Sep 14, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves second baseman Elliot Johnson (30) is tagged out by San Diego Padres catcher Nick Hundley (4) at home plate during the fifth inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Meet Doug Dascenzo - Atlanta Braves' New 3B Coach

Braves Unhappy With Brian Snitker?

Unless players are the only thing that matters to you, then as a Braves’ fan you already know that regular 3B coach Brian Snitker was recently replaced (some say demoted) with Doug Dascenzo for the 3B coaching spot in 2014.  If you know little about Dascenzo, I’ll introduce you to him in a sec.  First off though, I want to write a little about this supposed “demotion” some are, in my opinion, wool-gathering about.

Wool-gathering, if you’re unfamiliar with the phrase, is to engage in fanciful daydreaming.  Perhaps the term is a stretch, but I get tired of people who engage in conjecture without really having any die-hard facts or quotes for support.  Opinion pieces are all well and good, but I hate rumor without any substantiation, and I hate drama, period!  In short, I’ve heard talk about Snitker being demoted because of some questionable 3B sendem or not sendem decisions he may have made this past season.  If you’re a die-hard fan, I’m certain you’ll remember some of those games without me having to document the play-by-play.  I’ve also heard talk about him being demoted as a scapegoat for losing the NLDS.

I don’t personally think any of that is true!  I’ll agree that it’s a demotion in one sense – if you are a minor league coach (as Snitker was and had much experience with), and then you get the call up to coach on the big league level, but then get re-assigned to the minors again, even as a manager, then yes it’s a kind of demotion.  But if you look at it from the perspective of the Braves getting rid of their Triple-A manager (Randy Ready) in Gwinnett, and replacing him with Snitker, then the move could easily be interpreted as confidence in Snitker!  Let’s not forget the forgettable year Gwinnett had in 2013.

When Frank Wren was asked about bringing Dascenzo up to coach 3B, and sending Snitker down to Gwinnett, he was not his often vague self…

We had a need for a Triple-A manager and we had the need to have an outfield and baserunning coach at the Major League level.  We had every other aspect and discipline covered. We just didn’t have [baserunning and outfield play] covered as well as we would have liked.

Well, there you have an answer that’s not vague at all!  Wren says the Atlanta Braves had a need in Gwinnett (and clearly, if you look at their performance in 2013, they do!), and he also noted a need for better coaching in the base running and outfield categories.  That is not an indictment of Brian Snitker as I read it, but merely a honest answer about an honest need for a good coach in Gwinnett, and a need to shore up coaching for base running and outfield work.  In short, I think we can dispense with this notion of unhappiness with Brian Snitker.

I hate to go on and on as an apologist for Brian Snitker, but I suppose I will.  The Braves are normally below average for being put out at home plate, and only had 15 this season.  Only two other teams had better numbers (Miami Marlins and New York Mets).  So, if you think Snitker was bad in decision-making about whether to sendem or not, you might wish to re-think that.


Let’s Meet Doug Dascenzo

Now let me take a bit of time to introduce you to the guy we’ll all see next year, who’ll not only be making decisions about whether to sendem or not, but who’ll also be playing a role, apparently, as a base running and outfield coach.  I guess I’ll go ahead and admit that my sendem thing is a snide comment.  It’s in reaction to those that think base coaching is no big deal, or that anyone can do it.

I’ll miss Brian, but I have high confidence in Doug Dascenzo’s abilities.  He managed teams in the San Diego Padres organization from 2006 until 2011, rising all the way to Double-A, and also being graced with the Texas League Manager of the Year award in 2011 after leading his team to the TL Championship that same year.  The Braves’ took notice, and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Doug brings a wealth of experience and success to his new role as 3B coach for the Atlanta Braves.  He was first drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 12th round of the 1985 draft, and debuted with the Cubs in 1988.  Doug played for seven seasons, and while he was never a stand-out major league player offensively, he was a great outfielder, having the distinction of once holding the record for the most consecutive games played without an error – 241 – a streak that spanned from 1988 until 1991.  He definitely has the chops to help coach the outfield for the Braves!

