The Pittsburgh Pirates have had their hands full over the last few years. Clint Hurdle had lost control of the team with fights that occured in the locker room. Closer, Felipe Vazquez, was also arrested for assaulting a minor, bringing more negative attention to the team. Finally, a lack of team success was the final straw and the Pirates fired Hurdle. The team hired Derek Shelton to manage, but is he the man to right the Pirates ship?
Derek Shelton was born on July 30, 1970 in Carbondale, IL. His father, Ron, was a pitcher in the Baltimore Orioles organization. After graduating from Warren Township High School, in Gurnee, IL, Derek attended Southern Illinois University. He was their catcher and in 1991 led the MVC, throwing out 43% of opposing base stealers. He graduated from college in 1992 with a Criminal Justice Degree. Shelton was drafted by the New York Yankees upon graduation. I’m 1993, an elbow injury that required surgery ended his playing career after only two seasons.
MiLB and MLB EXPERIENCE
Shelton began his MiLB managerial career in the New York Yankees organization, where from 2000-2003 his teams had a .624 winning percentage.
In 2005, he was hired by the Cleveland Indians to be their hitting coach. After four seasons in Cleveland, he joined Joe Maddon’s staff in Tampa as their hitting coach.
After his time in Tampa ended following the 2016 season, Shelton then became the bench coach for the Minnesota Twins. Finally, after two seasons in Minnesota, he was named the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates on November 27, 2019.
Pirates Era Begins
For Derek Shelton to be successful as manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, he has to build this team from the ground up. He also needs to change the culture in that locker room. Above all, he needs to get the players to buy into his philosophy and the direction he wants his team to go in. The Bucs need to learn how to play smart, sound and fundamental baseball that can translate to wins.
The Pirates are predicted to win 62 games this season. If Shelton can get this team to 80+ wins, it may energize more fans to head out to PNC Park and support the Pirates. That would allow Shelton to try and convince Robert Nutting to spend some money on quality players. However, it may be a long road for Shelton and his staff.
The Pirates need a manager who can change the culture of this team. If Shelton can help produce wins, then it will go a long way for the future of this team.
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