The Giants have gone all-in on player development, hoping to build themselves into a contender that sees improvements not just from prospects, but established big leaguers as well. But the emphasis on development isn't limited to those who step into the batter's box or stand on the pitcher's mound.
The 13-person coaching staff is filled with bright minds who were promoted several levels when they got hired by Gabe Kapler, and one of his focuses this year has been on seeing development from his coaches. With the Giants playing an exhibition Monday in Oakland, Kapler saw an opportunity to help Alyssa Nakken, the first female coach in MLB history, further her own growth.
Nakken is technically an assistant coach, but in the late innings of a win at the Coliseum she was coaching first base, becoming the first woman to coach in an on-field capacity at the big league level.
"She did a great job out there at first base today," Kapler said. "I think you saw also (assistant coach) Mark Hallberg at third base a little bit. (Third base coach Ron Wotus) was able to get Mark some reps out there. It was nice to interact with him and Antoan (Richardson) stepped up and made sure that Alyssa continued her development as well on the bases."
Richardson is the first base coach and will be during the season, but he has worked closely with Nakken during both camps and they have teamed up to work with outfielders and baserunners. Nakken has been a first base coach during several intrasquad games and it seemed she could be headed for a cameo in that role at some point when the lights came on. The Giants wasted no time.
San Francisco Giants
Nakken will continue to break barriers, but Kapler has been adamant that none of this is viewed that way. He hired Nakken because he thought she would be a good coach, and thus far she has gotten rave reviews from fellow staffers and players.
"We just see Alyssa as an especially effective coach, period," Kapler said earlier this month when asked about having a female coach on his staff. "At this point she's so ingrained in our culture and so ingrained as a member of our coaching staff that she's just going around making players and staff members better. That's how I see it when I see her out on the field."
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