After his playing career, he made his managerial debut with the Padres’ Northwest League affiliate, the Eugene Emeralds, in 2006, and was instrumental in guiding them to a 43-33 record.   He soon was promoted to the position of manager of the Fort Wayne Wizards in the Midwest League in 2007, and led the Wizards to the league championship in 2009.  He would rise once again to be named the manager of the Double-A San Antonio Missions of the Texas League, and received the honor of being named the Texas League Manager of the Year (2011) after leading the Missions to the Texas League Championship.


Final Thoughts

It’s obvious that Dascenzo has a great resume’.  Personally, I wish the best for Brian Snitker as he takes on the managerial position for our beloved Triple-A Gwinnett team, and wish the best as well for Doug Dascenzo as he takes over the helm at 3B for the Atlanta Braves in 2014.  I think it entirely possible we could see Doug managing a big league club some day.  Who knows, it could be the Atlanta Braves.  I also think it’s entirely possible we’ll see Snitker back coaching the the big leagues at some point as well, particularly if he can improve the situation in Gwinnett.

Tags: Atlanta Braves FanSided

  • Matthew Jones

    What the story really is the dismissal of Randy Ready after only one year of managing the G-Braves. Besides the poor record, there has been no real indication of why he was let go. Although, I will say that it’s my opinion that it’s hard to manage a team to a great record when you have most of your team’s best players moved up to the big club. Granted, it was Ready’s job to continue to development process of the other players that were brought in, so maybe there’s an angle there.

  • fireboss

    Gwinnett’s roster was shallow and the pitching wasn’t great. Winning with that team would have been a major accomplishment. Sintker had 17 seasons managing in the minors, seven of those winning years. For minor league managers winning is secondary to player development and I don’t see Gwinnett doing remarkably better until the farm system itself improves. It’s a demotion.
    No one can blame Snitker for the Braves losses, that’s just silly.
    The Braves outfield did show some odd faux pas for a group supposed to be elite (Gattis excepted). Bad routes and bad decisions have increased in the past few years so it makes sense to add a coach for that and we’ve got a young team where base running errors have been seen where they weren’t in the past so a coach for that isn’t a bad idea. The issue could well be money.

    We all know the Braves have a limited budget and that extends to every facet of their operation. They extended it to add a second hitting coach but likely didn’t have the flexibility to add a coach just for outfield and base running. Most major league coaches have at least two jobs so the outfield/base running coach needed to do double duty and the most likely spot was 3B as Snitker’s playing experience was at catcher the Braves have a lot of coaches who can do that already.

    Instead of saying thanks and goodbye I suspect they him if he wanted to stay in the organization he’d been with for so long and he said yes. That’s the way the Braves work; JS said as much when he promoted Wren and we’ve seen it over and over again, Randy Ready was not an organization guy, he spent his career all around the league but not with the Braves. This made it an easy choice to let him go and give Snitker an important job that kept him on board.
    No slam on Ready or Snitker just reshuffling the deck to reward loyalty and fulfill a need.

    • Chris Headrick

      Apples and oranges, semantics, etc. Whether some want to call it a demotion or not is really irrelevant. The point is the article was to acert that Snitker wasn’t being “punished” per se. In the long run, I feel that Dacenzo will do a great job, and has some facets to his approach and training that are perhaps better than Brian’s, but Snitker will be good for the GB’s. Randy Ready has had a number of issues off the field which I suspect are part of the problem with him, if you know his history.

      • Matthew Jones

        I haven’t kept up with the G-Braves. What are you talking about with the off the field probs?

        • Chris Headrick

          It might be a stretch, and I don’t wish to resurrect “dirt” about anyone. Suffice it to say that if you research Randy Ready, you’ll find he’s had some turbulent family issues at times, although it was a long time ago. I’m “not” saying there’s any relationship there to events, but I’m like everyone else – just surmising why things didn’t work out with Ready.

          • Matthew Jones

            Understandable. I just wasn’t sure if it was something that Ready had done specifically this one year as manager for the G-Braves.

