Brad Ausmus successfully played an 18-year career as a catcher for the Houston Astros, San Diego Padres, Detroit Tigers and the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was drafted in the 48th round of the 1987 MLB amateur draft by the New York Yankees. Ausmus didn’t attend college, as he was drafted out of Cheshire high school in Cheshire, Connecticut.
Ausmus finished his career as a .251 hitter with 80 home runs and 607 RBI. Ausmus was more known for his defensive makeup behind the plate, but he could put together quality at-bats. Ausmus was one of the best defensive catchers who threw out base runners on a consistent basis. He finished with a career with an 18.3 defensive WAR. He was selected to one All-Star game in 1999 and won three Gold Glove Awards during his playing career. He was eligible for the hall of fame in 2016, but fell off the ballot due to lack of voting.
After Ausmus’s playing career he went into the coaching field. In 2014 he was hired by the Detroit Tigers as a first-time manager. In his first season as the skipper in Detroit, Ausmus coached his way to 90 wins and a playoff berth.
Ausmus is still looking for his first win in a playoff game as a manager. He served a total of four years as the Tigers manager, where he had two seasons with a record of .500 or better. During his time with the Tigers, the team had one of the highest payrolls and the expectations to win were sky-high. He had the time to obtain knowledge from future Hall of Famers with managing Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera. His time with the Tigers had its ups and downs, but his mindset from being a catcher has the likelihood of becoming a serviceable manager.
Angels New Manager:
Last season Ausmus served as an assistant to General Manager Billy as part of the Angels organization. His contract with the Angels to become their new manager is a three-year deal. He won the job over other candidates, such as former third baseman Eric Chavez, Hall of Famer shortstop Omar Vizquel and Astros bench coach Joe Espada.
Ausmus will replace the Angels longtime manager Mike Scioscia after his 19-year stint with the Halos. Ausmus brings leadership to the table, just as he did when he played. Being a catcher helped him take control over the pitching staff and taught him how to call pitches and game plan against opponents. He will have a vocal voice among the pitching staff and the rotation of catchers they will use over the season.
Some of Ausmus’s flaws during his time in Detroit was how he went about managing his bullpen. In the 2014 playoffs, they got swept by the Baltimore Orioles promptly because off the bullpen. Ausmus took some heavy criticism after the season that his “bullpen management” was the key reason that the Tigers didn’t move on after a successful regular season.
The Angels have had bullpen issues the past couple seasons but that’s mainly because the starters were having a difficult time eating innings and facing an astonishing amount of injuries. To help with the starters going deeper in games, the Angels have signed some new arms during the offseason for the starting rotation and the back-end of the bullpen. Cody Allen should have a large contribution to the bullpen this season.
What to Expect:
Ausmus is inheriting one of the games best, in Mike Trout so his future should be promising for as long as Trout’s on the roster. After spending time last season in the Angels front office, it should have given him a different outlook on how to approach things. With his close relationship with GM Billy Eppler, Ausmus should manage to the likings of the front office. Eppler has been aggressive, giving Ausmus some new players to help field a competitive team and break through into the playoffs. The Astros are still the favorite for the AL West but Ausmus has been around this division for quite some time throughout his playing career and his time as part of the front office. His presence as the Angels skipper might be just what the Angels needed after Mike Scioscia’s time with the club.
(Top Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)