With all the White Sox news seemingly negative the last few weeks, it sounds like they are about to fill their pitching coach vacancy with an A+ hire.
Breaking: the #WhiteSox are close to naming Ethan Katz pitching coach, official announcement coming within the next week or so
Katz is Lucas Giolito's HS/offseason pitching coach and is really well regarded within the industry. A+ hire #ScoopCity
— whitesoxdave (@barstoolWSD) November 12, 2020
A little while later, Jon Heyman confirmed Dave’s report. Katz is officially coming to the White Sox.
Ethan Katz is being hired to be the White Sox pitching coach. Katz was the coach at Harvard Westlake, where Giolito, Fried and Flaherty went @barstoolWSD on it
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 12, 2020
What Will Katz Bring?
As Dave’s tweet says above, Katz is Lucas Giolito’s offseason coach and was his coach in high school as well. So he will already be bringing some familiarity and comfort into the organization. He’s also great at his job. Giolito to this day cites Katz as the biggest reason he was able to turn his career around in 2019. If he can do it with Giolito, who’s to say he won’t be able to do the same with Dylan Cease?
Katz will also infuse some youth into an older staff, as he’s only 37 years old. Most importantly, he uses modern day analytics to get the best out of his players.
A New Direction
Not only is this a good hire, it actually came from outside of the White Sox organization. Rumors were swirling that the Sox would go with Matt Zaleski, an internal option. While that wouldn’t have been terrible, it would show that the team isn’t willing to step out of its comfort zone. I wonder if Giolito himself had a say in the hire. He’s had nothing but good things to say about him in the past, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he had some sort of influence.
Could This Hire Lure Free Agent Pitchers?
One of the bigger questions people will be asking is if this hire has the ability to lure free agent pitchers to the White Sox. To that I would say that Katz will never be the sole reason a pitcher decides to sign in Chicago, but I think he will definitely help. Let’s look at Trevor Bauer for example. He is coming off the best season of his career and just won the N.L. Cy Young Award. Easily the best starting pitcher on the open market, Bauer is very outspoken about modern day analytics like spin rate. Katz, like I mentioned before, is also a big believer in analytics. So just looking at that, there’s a connection. Now, I’m not saying that Trevor Bauer is now coming to the White Sox because Katz is rumored to be the pitching coach, but little connections and similarities like that can definitely help.
Rounding Out The Rest Of The Staff
When Tony La Russa was hired, everyone seemingly lost their collective minds, and the DUI news didn’t exactly help. After the initial shock of the TLR hiring, people seemed to agree that as long as the team surrounds the clubhouse with a younger, up-and-coming staff, then the team would be in good hands. This will be a step in the right direction if/when Katz is officially hired by the White Sox. The combination of La Russa’s age and experience with a young staff’s knowledge of analytics and ability to mesh with the players can go a long way. Now if they can find a bench coach that fits a similar mold as Katz, then the White Sox will truly be trending in the right direction.