The Martha’s Vineyard Sharks announced the hiring of Mike Miller as the Sharks Head Coach for the 2013 summer baseball season.
Mike was the Sharks assistant coach last summer and impressed Bob Tankard, Vice President of Operations, and Jerry Murphy, General Manager. GM Murphy indicated that Bob and he interviewed several players on the team at the conclusion of the summer season asking them what they thought of Mike as a coach, and all spoke very highly of him as an individual and his knowledge of the game, which confirmed their thoughts.
When asked what type of coach he is, Coach Miller stated that “I’m a small-ball type of coach as I love to hit and run, steal bases, and be aggressive on the base paths. If you put pressure on guys they tend to make mistakes. With the team we have put together, we have several players with outstanding speed mixed with players with gap-to-gap power that should complement each other.” GM Murphy indicated that Tad Gold, who led the Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL) in steals with 27, will be back next season in addition to a stable of outfielders who can run and steal bases as well as hit for average. “We picked up 5 new outfielders and only one is an incoming freshman. The other four outfielders’ batting averages last season at the college level was .400, .389, .380 and .305. We also picked up a 3B/ OF who hit .380 with 11 HRs and a 1B who hit .346 with 8 HRs as a freshman.”
GM Murphy indicated that a special effort was made to bring back last year’s starting catcher, Justin Meier, who batted .305 in the FCBL. Additionally we brought in a new catcher who batted .346 with 24 RBIs along with an incoming freshman. “It is a marathon and we want to keep our catchers fresh.” The pitching staff had to be rebuilt from last year’s team as 4 of the starting pitchers, that were also two of the best pitchers in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League, either moved on or became seniors this academic school year. Murphy stated that we have built a formidable starting staff with pitchers who last year at the college level were starters and succeeded. “We picked up starting pitchers that had ERAs of 1.73, 2.21, 2.51 along with several pitchers from last season’s team that he expects to step up and have big years such as Mike McFerran (3.52 for the Sharks) and Kyle Brenner who last year was recovering from an injured knee but is a bulldog and ended the season strong for the Sharks. We also picked up two hard throwing freshman (85 to 88 MPH) from C.W. Post” that were highly recommended by former Sharks catcher Anthony Corona who will be an assistant coach next season for the Sharks. Former closer for the Sharks the past two seasons, Ryan Morris, will also be an assistant coach for the Sharks next season.
One of the questions that GM Murphy asked Coach Miller before we put our roster together for 2013 was how he would eliminate the last two baseball seasons’ collapses in the last 3 weeks of each season. Coach Miller stated “as far as the collapses are concerned, I feel like it is my job to keep the guys motivated, fresh and loose, and have each player wanting to show up at the park everyday wanting to win. In the summer I think that although we are first here to win baseball games you have to have some fun with it and keep team moral up.” The FCBL announced at the annual meeting this month that every Monday will be a day off during the season and that no rescheduled games will be booked on these off days. GM Murphy stated that next season we will only play league games to reduce the wear and tear on the players as “no team in the league travels as much as we do.” Additionally the FCBL has divided the league into two divisions with the weight of the schedule against those teams in your division that are also physically closer to the Sharks. One thing that will not happen again is the 4 consecutive doubleheaders that Sharks had to play at the end of the season. The FCBL will no longer allow more than two doubleheaders in one week.
Coach Miller also stated that “I think we have a good group of guys, with what is returning and what we have added and I believe we have a team built to win the league.”