Jimmy Nelson #52 of the Milwaukee Brewers talks with pitching coach Rick Kranitz #39, Martin Maldonado #12, and Jonathan Lucroy #20 after a rough first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first inning at Miller Park on July 18, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Tom Lynn/Getty Images)
Photo: Tom Lynn/Getty Images
Photo: Tom Lynn/Getty Images

Braves hire Rick Kranitz as new pitching coach

The Braves announced Rick Kranitz as their new pitching coach Thursday.

Kranitz, 60, emerged during a lengthy process in which the Braves invested weeks on interviews. He became unexpectedly available when the Phillies decided to let him go in favor of assistant pitching coach Chris Young, who was promoted to the top position.

The Braves increasingly were impressed by Kranitz through the process. His people skills and past work with young arms helped him stand out from a plethora of other candidates.

“I’ve seen them pitch quite a bit,” Kranitz said of the Braves’ group of pitchers, which he’s excited to learn about on a more personal level. “I know it’s a talented group and I’m thrilled to be able to work with them.

“I loved the pitching staff. I felt the starters were all capable of being winners.”

Formerly a pitching coach for Florida (2006-07), Baltimore (2008-10), Milwaukee (2011-15) and Philadelphia last season, Kranitz has plentiful experience developing pitchers, from Josh Johnson with the Marlins to Aaron Nola with the Phillies.

The 2018 Phillies ranked seventh in FIP (3.83) and sixth in WAR (19.6) under Kranitz. Their all-time bad defense affected their surface numbers, including an inflated 4.14 staff ERA.

Kranitz will be tasked not only with grooming prospects, but with lessening the Braves’ walk total, which ranked second-most in MLB. Several Braves starters and relievers made strides in 2018, but taming that total would go a long way in winning what’s expected to be an improved National League East.

“I’m thrilled to add Rick to our coaching staff,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said via a news release. “Right from the start of the interview process, Rick stood out with his knowledge, credentials, and experience. He has had a lot of success developing young talent and he is going to have a big impact getting the most out of all of our pitchers.”

The Braves dismissed pitching coach Chuck Hernandez following their playoff ousting to the Dodgers, citing a desire to go in a new direction. 

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