The Miami Marlins have hired Manny Olivera as a player development coach for draft and international prospects. Olivera, a left-handed pitcher from Barcelona, Spain, was signed by the Marlins in 2005 and released in 2007. Most recently, Manny pitched for Team España, helping secure a qualification slot in the recent World Baseball classic. Olivera reported today to the Jupiter Spring Training complex.
Olivera will be working on mechanical development and pitch refinement with the players sent to him, as well as in-game strategies and pitcher’s defensive drills. Olivera brings a high-level ability to communicate what a mechanical step, follow-through position, or release technique is supposed to feel like. For some young pitchers, especially barrio kids from Venezuela, being told about adductor stresses and increased pronation can sometimes only serve to confuse.
One of the biggest strengths of the Marlins organization has been its farm system. With the addition of Olivera to the pitching development staff, the Marlins can expect to see far less attrition from younger pitchers. Mechanical improvements not only reduce injury rates, but they help young pitchers increase velocity and improve the movement on a ball (the “stuff” you hear color guys referring to on TV).
Workouts are just starting in Jupiter right now, and pre-season throwing programs are in full swing. With only a couple of weeks to go until pitchers and catchers report, Spring Training intensity is ramping up quickly. The Marlins are fortunate to have Olivera on the staff, as the Houston Astros manager, Bo Porter, also expressed interest in taking advantage of the skill and teaching ability of Olivera.