  • Lee Trocinski

    I’m not saying a coach’s skill as a player determines his worthiness of teaching that skill, but Dascenzo was 49-of-75 on steals in his career, and he had a below-average rating in the outfield, despite the lack of errors. I’m sure he knows what to do; he just wasn’t able to do it physically.

    The Braves only had a 67% SB success rate and took extra bases a bit below league average this past season, so there is work to be done there. The atrocious OF defense by Gattis and the very underwhelming work of J-Up also warrants Dascenzo’s job.

    Side note: I remember Dascenzo as the first position player I saw pitch in relief. Turns out he did it 3 times in ’91, not a bad memory for a 6-year-old…

    • Chris Headrick

      Again, “and while he was never a stand-out major league player offensively, he was a great outfielder, having the distinction of once holding the record for the most consecutive games played without an error – 241 – a streak that spanned from 1988 until 1991. He definitely has the chops to help coach the outfield for the Braves!”

      • Lee Trocinski

        Are you really using fielding percentage as a basis for defensive skill? Vernon Wells is 6th all-time in field% for a CF… I’m not saying he can’t teach it, but hopefully he can teach better than he played.

        • Chris Headrick

          No, I’m trying to subtly point out that you just like to argue! The piece was a piece on a new “coach” not a new player, and I simply cited that he was able to play the position without error, so he knows something about fielding, a la “the chops to coach”. Debates about his range, fielding percentage, or overall effectiveness at the position were never the point of the post, and I don’t know the reason you felt to cause the argument, unless it’s the continued need to proselytize about sabermetrics. I’ll debate a player’s stats all day, but not a coach’s stats back when he was a player!

          • Chris Headrick

            I just realized my reply was a touch on the venomous side, and I didn’t mean any offense. I just don’t like debating something as simple as the playing numbers of a coach who played many years ago. It’s irrelevant in my view. Anyway, sorry Lee if I came across a touch ornery :) haha

          • Lee Trocinski

            I am incessant, at times annoyingly so. I understand your frustration. I’ll try to keep my tangents on the relevant side from now on…

          • Chris Headrick

            No Lee. I appreciate your knowledge of sabermetrics, and sometimes we bump heads, but I always learn alot from you, so don’t mistake my seeming annoyance with any plea that you stop being you! :) Bumping heads is sometimes the best way to learn from each other, even in the midst of an argument. We cool?

          • Lee Trocinski

            Oh of course.

    • fireboss

      Most hitting coaches weren’t great hitters. McGwuire proved to be a very good hitting coach but he was strictly a power guy and not a great hitter.
      Taking the extra base is something we need to culitvate and something JUP did in Arizona but he was so up and down that didn’t manifest this year. Our base stealer hit 180 and wasn’t on base enough to be a threat and the team as it sits today doesn’t have a base stealer. I like the idea of improving a weakness – particularly in the outfield – but it isn’t going to change our performance against the best pitching in critical series. You have to get on base to do that.

      • Lee Trocinski

        It seems like the best hitting coaches are the guys who had good plate discipline, but not enough raw talent to hit great (Dave Magadan, Dave Hansen, etc). Also, McGwire had a 15% unintentional walk rate, so it was more than just power. Also, Justin actually maintained his career average of 52% extra bases taken this season.

        • fireboss

          Those guys worked harder at learning to hit because it was the only way they could hang around so it makes sense they would know more about the how than those for whom it came easily. From personal experience when things come to easy you ignore how they are done until it’s forced on you unless you are so in lve with doing it that being the best counts. A lot of McGwire;s walk rate was Philosophically believing that the guy behind him could hit as well, something many sluggers forget and something LaRusa preached. I underestimated his hitting ability. While he wasn’t a top tier hitter he was better than I though but looks to be a worse in totals because he had several years when injuries kept him on the bench. He had 10 really good seasons hitting (for a slugger, between 130-160 hits) and would have passed 2200 hits had he been healthy in the early 90s .

          I knew JUP took the extra base a lot its one of the traits I like a lot in a player. I underestimated hi success without looking for exact numbers based on the way his hits went up and down. this is something it appears the Braves are really bad at and a reason to bring a base running coach on board.