With the 2013 minor league season not far in our rear-view mirror, we wanted to reflect on what was an overall fantastic season for New York’s farm teams. We’ve sent team-specific questions to some of our minor league expects who follow particular affiliates closely, in order to get their opinion on the 2013 season. Over the next week or two, we’ll be revealing their answers right here on Mets Minors.
Should teams with MLB managerial openings be calling on Pedro Lopez?
Several factors make Pedro Lopez an interesting candidate for a managerial position in the major leagues. Lopez comes from a long tradition of professional catchers who became successful major league baseball managers.
The day-to-day baseball demands seem to prepare catchers for managing success. Catchers analyze the batting mechanics of opposing hitters attempting to come up with a battle plan to shut them down. They study the pitching mechanics and routines of their pitchers. Professional baseball catchers are quarterbacks of the game, a coach on the field, players who see the entire field and have to be on top of every situation that presents itself. That could be why it seems like more catchers lead baseball clubs than players who once played any other position on the baseball field.
Successful baseball managers must have good communication skills. The two times I have chatted briefly with Pedro Lopez, I have been impressed with his communication style. In some respects, I was an uninvited intruder on both occasions. Pedro was polite and engaging. In fact, Pedro seemed to have a rare gift, that unique ability to make someone he is chatting with feel like the most important person in his world at that moment. It is clearly evident observing Pedro manage that he is passionate about the game of baseball.
Comments Pedro made in the B-Met Team Guide prior to the start of the season left me believing he is also self-reflective. That, too, is an important characteristic of a successful leader. Lopez had clearly analyzed the various dimensions of his role as a Double-A manager and his effectiveness handling that role the previous season. The B-Met skipper said in his initial season in Binghamton he made assumptions that there were certain behaviors or routines that almost automatically came with being a professional baseball player. In round one in Binghamton, Lopez left that part of player development to his players. As with most things in life, the B-Met skipper learned some do and some don’t. He vowed to be much more active in monitoring the progress each of his guys made in following every aspect of their player development program in 2013.
Part of Pedro’s appeal as a manager also comes from the fact that he is bilingual. With Latin America a hotbed of baseball activity and many major leaguers coming from that part of the world, it can only be a plus to have someone at the helm who understands the nuances of the culture and can communicate using the native tongue.
Of course, a track record of win/loss success managing professional baseball players can’t hurt one’s chances of elevating to the top levels of your profession. Lopez guided his Port St. Lucie Mets to a 72-68 regular season and playoff appearance in 2011, his maiden B-Met team went 70-72, he guided his team to a Puerto Rican Winter League Championship between seasons, and put together a record breaking baseball campaign this summer in Binghamton.
For all the reasons stated, it would be wise counsel for a major league baseball franchise needing someone to lead their major league team to take a look at Pedro Lopez. When all the data is examined and they have a chance to meet and chat with Pedro they might like what they hear and see. A little voice in my head keeps saying it’s possible that after the soon-to-be announced contract extension the Mets will offer Terry Collins, two years down the road their future managerial plans could include Pedro Lopez.