New Podding the Red Sox episode: Double-A Portland development coach Katie Krall joins the show

On this week’s episode of Podding the Red Sox: A BloggingtheRedSox.com Podcast, I am joined by new Red Sox player development coach Katie Krall.

In case you missed it, the Red Sox made history earlier this winter by becoming the first major-league franchise to employ two female coaches after they hired Krall. They previously hired minor-league coach Bianca Smith in December 2020.

Krall will be working with the Red Sox’ Double-A affiliate in Portland, Maine this coming season.

On this episode of Podding the Red Sox, Krall discusses how she first got into baseball during her childhood, working in the Commissioner’s Office upon graduating from Northwestern University, spending two years in the Cincinnati Reds’ front office, her brief time at Google as a member of their global strategy team, and what led to her accepting a coaching gig with the Red Sox.

She also delves into her previous connections to New England, meeting Red Sox prospect Triston Casas at the 2018 MLB Draft, her takeaways from the Sox’ Winter Warmup program in Fort Myers this week, the role she will undertake as a member of the Portland Sea Dogs’ coaching staff this season, and much more!

The episode is available to listen to on iTunes and Spotify, among other podcast platforms.

My thanks to Katie for taking some time out of her busy schedule to have an in-depth conversation with yours truly.

Thank you for listening and we will see you next time! Please make sure to subscribe and leave a five-star review if you can!

(Picture of Katie Krall: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox)

Red Sox make history in hiring Katie Krall as development coach with Double-A Portland

The Red Sox have hired Katie Krall to serve as a player development coach with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Per Speier, “Krall will have a hybrid role in which she navigates among the front office, coaching staff, and players, while helping to integrate technology and information into on-field work.”

Krall, 24, is a native of Illinois who graduated from Northwestern University in 2018. She is currently an MBA candidate at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

Upon graduating from Northwestern in 2018, Krall spent nearly two years working in the Commissioner’s Office as part of Major League Baseball’s Diversity Fellowship Program.

In January 2020, Krall was hired by the Cincinnati Reds to work in the club’s front office as a baseball operations analyst. She served in that role through the end of the 2021 season and her responsibilities included developing and integrating new tools and technology to improve baseball operations decision-making processes as well as providing comprehensive scouting coverage and statistical request support.

Krall’s upcoming endeavor with the Sea Dogs will not be her first experience in New England. She previously interned for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks of the Cape Cod Baseball League during the summer of 2017.

In hiring Krall, the Red Sox — as noted by Speier — become the first MLB team to have multiple women on coaching staffs in the organization. The Sox hired Bianca Smith as a minor-league coach last January, allowing her to become the first Black woman hired to coach in the history of affiliated baseball.

“I’m super excited about Katie,” Smith said of Krall in a recent conversation with Speier. “I know her background. I know what she’s done. I’m glad I’m able to be a resource to help. I’m excited to work with her.

“We’ve already talked about how we’ve got to get a picture when we’re together at spring training, because that’s going to be history in itself — that an organization has two women,” added Smith. “It’s kind of sad that it’s still a big deal, but we’re both really excited about it.”

Upon joining the Red Sox organization last year, Smith started out on a seasonal, six-month contract in which she worked primarily with hitters and outfielders in extended spring training in Fort Myers. Her responsibilities gradually increased once the 2021 Florida Complex League season began.

According to Speier, Smith will be promoted and undertake a full-time coaching role in Fort Myers in 2022.

This news comes at a time when glass ceilings are continuously shattering across baseball. Earlier this week, the Yankees introduced Rachel Balkovec as the new manager of their Low-A affiliate in the Tampa Tarpons, making her the first woman to ever be appointed manager of a minor-league team.

As of this moment, 11 women are slated to coach in affiliated baseball during the 2022 season. Of those 11, eight (including Balkovec, Krall, and Smith) have been hired by their respective clubs since January 2021.

(Picture of Hadlock Field: Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

New Podding the Red Sox episode: Red Sox minor-league coach Chris Hess joins the show

On this week’s installment of Podding the Red Sox: A BloggingtheRedSox.com Podcast, I am joined by one of the Red Sox’ newest minor-league coaches in Chris Hess.

Among the topics Hess and I discussed were his college career at the University of Rhode Island, how he found out he got drafted in 2017, his professional career with the Yankees, what led him to join the Red Sox as a minor-league coach, what it will be like to work with Bianca Smith, and much more.

The episode is available to listen to on iTunes and Spotify, among other platforms.

Thanks to Chris for taking some time out of his Thursday night to have a conversation with me. You can check out his 401 Elite Baseball Training program by clicking here.

Thank you for listening and we will see you next time! Please make sure to subscribe and leave a five-star review if you can!

(Picture of Chris Hess: Rhody Rampage)

Red Sox promote Ben Crockett to senior vice president of baseball operations, Brian Abraham to director of player development in slew of personnel moves

The Red Sox announced several major- and minor-league personnel moves on Friday afternoon, highlighted by Ben Crockett being promoted to the club’s senior vice president of baseball operations and Brian Abraham being promoted to the club’s director of player development.

Crockett, 41, previously served as Boston’s vice president of player development from 2016-2020 and has been with the organization since 2007 after interning in their baseball operations department.

His promotion to SVP of baseball ops. comes a few weeks after longtime Red Sox executive Zack Scott left the organization to become assistant general manager of the New York Mets.

Scott has since been named New York’s acting general manager after the club fired Jared Porter on January 19 for harassing a female reporter in 2016.

Crockett, a Topsfield, Mass. native, played college baseball at Harvard University, and emerged as a legitimate right-handed pitching prospect there as evidenced by him getting drafted twice.

The first time around, Crockett — a junior — was selected by the Red Sox in the 10th round of the 2001 amateur draft. He did not sign with his hometown team.

