One of the important things for a new manager is to find guys who will vocalize their support for their program on the field. In practice, you need players who will respond and set the tone, who will study and follow through and execute. In short, you need players who believe in the system that is being implemented.
When Mike Redmond was a player, he came up as a scrappy backstop with a hard-nosed style of play. He wasn’t projected to do too much offensively, but would call a solid game behind the plate. As it turned out, he was a valuable leader and a fixture as a backup catcher for the Marlins up until 2005. We all know about the naked BP session that eased tension and proved pivotal for the 2003 run. Redmond also was clutch, owning Tom Glavine, going 21-48 against the Braves’ lefty. It was his intelligence behind the plate that not only made him a serviceable player, but an excellent candidate to be a future manager in this league. In fact, it was probably his most noticeable skill set.
Rob Brantly has a bit more upside. His lefty bat is projected to provide a solid average – he hit .290 last season in his debut with the Marlins. He has a short, compact swing that can hit to all fields, but don’t expect much power. He is a smart play-caller behind the plate and has a good grasp for how to handle his staff of pitchers. With Redmond’s tutelage, Brantly should succeed.
Redmond was known as a guy who got the most out of his talent – or lack thereof if you listen to his joking friends in the league. “He’s got the worst obliques you’ve ever seen in the shower,” Kevin Millar once joked. But he was a hard worker and those two traits – hard work and overachieving – are the two things you should come to expect from this Marlins team heading forward. The obliques part, well, hopefully that will come in time.
Brantly has a chance to not only become an everyday catcher in the big leagues, but he has a chance to really take root as an anchor on this team and with this pitching staff. With Redmond in the dugout, you can bet he is going to find ways to maximize his young catcher’s talents and for the two men, and their team, it should be an ideal pairing.