Issue: Kudos for Curt Young
Analysis: It was easy to overlook the fantastic work of Oakland’s understated pitching coach when his staff was headlined by high-profile, highly drafted luminaries such as Mark Mulder, Barry Zito and Tim Hudson.
The Big Three’s talent was so obvious. Who could possibly screw that up? Leave them alone, give them the ball and watch the wins pile upon piles.
Never mind that all three of them did, and still will, go out of their way to give Young credit for their development and success. Pitching coaches just don’t get any attention unless their pitchers are getting lit up.
When’s the last time A’s pitchers got lit up on a regular basis? Last year, maybe? For the first time in what felt like forever?
Yeah, that’s the one year in what seems like forever that Young, who joined the A’s organization for the first time in 2000 and ascended to the big-league level as the chief of staff in 2004, wasn’t around.
He was with the Red Sox, who were such a dysfunctional mess that Young’s laid-back gift of guidance didn’t stand a chance.
Now he’s back, and look who’s right back where they’ve always been with him at the helm — near the top of the heap when it comes to American League team ERA.
That’s right, your Oakland A’s, who have a No. 1 who started last season as the No. 5 in Brandon McCarthy, a 38-year-old medical miracle built like a massive wet-sand castle in Bartolo Colon, and three young question marks with virtually no track record (Tommy Milone, Tyson Ross and Jarrod Parker) to round out the rotation.
The bullpen is no more distinguished, but it’s time to recognize this much: Young, despite getting almost zero attention during his decade-plus of brilliance in the Bay Area, is as distinguished as they come.