A 12th-round pick of the Detroit Tigers in 1993, Bryan Corey pitched professionally until 2012, logging 600 minor league appearances and parts of five seasons in the major leagues. Corey pitched in Japan and the independent Atlantic League at the end of his career.
This season, Corey took on a new challenge, joining the Oakland A’s organization as a minor league pitching coach for the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters. Under Corey’s guidance, the Lake Monsters finished third in the league in team ERA with a 3.01 mark.
Donald Moore spoke with Corey about his new role during a Vermont roadtrip earlier this year.
Donald Moore: Hi coach, how does the pitching staff look this season?
Bryan Corey: Good. A lot of good guys first and foremost, a lot of these guys want to compete, which is important to me. Obviously you’re going into their stuff, direct ability and stuff like that and I think there are some guys here who can pitch in higher levels. It’s a good mix. They have blended well together. Some of these guys have been around this organization for a year or two or three years in some instances, so that includes some of the Latin players and everybody has jelled really well. It’s been a good group of the new guys who have come in and the older guys have helped some of the younger guys in terms of being a professional, baseball age wise, but it’d been good and it’s a good staff.
DM: Any particular standouts would would like to mention?
BC: Yeah, there has been a few guys who have really stood out to me. Parker Dunshee just competes and he has a bulldog mentality and he has the tools to go with it. Every time he goes out there. he impresses me more and more. I think Wandisson Charles has come a long, long way and he’s still a work in progress but there is a lot of potential and there is a ton in there. I can see those guys pitching in a higher level and possibly the Major Leagues. There are definitely some good arms here.
DM: It’s your first year with the A’s organization as a coach. I remember when you signed a free agent contract with the Oakland A’s as a non-roster player in 1999. How is this year’s experience been working out for you in Vermont?
BC: It’s great. It doesn’t feel like work. I’m learning every day myself and I try to communicate and make sure that I can use some of my experiences from when I was playing that I looked for in a pitching coach. I would kind of read guys and other pitchers we would talk about what were some of the strengths and weaknesses of our other pitching coaches, and some of the good ones that I had and try to take information from some of those good ones and implement that here with these guys along with some of my beliefs and the organization’s policies, the guidelines we have to work under. It’s awesome. I love it. I’m really thankful for the opportunity. I really am.
DM: What is the hardest challenge teaching these young players at this level?
BC: Getting them to trust you and gaining their trust. They can read about your background, they can talk about this, that, and the other thing. That will give you some credibility, but the bottom line is you have to connect with them to gain their trust and get their respect for them to buy in what we are teaching as an organization.
There is some resistance there, because they all had some level of success to get here in their own way and then your asking them to a degree, not right away because we let them go out there and do their own thing for a little while and get their feet under them and just do what they do, but they are going to have to make adjustments and understand that we play every day and it’s a little different trying to go out and throw every day and tow the rubber every fifth day as a starter and it’s an adjustment.
Some of the guys it’s new for them because they have never dealt with that, dealing with some failure and some of them haven’t had to deal with that as much, and that has been kind of a bit of struggle to get through and help them understand that it’s not the end of the world and you’re going to be alright and it’s all part of the process. Really it all comes down to trusting the process and not focus so much on the results. In a nut shell that is it.
DM: Coach, you have a true passion for this game. You have played all over the globe during your baseball career. Your resume includes 11 different Major League clubs, stints in Japan, Mexico, Korea, Independent leagues, coaching and scouting. You possess a vast wealth of knowledge and experiences. You are truly a valued asset to the Oakland Athletics organization, as well. Are there any future goals you’d like to achieve in this game?
BC: There are. I have my own personal goals along the way. I want to help as many kids that I can. I was fortune enough to make a transition to a pitcher on my third year of playing professional baseball and a lot of people helped me to where I wanted to get to and I was getting to the bigs leagues, so I want to do my part to help as many guys I can to achieve that dream along the way and I do have aspirations to get back into the big leagues as a pitching coach and I shared with you yesterday as well, I’ll get there when I am suppose to be there and I won’t get there a day sooner and when I’m ready, in a way, hone my skills to be at that level and it’s a challenge everyday.
There is a lot and you have to have a lot of feel for the guys you work with and it’s a little family in this team as a pitching staff and making sure I connect with everyone you come into contact with. It’s kind of having a small impact on these guys along the way to help these guys get to the big leagues.It’s my goal, it’s my job and we’ll see what happens in the future.
DM: Any off-season plans?
BC: Try to relax , spend some time with my girls and just kind of have a little down time and try to catch up on life a little bit. Hopefully, I’ll coach a little bit and we’ll see what happens with Instructional League, hopefully I’ll have that opportunity and other than that, just relax and try to enjoy some down time with my girls.
DM: It’s a pleasure and a honor speaking with you and the best of luck to you and your future.
BC: Thank you so much. It’s an honor for me to speak with you as well.
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