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2022 Diamondbacks Reviews # 11: Torey Lovullo

Torey Lovullo is building dreams of winning.

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Torey Lovullo spoke to player from dugout.
Torey Lovullo spoke to player from dugout.
Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images


Rating: 6.15

AZ Snake Pit

2022 stats: 74 wins.

Date of birth: July 25, 1965 (57 years old).

2022 earnings: Neighborhood of a $1 Million.

2023 status: Manager of the Diamondbacks.

Torey Lovullo is not the same as he was five years ago.

“People don’t change, they reveal who they really are.” — KD Campus 2003

2017. Time management was a foundation skill. Time management is important because managers get pulled in many directions. That evolved.

2022. Same as 2017, but it’s more doing what he’s supposed to be doing and not being distracted. Focus points follow:

  • “Building relationships is a big part of managing today. There has to be some humor. You have to listen. Players need to know why decisions are made. It’s not complicated.” — Torey Lovullo 2019 in this AZ Snake Pit article.
  • “I spend a lot of time building relationships with players.” — Torey Lovullo 2022, audio from this AZ Snake Pit article.
  • Torey Lovullo said, “…where I’ve had to dig in a bit and teach and hit the coaches pretty hard on what my expectations were and align with them about what it’s going to take for them to go out and be the best teacher possible.” How does best teacher translate to gametime? It translates to joy when hard earned improvements are demonstrated as the game is played.

2017. Every season, he determines what kind of team we’re going to be so we win games.

2022. Same as 2017, but it’s more about excellent teaching of what players need to win games. Having leveraged strengths to win games, he is adding a proactive focus on improving specific things that will win games.

“Those are the things that I want to focus on. Those are the things that I’m asking the coaches to absolutely bear down on this offseason and find a way to make sure we are teaching guys at the most critical moment to make the best play they possibly can.” — Torey Lovullo, 2022

2017. Young players’ mindsets need to be smart, tough, and fearless.

2022. Same as 2017, but it’s more about their development, pressing/fighting to win every day, yet not being satisfied with their skills even when they experience success. His players go to it. Players go to the battle, they go to the challenge, and they put pressure on opponents.

  • “This is a very athletic organization right now. Our guys get after it, and it puts pressure on people. That’s the type of baseball that I love to manage.” — Torey Lovullo, 2022
  • “The Diamondbacks were really tough on us this year. They’re a really challenging team. I think about the Diamondbacks a lot, because they’re so gifted and athletic, and they’re all so young. Torey does a great job, … their whole front office is a good group.” — Gabe Kapler 2022, Giants Manager

November 2016. Torey Lovullo picked Ron Gardenhire as his bench coach because, “...the answers that he was giving were completely aligned with what I was thinking. The concepts were right on,” per this article.

2022. Same as November 2016, but it’s more about meeting Lovullo’s coaching expectations and executing. Because Torey Lovullo progressed as a manager he needed different things from his team of coaches. In the offseason between 2021 to 2022, he put together a new group of coaches. Last season with the new coaches in place, they progressed from understanding Lovullo’s coaching needs, to understanding Lovullo’s coaching asks (extraordinary efforts with impact), to going out there and executing.

Player Mindset is important

Players have a voice in decisions. As Torey Lovullo talked at length about the new shift rules he said, “I’m going to put it in the players hands. I want to find out what they’re comfortable with. They’re going to be thinking about it all offseason. I’m not the fielder. Tony Perezchica is not the fielder. These guys are smart. Our guys are smart. We’re going to figure out the best concepts moving forward, We are going to get their input. We do that a lot here. I believe in that.”

Players improve into the next level. Torey Lovullo talked about his player expectations when he said, “Part of my job and part of my core beliefs is dreaming the player into the best version of himself. So I shoot high and aim high on everybody. Sometimes I think the player fits in the category like I’m just a big leaguer, I’m OK. I’m helping them dream into the next level of who they are. So I always have the highest expectation of players coming in.”

Players win the inch and self audit. Torey Lovullo talked about winning at the margins when he said, “We talked about winning the inch. It’s part of our culture. Winning the inch means preparing and getting the job done, being your competitive best when your competitive best is needed. That’s what I want guys to focus on. I want them to do their own audit and say, ‘where did I not do my job?’ and ‘where can I learn to do my job better?’”

We are going to get it done. Torey Lovullo talked about a little shift in mindset when he said, “We got to go out there with an attitude we are going to get it done. That’s something we are going to hone in this offseason. We have already begun talking about it as coaches.”

Gassed up for hardest challenge. Torey Lovullo talked about building mental makeup when he said, “...A mental stamina exercise to challenge yourself mentally to be gassed up and ready for the most, the hardest challenge. That’s something that I want to bear down this offseason and we are going to talk about it through the course of spring.”

2022 Review

Top Level. This season’s 74 wins was an improvement of 22 wins. That’s huge! Although this is the fifth season that the Diamondbacks have improved by at least 22 wins (1999, 2005, 2011, 2017, and 2022), this season feels like a window of contention is opening.

This season built a foundation. The Diamondbacks moved towards a winning culture. “I love the culture that is being created. I love the steps that we have taken. ” — Torey Lovullo, 2022

Detailed level: Three points.

Point 1. Positive impacts from Torey Lovullo and his new team of coaches increased during the season. The Diamondbacks were amazing after the All-Star break. Details here and summary follows:

  • Three starting pitchers made successful debuts (Corbin Martin, Tommy Henry, or Ryne Nelson).
  • Corbin Carroll’s debut was impressive (he showed he is ready to be the everyday right fielder)
  • The Diamondbacks had the best defense in the Majors per The Fielding Bible.
  • Daulton Varsho and Zac Gallen had breakout seasons.
  • Two statistics improved (fewer runners left in scoring position, and fewer balls in play per swing by opposing batters).

Point 2. Torey Lovullo made effective moves to quickly stop losing streaks. The longest losing streak was 6 games, which favorably compared to 17 games the prior season.

Point 3. The Diamondbacks improved their video replay results. This season they overturned more plays (23 vs 15). In the NL West they overturned the second most plays, just one play behind the Padres. In the Majors they ranked in a tie with the Reds for 12th/13th most successful challenges in the Majors.

“The merely ‘different’ is not always better, but the better is always different.” — Motto of David Rowland, 1965

2023 Outlook

Metaphorically, there’s a red moon rising on the Salt River. And monsoon thunderclouds with contention lightning bolts are blowing towards Chase Field.

Torey Lovullo is his best self. His coaches fit with who he is. He built the culture and took steps on the road to reaching a consistently contending team. The players have mighty mindsets.

It’s all about synergy. With the caveat that my natural mindset is optimistic, my expectation is for the Diamondbacks to win between 84 to 92 games. It will likely happen because synergy of the players, the coaches, and Torey Lovullo.

“Starting to come together, Pepper. Starting to come together.” — Lou Brown in Major League, 1989

“Yeah.” — Pepper in Major League, 1989

Source: YouTube, 2013