When the Atlanta Braves elected to move on from long-time pitching coach Roger McDowell, a new name was inevitably going to enter the fold. In the midst of the announcement of Brian Snitker as the team’s full-time manager on Tuesday afternoon, the Braves also brought word that Chuck Hernandez will be Atlanta’s new voice with regard to the pitching staff.
Along with the announcement, Braves GM John Coppolella praised Hernandez:
“Chuck brings a tremendous amount of experience to this role. He spent the 2016 season working closely with many of our young, talented pitchers who will be such an important part of our future.”
Hernandez served as Atlanta’s minor league pitching coordinator for the 2016 season and, prior to that, he was a Major League pitching coach at a number of stops. The 56-year-old served with the Miami Marlins in that role from 2013 to 2015, with tours of duty in Detroit (2006 to 2008), Tampa Bay (2004 and 2005) and with the Los Angeles Angels (1992 to 1996).
With McDowell’s reported weakness in developing young arms, this is a move clearly designed and focused on the promotion of youth. Given Hernandez’s most recent job with the organization, Atlanta seems to be prioritizing growth in that regard (as well as knowledge and familiarity with the current organization) and it will be interesting to see how he works with Snitker in the immediate future.