Man Behind the Staff: John Farrell


The Sox have promoted a plethora of young pitchers to the big leagues over the past few years. Many factors go into the success of a young pitcher including the catcher he works with and his manager’s willingness to give him opportunities to pitch. One major factor that is often overlooked, however, is the pitching coach.

John Farrell began his big league career in 1987 as a member of the Cleveland Indians. That year, Farrell logged 9 starts and finished with an impressive 5-1 record with a 3.39 era. In his first full season in the league in 1988, Farrell finished with 14 wins and an era at 4.24. Although that was his last winning season as a pitcher during his 9 year career, Farrell had a bright future in coaching ahead of him.

In 1997, the year after Farrell’s playing career came to a close, he took a position at his alma mater, Oklahoma State, as an Assistant Coach and Pitching & Recruiting Coordinator. After 4 years, he took a position with the Cleveland Indians focusing on player development, which would prove to be extremely valuable when coming to the Sox in 2007.

After Dave Wallace’s departure at the end of 2006, Terry Francona gave his old teammate a call and asked him to join the Sox in the capacity of pitching coach. Farrell jumped at the chance and has done nothing but succeed since he was hired 3 seasons ago.

Farrell’s bio is often overlooked, but his experience as a starter in the big leagues and as a player development person in the front office in Cleveland has been extremely important to his success with the Sox. In his first season at the helm of the pitching staff, the Sox posted a league best 3.87 era. Over the past 3 seasons, the Sox have finished 3rd, 1st, and 2nd in the AL in K’s, an impressive feat with the talent in the AL East alone.

Although he has been blessed with a depth chart filled with natural talent, it is his behind the scenes work on technique and delivery that allow the pitching staff to have success in game situations. Being a pitching coach is a thankless job. Usually, the only time you hear a pitching coach’s name during the season is when things are going poorly, not when the team is pitching well.

Thank you John for all you have done to help the Sox win 95+ games each season. Your hard work and effort is appreciated and we expect more of the same in 2010.