Early on in this offseason, the Red Sox decided to move both Carl Willis and Brian Bannister out of the dugout. Both coaches were staying with the team, though, just in different roles. At least, that’s what we thought. Willis is still with Boston in the scouting department, but Bannister has found a new job. As first reported by Jon Morosi of MLB Network and FOX Sports, the former assistant pitching coach is moving on to become the new vice president of pitching development for the Giants.
Bannister had been with the Red Sox for five seasons now and had developed a strong reputation among pitchers with whom he dealt. The former major leaguer started strictly working with minor leaguers and he really first made his mark with Rich Hill. The lefty was with Pawtucket in 2015, Bannister’s first year with the club, and his career was resurrected in no small part due to Bannister’s work.
After that, the Red Sox asked Bannister to help out with the major-league club, too, and he was a big part of the rotation’s success for the next three years. That, of course, includes the 2018 season. Obviously, last season did not go as well. Bannister continued to work with minor leaguers as well, and it shows with how pitching has developed with the Red Sox in recent years. We are still waiting for many of these arms see their potential really come out, but we have seen a rise in pitching production on the farm from guys like Darwinzon Hernandez and Josh Taylor to Bryan Mata and Tanner Houck down to lower-level guys like Thad Ward. There’s still ways to go in their development, of course, but pitching in the system is trending up.
The good news here is that, as far as I can tell at least, the people who worked under Bannister are still in the organization. That is not to say that is as good as having Bannister himself, but as a consolation prize it could be worse. The Red Sox needed to shake something up with respect to their pitching after last season, and unfortunately the coaching staff is generally on the wrong side of those decisions. That resulted in a demotion for Bannister, and he found new work. That will almost certainly be the Giants’ gain.
Bannister left a thank you to the Red Sox organization on the ol’ Twitter machine, too.
Thank you to John Henry, Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy, and all the amazingly talented people in Baseball Ops for the opportunity to be a part of the Red Sox family for the last 5 years. It was a dream to call Fenway my office, and to be a very small part of a historic run in Boston.— Brian Bannister (@RealBanny) December 5, 2019