Former Tri-City Dust Mevil manager Ben Fritz was named the new pitching coach for the San Deigo Padres last month. Fritz managed the then-Padres affiliate in the 2016 and 2017 seasons -- Posting a winning record in his second and final season.
He says his experience inside Gesa Stadium helped prepare him for his role in the Majors.
"It prepared me to be in the best space possible to take this on, " explained Fritz. "Obviously it's a different level than here, but being a manager there, you're going to deal with other aspects of the game rather than just the players and the clubhouse, so I think managing at a lower level, it created a better space for that."
Prior to replacing Larry Rothschild, Fritz was the Bullpen Coach for two years and has held positions within the San Diego system the past six seasons.
Before his time developing players, Fritz pitched at Cal State Fresno and was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the First Round (30th Overall) of the 2002 MLB June Amateur Draft. His professional career ended due to injuries, but the experience carries into his roles as a coach.
Going from the Tri-Cities to the big league, Fritz says his player-first approach is the driving force behind his success.
"I look at this as really understanding the person and how you are going to communicate with that person," said Fritz. "It's not always mechanics. It's not always pitch selection; It really is a two way street. When you're dealing with people on an individual basis, it give you the best chance to work successfully with them."