season is the communication. He said that third base coach Mike Rabelo takes a vital role, sitting on the player development calls, whether on Zoom or via phone. This allows the Major League brass to have a constant finger on the pulse at all levels.
Additionally, Shelton is excited to have boots on the group, with eyes on the most prized players in the organization.
“The one thing we have done differently this year, is that Jeremy Bleich is there,” Shelton said. “He is a member of the Major League staff. Timmy McKeithan is a member of the Major League staff. We have kind of transitioned their roles to not only cover that, but also the 40-man guys too, so we have a constant communication within the pitching and hitting group. [Rabelo] kind of runs it at a high level…and then it comes to me.”
Perez also pointed out that it is also not a coincidence to see the approaches that the Pirates take in the big leagues mirrored in different levels.
“Pittsburgh has been clear on what we’re trying to do, from the pitching standpoint,” Perez said. “They have been doing a pretty good job of putting guys in different roles. At the end of the day, that adds more value to them. Just like we have been doing some of that with the position players too, and trying to create versatility. We are doing the same with the pitchers. It’s going to continue to be a hybrid role. We’re going to have a starter. We are going to have the opener sometimes. We are on the same page with the big league club. What they are doing up there, we are going to continue to do here, just to mirror what they are doing.“