The Red Sox have new leadership for their baseball operations department, and they’re also close to installing new leadership for their pitching staff.
According to multiple major league sources, Red Sox minor league pitching performance coordinator Dave Bush has emerged as a clear front-runner for the team’s vacant pitching coach job.
While that arrangement has not been finalized, there is a clear expectation in the industry that Bush will be named to the role, perhaps within days.
Bush, 39, spent parts of nine years in the big leagues with the Blue Jays, Brewers, and Rangers, going 56-69 with a 4.73 ERA while logging 211 appearances (187 starts) and 1,144⅓ innings.
After his final season in 2013, he spent two years at Maine’s Bridgton Academy (while also spending time coaching the South African and Chinese national teams) before joining the Red Sox in 2016 as a pitching analyst who worked with minor leaguers.
This past year, his role was redefined as that of a minor league coordinator of pitching performance, a role in which he worked with pitchers and pitching coaches to shape pitch mixes and pitch sequences. Bush also spent time working with the big league staff during the season in 2019, making him familiar to most of the returning pitchers with whom he’s now likely to work.
A year ago, Bush described his position as one that eschewed a cookie-cutter approach in favor of a more flexible view of how to get pitchers to realize success in the age of incredibly sophisticated data.
“We don’t pigeonhole guys in certain styles. We used to funnel everyone in one direction, kind of wait and see if it worked or not. We have a little better idea how to approach that now,” Bush said.
“It’s more personalized, just because we can quantify and evaluate so many more things now. We have a much better idea of what’s actually happening on the mound, so we can personalize an approach based on the information we have. That changes how we look at guys and what we do with them.”
Last winter, Bush received and declined offers from the Reds and Brewers to join their big league coaching staffs as a bullpen coach. But he was one of five candidates to interview for the Red Sox pitching coach job, a position that opened when the team reassigned Dana LeVangie after the 2019 season.
The Red Sox pitching staff had a 4.70 ERA this year, 19th in the majors. However, there were a number of successes of players graduating from the minor league system after making adjustments in the minors, among them relievers Josh Taylor, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Marcus Walden, as well as significant steps forward for multiple rotation prospects, including Bryan Mata and Thad Ward.