The second time around, Crockett — now a senior — was selected by the Rockies in the third round of the 2002 amateur draft. He went on to sign with Colorado and spend five years in their minor-league system.

Since calling it a playing career, Crockett has undertaken a variety of roles within the Red Sox’ scouting and player development machine. From 2008-2009, he served as an advance scouting coordinator; from 2010-2011, he served as assistant director of player development; and from 2012-2016, he served as director of player development.

That role has now been taken over by Abraham, who, like Crockett, attended a local school in the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester.

The 36-year-old was born and raised in Worcester, too, and he got his start in professional baseball by spending six years in the Blue Jays’ organization “primarily working in advance scouting and video operations” from 2007-2012.

With Boston, Abraham has worked as a major-league staff assistant (2013-2014), assistant director of player development (2015-2018), and most recently director of minor-league operations (2018-2020).

In addition to the promotions of Crockett and Abraham, the Red Sox also announced that Chris Stasio has been promoted to the role of manager of baseball development, Shawn Haviland has been promoted to the role of senior pitching coordinator, Kirby Retzer has been promoted to the role of assistant strength and conditioning coordinator, Paddy Steinfort has been promoted to the role of senior mental skills coordinator and Adan Severino has been promoted to the role of Latin American mental skills coordinator.

In terms of new additions, Harry Roberson has been hired as the club’s coordinator of player development, Julio Rangel has been hired as the club’s performance pitching coordinator, and Gabriela Alfonso has been hired as the organization’s minor-league sports dietician.

Minor-league coaching staffs finalized:

The Red Sox’ pipeline of minor-league affiliates will be without the Lowell Spinners for this coming season, while Worcester is now the new home of the club’s Triple-A affiliate and the teams in Greenville, SC. and Salem, Va. have essentially switched places.

With that, here is how each affiliate’s coaching staff will stack up to start the new season:

Triple-A Worcester Red Sox
Manager: Billy McMillon
Additional Coach: Bruce Crabbe
Pitching Coach: Paul Abbott
Hitting Coach: Rich Gedman

Double-A Portland Sea Dogs
Manager: Corey Wimberly
Additional Coach: Ako Thomas
Pitching Coach: Lance Carter
Hitting Coach: Lance Zawadzki

High-A Greenville Drive
Manager: Iggy Suarez
Additional Coach: John Shelby III
Pitching Coach: Bob Kipper
Hitting Coach: Nate Spears

Low-A Salem Red Sox
Manager: Luke Montz
Additional Coach: Frankie Rios
Pitching Coach: Nick Green
Hitting Coach: Nelson Paulino

Fort Myers Complex
Manager: Tom Kotchman
Additional Coaches: Mickey Jiang, Bianca Smith, Chris Hess
Pitching Coaches: Dick Such, Brett Merritt, Jason Blanton
Hitting Coaches: Josh Prince, Junior Zamora

Dominican Republic Academy
Latin American Field Coordinator: Jose Zapata
Managers: Ozzie Chavez, Sandy Madera
Additional Coaches: Juan Hernandez, Claudio Sanchez, Carlos Vallejo, Leonel Vazquez
International Instructor: Amaury Garcia
Pitching Coaches: Oscar Lira, Humberto Sanchez
Hitting Coaches: Eider Torres, Danny Ortega

For more information on the Red Sox’ minor-league coaching staffs, check out this press release from the team.

(Picture of Red Sox logo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox make Bianca Smith hiring official, making her first Black woman to coach in history of professional baseball

In case you missed it, the Red Sox officially announced their hiring of Bianca Smith as a minor-league coach on Monday.

Smith, 29, becomes the first Black woman to coach in the history of professional baseball, which goes back to 1869.

“The opportunity is amazing,” Smith told MLB Network’s Matt Vasgersian and Harold Reynolds on Monday’s installment of Hot Stove. “I’m still wrapping my head around it. I probably won’t have it really sink in until I’m actually there.

“But, I think it’s a great opportunity also to inspire other women who are interested in this game,” she added. “This is not really something I thought about when I was younger, and I kind of fell into it being an athlete. So I’m excited to get that chance to show what I can do.”

Prior to signing on with the Red Sox, Smith played college softball at Dartmouth College from 2011-2012. She also has experience as director of baseball operations and a graduate assistant at Case Western Reserve from 2013-2017 as well as an assistant hitting coach at the University of Dallas in 2018.

Currently, Smith operates as an assistant baseball coach and hitting coordinator for Carroll University (Wisc.). She will remain in that role for the next few weeks before joining the Red Sox.

“Preparing for the season, I’m doing exactly what I’ve been doing for the last several years,” she said. “Just continue to keep learning, continue to keep researching. Doing as much as I can. I’ve still got several weeks here at Carroll, so I get to work with my players here. So that will be great preparation. I’m going to be nonstop coaching for about the next seven or eight weeks before I get started with the Red Sox.”

In her role with Boston, Smith will primarily work with minor-league position players at the club’s player development facility in Fort Myers.

The Pennsylvania native does also have prior experience working within major-league organizations, interning for both the Cincinnati Reds and Texas Rangers’ baseball operations departments in recent years.

“She was a great candidate coming in,” Red Sox vice president of player development Ben Crockett said of Smith. “She’s had some really interesting experiences and has been passionate about growing her skill set and development herself… It’s a meaningful, meaningful thing for the organization.”

According to MLB.com’s Ian Browne, the Red Sox are expected to introduce Smith to the media via Zoom conference sometime this week.

The Boston Globe’s Julian McWilliams was the first to report last week that the Red Sox were hiring Smith as a minor-league coach.

Information from MLB.com, MLB Network, and The Boston Globe was used in this article.