Embed from Getty Images The Detroit Tigers rebuild is well known by now. The Tigers changed they’re philosophy to drafting and developing home grown players in order to win longer. A growing trend in Major League Baseball. This is where Toledo Mud Hens manager Doug Mientkiewicz comes into play.
Doug Mientkiewicz played 12 MLB seasons, including parts of seven seasons under Ron Gardenhire with the Minnesota Twins. Gardenhire, is the current Detroit Tigers manager.
It is those same Minnesota Twins who are now winning. The funny thing in all of this is Doug Mientkiewicz, was in charge of the Twins rebuild. With almost all of the Detroit Tigers top prospects in the upper minor leagues, the second-year Toledo Mud Hens manager is embracing another opportunity to play a part in another rebuild.
“They’re (players) putting the weight of the world on their shoulders,” Mientkiewicz said. The Mud Hens boss understands it is his job to get the players to block out self-imposed pressure and develop them into everyday MLB players.
As the Tigers rebuild presses on, Mientkiewicz, may be one of the most important people involved. With twelve of MLB.com’s top 30 Tigers prospects such as Daz Cameron, Beau Burrows and Willi Castro are in Toledo, and more are on the way, with 10 in Double A Erie.
Doug Mientkiewicz, retired from playing in 2009. He would spend the 2012 season in the Los Angeles Dodgers system as the hitting coach with the Ogden Raptors. Mientkewicz then headed to the Twins minor league system in 2013, where he took helm of the Fort Myers Miracle for two years. He moved up to Double-A Chattanooga in 2015 before returning to Fort Myers in 2017. Compiling a 385-299 record in five seasons in the Twins organization, Mientkiewicz was let go as part of an organizational overhaul after that season. Yet, it is the Twins who freely admit they are where they are today because of the work Doug Mientkiewicz put in with top prospects.
Doug Mientkiewicz joined the Detroit Tigers organization last season. The team liked him because of his baseball experience. Former players and current Twins all-star players gave Detroit a strong backing to Mientkiewicz.
Mientkiewicz felt great responsibility to develop what is now Minnesota Twins core players. He admits that he was very demanding and tough. “I wouldn’t let them breathe because I knew they were responsible for bringing respectful baseball back to that city,” Mientkiewicz said. “I always say, I don’t know if I’ll make you physically better, but I’ll make you mentally tougher, and that group was battle tested.”
The Detroit Tigers are looking for the same results from a manager that demands them. Doug Mientkiewicz is hope for a brighter tomorrow in Motown.