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Grasshoppers Roundup

A profile of the Hoppers new manager Todd Pratt

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Todd Pratt as the new manager of the Hoppers.
http://www.greensboro.com/townnews/sport/hardin-s-column/article_6ac9fddf-185a-5352-b49e-21acf164cdb1.html

The manager of the Grasshopper this season should be familiar to long-time fans of baseball and of the NL East.

Pratt was chosen by the Red Sox in the sixth round of the 1985 draft, debuted with the Phillies in 1992. He played in the majors, mostly as a backup catcher, from ‘92-’06, mostly prominently with the Phillies and Mets.

His most memorable moment was in 1999 when he hit a walk-off homer in Game 4 of the NLDS to send the Mets to the NLCS.

Todd Pratt is in his first professional managerial role, after five years head coach at West Georgia Tech, a junior college in LaGrange, GA.

He helped build the school’s baseball team from scratch in 2011 and elevated it from a club team to a full-fledged NJCAA team. He did all this while battling head and neck cancer.

According to Ed Hardin’s excellent column on Greensboro.com, Pratt brings an old school mentality and blends it with a respect for analytics. This is part of an overhaul of the Marlins’ minor league system to help create a unified vision for the entire organization going forward.

On a lighter note, for those who have read Brian Kenny’s book Ahead of the Curve, Pratt hits most of his requirements of being a professional baseball manager: he is tall at 6’3”, played in the MLB, and was a backup catcher. Another qualification according to Kenny is to be ruggedly handsome, but I’ll leave that for you to decide.

On the field, so far so good in terms of results, as Greensboro has started off 5-2 in early season action. The Hoppers were a pitiful 65-75 last year, which left them in 12th place in the South Atlantic League. This led to a dismissal of two-year skipper Kevin Randel.

This year’s Hopper lineup is, typically for a single-A team, full of new players trying to move up the ladder. Most interestingly, Tyler Kolek should come back from TJ surgery later this season, and 2017 first round draft pick Braxton Garrett should get a call-up from the Gulf Coast League.

It is still a little early to make definitive comments on the season or on Pratt’s managerial style, but it should be fun season to follow for Marlins and Grasshopper fans alike under their new skipper.