Interesting Subplot Brews in NL East as Rival Braves Hire Rick Kranitz, Phillies' Deposed Pitching Coach

After the Phillies surprisingly fired pitching coach Rick Kranitz last month, we wrote this line:

Kranitz, who had previously served as head major-league pitching coach with Miami, Baltimore and Milwaukee, should have no trouble hooking on with another organization.

Well, this has proven true.

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Kranitz, according to people close to him, is about to be named head pitching coach of the Atlanta Braves. This means he is poised to take three years worth of intel gained on the Phillies' staff to one of the team's biggest National League East rivals.

Kranitz, 60, served as bullpen coach, assistant pitching coach and head pitching coach during his three years with the Phillies and was popular with the team's pitchers. He and Bob McClure were both influential in Aaron Nola's development at the major league level. Nola finished third in the NL Cy Young voting in 2018. McClure had served as head Phillies pitching coach from 2014 to 2017. Kranitz took over in 2018.

Even though he had a year left on his contract, Kranitz was abruptly let go by the Phillies in November after assistant pitching coach Chris Young had received interest from other clubs, including the Braves. Phillies management did not want to risk losing Young so it promoted him and pushed aside Kranitz, who offered his take on the matter here.

Young, 37, joined the Phillies a year ago after spending three years with the Houston Astros as pro scouting supervisor. The Astros are one of baseball's most progressive organizations and Young is well schooled in the modern approach (video, data-based matchup study) that many teams - including the Phillies - are now taking toward coaching and game preparation.

The Braves overtook the Phillies down the stretch in 2018 to win the NL East. Kranitz replaces Chuck Hernandez as Atlanta's pitching coach and he will see a lot of his former team. The Braves and Phillies play 19 times per season and they will open the 2019 season against each other on March 28 in Philadelphia.

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