Just as minor league players appear on team's radars as potential stars, it's no different for coaches and front office personnel. Team's are always on the look out for talent, on the field, in the dugout, and in the boardroom.
As the MLB offseason drags on, with highly coveted stars to replacement-level players all looking for traction with a team, there are also other fast risers in the industry that have gained notoriety around the league for their work, their abilities and their promising futures in baseball.
Eno Sarris of The Athletic recently compiled a list of 12 potential future stars (subscription required) in management and coaching. Two Philadelphia Phillies are included in his collection of fast risers. What's interesting about Sarris' list is that he polled people from all across baseball at all levels, so it's not like our two Phillies got here through praise from Dave Dombrowski and Rob Thomson.
Without further ado, let's get to the Phillies' fast rising stars.
Caleb Cotham, the Phillies' pitching coach, has earned quite a reputation around the game. The former pitcher only appeared in 35 games in the Majors between the New York Yankees and Cincinnati Reds but found his true calling once he got into the coaching gig.
As Sarris explains, "Cotham has garnered respect for his ability to innovate, inform and interact."
Cotham got his current job back in 2021, and since then has transformed the Phillies' pitching staff, no matter who he has had to work with. If you pull up a ranking of the Phillies' pitching staffs in the history of the franchise, this year's version produced the second-highest fWAR at 24.4.
The last time they had a pitching staff that good? 2011 with 29.5 fWAR. 1983 they had an fWAR of 23.8, and then another Cotham staff, 2022, ranks fourth with a 22.9 fWAR.
Cotham took a team with an ERA of 5.20 in 2020 and, since then, has lowered it to 4.39 (2021), 3.98 (2022), and 4.03 (2023).
At the recent Winter Meetings, Thomson had high praise of his own for Cotham.
"Caleb is one of the smartest people I've ever been around," Thomson said. "This guy is a rockstar when it comes to teaching pitching. I lean on him every day."
Preston Mattingly, son of legend Don Mattingly, is making a name for himself in the executive ranks. He recently received a promotion to the assistant general manager role on Nov. 8 while still retaining his previous title of director of player development.
Mattingly has been with the Phillies since 2021, after they poached him from the San Diego Padres in an attempt to resurrect their minor league development system.
According to Sarris, one rival executive he polled is convinced that Mattingly will be a general manager one day.
“(Mattingly) is a future general manager for sure,” said one rival executive, per Sarris. “Just the best person. Worked with players, coaches, scouts, analysts — everyone loves him.”
Well, he's just about there now at just 36 years old. Who knows, maybe we're looking at current general manager Sam Fuld's eventual replacement?