Young talent brings Bosio to Detroit

New pitching coach excited to work with prospects and Majors staff

Young talent brings Bosio to Detroit

DETROIT -- Chris Bosio oversaw the pitching end of the Cubs' rise from rebuilding project to World Series champions. He's now taking on the challenge of the Tigers' pitching.

Between the young arms in Detroit and others on the way, the Tigers' new pitching coach likes what he sees.

"Diving into this thing a little bit more to find out more about the organization, you start to get the juices flowing a little bit about the talent that this organization has in the foreseeable future," Bosio said on a Thursday conference call. "They're not that far away."

While the Tigers kept familiar faces in Lloyd McClendon and Dave Clark while bringing over several of manager Ron Gardenhire's old coaches from Minnesota, Bosio was the key hire announced Thursday. The Tigers moved quickly to hire him once he and the Cubs parted ways after the National League Championship Series.

Tigers add Bosio, complete coaching staff

Bosio was interested, especially with his wife being a Michigan native, but wanted to do his research to see what kind of talent he would have to work with. He also talked with Gardenhire and Tigers front-office members about their approach.

"The one thing that was really interesting that [Gardenhire] said to me was we're going to have to develop players at the Major League level," Bosio said. "That's something that we attacked and embraced in Chicago, and that's something that I'm looking forward to in Detroit."

He heard the same enthusiasm, he said, in talking with officials from general manager Al Avila to player development director Dave Littlefield to baseball operations director Sam Menzin.

Bosio on joining the Tigers

"I can hear the passion in their voice," Bosio said. "They're hungry, but at the same time, they're cautious. They want to go about it the right way and put our players in the best position to win."

The Cubs lost 101 games and had a 4.51 ERA, ranked 14th out of 16 NL teams, in Bosio's first season as Cubs pitching coach in 2012. Their ERA dropped in each of the next four seasons, to a league-best 3.15 ERA in 2016. Despite a 3.95 ERA this past season, the Cubs' 3.49 ERA over the past three seasons is the lowest in the Majors.

Part of the turnaround was the emergence of Jake Arrieta, who blossomed from a struggling starter in Baltimore to an NL Cy Young Award winner in Chicago. Similarly, Kyle Hendricks went from a throw-in pitcher from Texas in the Ryan Dempster trade in 2012 to an NL ERA title in '16.

With the Tigers, Bosio has more talent in the system than he had with the Cubs, but arguably more projects with the big club. The Tigers' top four prospects are starting pitchers, according to MLB Pipeline's rankings, and form the foundation of the next Tigers rotation with Franklin Perez, Beau Burrows, Alex Faedo and Matt Manning. Add in eighth-ranked prospect Kyle Funkhouser, and the Tigers have a potential wealth of young pitching on the way.

"I've tried to look at each and every guy in the system, at their numbers, going all the way down to some of the [Rookie-level] guys," Bosio said. "They have a lot of really good arms down there, going down to the Lakeland club. It's interesting because there's a lot of power arms down there, and you have good instructors, guys that I played against. …

"I can say that the one thing that really stood out in the information I got from Sam Menzin was the talent with velocity. The Cubs' organization was unbelievably talented with position players. From talking with Sam and Al and Dave, it sounds like this organization is on the rise, moving players up. That's the exciting part."

Meanwhile, the Tigers have Michael Fulmer, Matthew Boyd and Daniel Norris in Detroit. Fulmer underwent ulnar nerve transposition surgery in August, while Boyd and Norris had up-and-down seasons that included flashes of greatness and stints in Toledo. Jordan Zimmermann is a rebound project after a 13-loss, 6.08-ERA season that included continued neck issues.

Bosio talked about advanced metrics, Statcast™ data and video work. He also referenced working with medical and conditioning staffs on eating and sleeping habits and hydration programs. But he said the most important aspect was to get to know each pitcher and what works for him.

"It's cliche, but I'm not a cookie-cutter pitching coach," Bosio said. "I think you have to let these guys be themselves."

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.