Orioles make new addition to vacant role on coaching staff

The Orioles have found their next pitching coach
Mar 1, 2021; North Port, FL, USA; Drew French #58 of the Atlanta Braves poses during media day at
Mar 1, 2021; North Port, FL, USA; Drew French #58 of the Atlanta Braves poses during media day at / USA TODAY NETWORK

With the non-tender deadline and a lot of the early offseason dates behind us, what's next is the winter meetings, where a lot of players are expected to sign. However, Brandon Hyde's coaching staff had a vacancy, as pitching coach Chris Holt was promoted to the director of pitching for the organization.

Roch Kubatko of MASN was the first to report the news that the vacancy has been filled. Atlanta Braves bullpen coach Drew French is joining the Orioles as the team's pitching coach. French is the third Braves coach to leave for a team in the AL this offseason.

The Orioles have hired Drew French as the team's pitching coach

French joined the Braves ahead of the 2021 season as the bullpen coach, winning a World Series title with the team. Over the three seasons that French oversaw the Braves bullpen, they combined to post a 3.61 ERA and 3.77 FIP, good for seventh and fourth best in the majors respectively.

Prior to joining the Braves, French worked in the Astros organization from 2016 to 2020, crossing paths with Holt and executive vice president/GM Mike Elias during that time. Interestingly enough, this is the fourth time French will succeed Holt as a pitching coach, doing so for Astros affiliates for three straight seasons from 2016 to 2018.

During the 2019 season, French served as the pitching coach for Houston's Triple A team, which was the Round Rock Express at the time. That season, Express pitchers combined to set a franchise record in strikeouts, fanning 1,265 hitters.

French will mainly be charged with improving the Orioles starting rotation, with the chorus of starters finishing 16th in the league in fWAR with 10.7. The bullpen is in a good spot, ending 2023 with baseball's best bullpen ERA at 3.55 and FIP at 3.56. They finished second in fWAR at 7.5, despite the quick exit in the postseason.

With this move, all the major roles on Hyde's coaching staff have been filled. Last year's assistant pitching coach Darren Holmes left, so the Orioles could opt to add someone in that role, but the key pieces are in place ahead of the new year.