The New York Yankees put a shock through the baseball world when they announced their manager of the past decade, Joe Girardi, would not be returning to the team. Naturally, the question on everybody’s mind is who will be next in line to take over the Yankees managerial duties and one name that could stand out over the others is current Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders’ manager, Al Pedrique.
Pedrique entered the Yankees system in 2014 as the manager of the Tampa Yankees and was promoted to manager of the RailRiders in 2016. In his first year with the team he won his division and the RailRiders’ won the International League Governers’ Cup. After that victory Scranton Wilkes-Barre went on to win the Triple-A National Championship. Pedrique also has some Major League experience managing when he was named interim manager for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004 where he had a 22-61 record.
Girardi was a successful manager in his tenure with New York but there were some tendencies he had that would often get questioned. The largest criticism of Girardi has been habit of making his decisions based solely off of analytics. Baseball has moved in a direction where analytics rule the diamond but there is that special element of humanizing the game that is important too. Managers such as Joe Maddon or Terry Francona has found a nice balance of that but it’s something Girardi always lacked.
Pedrique has displayed a nice balance of numbers and gut decisions in Scranton Wilkes-Barre. He was always aware of the favorable or unfavorable match-ups he had but he doesn’t let that get in the way of making a call if he had a feeling otherwise. One perfect example of this was this past season when he moved journeyman Ruben Tejada to the cleanup spot early in the year. Tejada didn’t last long there, of course, but he did get some big hits for the RailRiders that lead to victories. Uniquely, he is also more involved in the in-game decisions than most managers are because he is also the RailRiders’ third base coach.
His impact on the RailRiders’ clubhouse cannot go unnoticed either. The SWB team practically played with enough players to fill up three teams this year which could effect enthusiasm in the clubhouse and rumors flew around trades, call-ups, send-downs, and more. He even kept them focused when “Gleyber-mania” came to town. It was impressive the team stayed on its feet and kept winning. Pedrique was able to keep his players focused on the task at hand which was winning games and getting better every day. He would constantly tell his players to focus on only what they could control and they bought in.
With the roster changing daily Pedrique also had the tough task of managing his pitching staff since his Tuesday starter could be in another state on Monday. The handling of the Yankees starting pitchers was another knock on Girardi’s game and Pedrique was able to shuffle masterfully to keep the pitchers as on schedule as possible while also preparing players to be fresh and ready in case they were called up. Poor left-handed reliever, Joe Mantiply, probably didn’t even know he was starting half of the games he did when he woke up that day.
Possibly the most important task of the new Yankees manager is going to have to be developing the young core of amazing talent the Yankees currently have on their big league roster. This is where Pedrique gets a big advantage over other candidates. He has spent some time managing and mentoring players like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Clint Frazier, Gleyber Torres and Tyler Wade. He has the respect of some important players that are the Yankees present and future. That could go a long way when trying to find someone to mold the next core of a team.
Pedrique will have some tough competition ahead of him for the Yankees’ manager job. Names such as Rob Thompson, Kevin Long, and Josh Paul have been thrown around early, but you can rest assured that his pedigree will be up to the task