Frank Viola: Sweet Music To A Pitching Prospect’s Ears

An article by posted on January 9, 2014

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Anthony DiComo of MLB.com confirmed on Wednesday that the Mets have named Frank Viola their new Triple-A pitching coach. Viola will join Wally Backman‘s staff, and look to continue the same success that he has experienced while coaching one year with Brooklyn (A-) and the past two with Savannah (A).

Viola, who played with the Twins for nine seasons, joined the Mets and won 20 games during the 1990 season. He is a former AL Cy Young winner, a three-time All-Star and finished his career at 176-150 with a 3.73 ERA.

There have been a few Mets prospects that I have spoken with that have had nothing but great things to say about Viola. Here are some of the ones I recently interviewed who shared what Frank Viola meant to them:

Paul Sewald- I would have to say Frank Viola has made the biggest impact on my game so far in my professional career. He just has so much experience and insight that you just listen when he has advice. He talks a lot about the approach and mental aspects of the game and I certainly think it elevated my performance this summer.

Stefan Sabol - Definitely Frank Viola helped a lot with me mentally on the game,  I’m truly blessed to have had him as my coach for this past season.

Luis Cessa - Frank Viola is a great coach, he help me a lot of times with a lot of different things, all season long.

Steven Matz - Having Frank Viola as my pitching coach this year was a true blessing. Having a 15 or 16 year big league career, he has seen it all. He really knows how to optimize a pitching staff. He knew what each of us were capable of and he didn’t let us do any less. And it showed.

Beck Wheeler -  I gained so much knowledge talking with our pitching coach Frank Viola.  He helped me understand how to pitch more effectively and scenarios that I should be throwing certain pitches. He certainly taught me a lot about myself as a pitcher and a person.  He’s such a genuine coach and really tells you what it is, be it good or bad.  Being in the majors for 16 years, he brought a wealth of knowledge to our pitching staff and he could critique us individually.  He has some great stories from his playing days and always lightens the mood in the clubhouse.

Charley Thurber - Frank Viola helped me transition to the pro game in Brooklyn. He was one of the coaches that believed in me and I was able to succeed. He was someone special in my career because he knew me from the start and didn’t care where I came from. Learning from him and my other coaches was definitely a reason I had the confidence and performance to become an NY Penn League All Star.

Hunter Carnevale - There is so much I can say about Frank Viola. The experience that he brings to a pitching staff is immeasurable. Since he’s basically seen/done it all, you can ask him about anything and he will say something that, if you take it to heart, will definitely help you. I’ve been with Frank for 2 years ( 2011 in Brooklyn and this past year) and the biggest thing he helps you with, is understanding your strengths and how to utilize those strengths against the batter. Once you realize what kind of pitcher you are he preaches to ” trust your stuff,” get ahead of the batter,  and compete.

The 51′s look to continue the success that the organization experienced in 2013 when they went 81-63 and won their division. Viola brings a winning attitude to Las Vegas as his Savannah Sand Gnats won the South Atlantic League Championship last season. It’s a great move by the Mets and a great opportunity for Sweet Music to show what he can do with our prospects at the highest level of the system.

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About the Author ()

David was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and is a lifelong Mets fan. He is the Senior Editor for MMO and also the Executive Editor for our Minor League site, MetsMinors.Net. David is also a photographer and shares his great photos here on MMO.

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