Ahead Of The Curve with Jonathan Gelnar

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July 20, 2020  

Chris Gimenez- MLB Game Planning Coach, Los Angeles Dodgers and Michael McCarthy, MiLB Pitching Coach, Minnesota Twins

July 20, 2020

Today we have on Chris Gimenez from the Los Angeles Dodgers and Michael McCarthy from the Minnesota Twins. 

In parts of 10 seasons, Chris appeared in 386 Major League games and tallied 1067 plate appearances between the Indians, Twins, Mariners, Rays, Rangers and Cubs. While the bulk of Gimenez’s work came behind the plate, he was versatile enough to spend time at first base, in the outfield corners and, more briefly at third base. Beyond that, Gimenez took the ball for 11 relief appearances in his career.  He is currently the game planning coach for the LA Dodgers. 

Mike went from mowing lawns, dragging infields and “just trying to be a part of” Cal State Bakersfield’s first baseball team to being 14th round selection by the Boston Red Sox in the 2011 MLB draft and he spent parts of his final three seasons with Triple-A Pawtucket. His final season came in 2016. and is currently the pitching coach for AAA Rochester in the Minnesota Twins organization.

On the showOn the show we dive deep into the pitcher/catcher relationship, we discuss how we can break down data for players into a tool thats most relevant for them, and we go over game-planning and in dugout conversations. You’re going to love this episode with Michael McCarthy and Chris Gimenez.



  • Smart baseball
  • MVP Machine
  • Make your bed 
  • Jocko Willink 
  • Fortitude



Chris Gimenez


Michael McCarthy



Show notes courtesy of Zach Casto

  • Seek to understand your players so that you can teach them better.
  • in other words be empathetic.
  • If you don’t have a direct and correct answer to a problem then you have no business talking to a player about it.
  • Further your education if you do t have the answers.
  • You have to lead with empathy.
  • Sometimes you need to be a therapist for the player to get off the pressure they’ve put on themselves.
  • Cultivate and create relationships with all players.
  • When you’re telling players information you need to understand who is in front of you.
  • Example: Some players want data and information. Some do not.
  • “Understand who you’re working with and understanding which button to push.”
  • “A lot of this is trial and error.”
  • Understand their knowledge of analytics and educational background.
  • Understand how each player learns best.
  • Simplify data down to simple language.
  • “Make data normal in everyday conversations.”
  • Lean on the relationships you have with the players to have conversations with information/data in them.
  • When talking to guys and you have to tell them something, tell them when they have the time to come talk to you.
  • Data is a tool.
  • Tell the player what the data is telling them to do.
  • Example: throw more curveballs because the data is telling us for you to do so.
  • Data gives suggestions, it doesn’t mean you have to follow it.
  • Data doesn’t have regency bias whereas we do as human beings.
  • Data will tell your the truth.
  • Be patient with the players.
  • Always be available to your players.
  • “Your players are always their best coach.”
  • Players need to be open and honest with themselves.
  • The teacher will appear when the student is ready.
  • Giving players the space they need to figure things out and learn is crucial.
  • When pitching it’s about executing a pitch and focusing on the present moment.
  • Create a level playing field where the coach and players can open up to each other and get things off their chest.
  • Explore and look at different experiences of people so that you gain more knowledge and challenge the norm.
  • Use trial and error to see what sticks and what doesn’t.
  • “Empower your coaches to be smart and make good decisions.”
  • Review the thought process of each individual and learn from mistakes.
  • “If you’re unsure about your decision making ability then ask questions.”
  • Good people will provide good results.
  • Empower your people and allow them to try things out.
  • That’s how people learn.
  • When players are in an uncomfortable environment they will become comfortable in uncomfortable situations.
  • Hire people you trust and help them understand what makes the culture special. Also let them know what they bring in that is special.
  • Give players a heads up so that they have their schedule and the team schedule for the day.
  • Give them options so that they have ownership over their career.
  • “The more information the player can take in, the less work we have to do.”
  • Have a meeting early in the season and show how we use scouting reports.
  • Y’all your catchers and pitchers through the scouting reports.
  • Doing this builds a knowledge base for the catchers and pitchers.
  • The coach will come in and make suggestions to the plan the catchers and pitchers have planned.
  • “Stick to your strengths.”
  • This is a tried and true plan for a player.
  • Let the pitchers know what their strengths are.
  • Players must be aware of their strengths.
  • When the opposing lineup is in, create wrist bands for your catchers so that they have a quick scouting report for each hitter.
  • In between innings go over who the pitcher is facing and what to expect if a batter gets on base.
  • Example: If this guy gets on realize he’s quick and a good base runner.
  • Understand the best matchups for each pitcher and opponent.
  • Understand the limits of your starting pitchers.
  • Look and see if our pitcher is tipping or not.
  • Look for adjustments in a box. Sometimes the way a hitter takes a pitch will tell you if he can pick up a pattern or any tips.
  • Fingers are important when picking up tipped pitches.
  • Check for the stiffness of fingers and different looking wrists.
  • Some pitchers will wiggle the ball and pick the pitch in their hand.
  • Some pitchers will wiggle and pick the pitch type in the glove and the glove will move for different pitches.
  • A fastball has little to no glove move whereas off speed may have movement.
  • Sometimes pitchers will tap in their glove before they throw differently for different pitches.
  • Sometimes pitchers throw specific pitches in counts.
  • To help players improve give them tips of what you see needs improved along with things they do well to build awareness.
  • Keep detailed notes on what is happening in a game.
  • Try and learn the language of the player who is an ELL.
  • When you try, respect is built and you improve speaking the second language.
  • “This creates the culture of we are all learning together.”
  • Check in with how the players are doing in their personal life every day.
  • Trust is built when you ask those questions.
  • Be authentic and honest with your players.
  • The ELL player and Spanish speaking coach will help you learn Spanish.
  • The best coaches challenge and push their players.
  • “Stress is where things grow.”
  • Players need stress so that they can improve and build knowledge.
  • Don’t let your players settle.
  • You want to grow your players as a human being not just a player.
  • Whatever you do in practice make it fun, bring energy, and be enthusiastic.
  • “If you take pride in what you do and do it right the first time, you won’t have to do something over again.”
  • Appreciate this pandemic time and understand what is really important in life.
  • “The greatest thing you can do in life is leave the world better than you found it.”
  • “Go serve and love the world around you.”
  • The best coaches have no egos.