PHOENIX, Ariz. — Longtime minor league pitching coach and former MLB pitcher Mike Cather was hired by Arizona State as a pitching coach on Tuesday, per an announcement from Sun Devil Baseball’s Twitter.
For an Arizona State pitching staff that had numerous problems, Cather is here to fix them.
The Sun Devils’ 5.53 team ERA ranked second to last in the Pac-12 and its .296 opposing batting average ranked dead last in the conference.
Cather played with California in the 1992 College World Series, then compiled a 5-6 record and 3.42 ERA while with the Atlanta Braves from 1997-99. Since his departure, Cather has stuck to coaching his craft.
From 2001 to 2005 he coached private lessons before joining the Boston Red Sox organization to serve as the pitching coach for the Class A Wilmington Blue Rocks in 2006. A year later, he jumped up to Double-A with the Portland Sea Dogs where after three seasons he became one of the Red Sox’s advance scouts from 2010 to 2011.
After five seasons in the Red Sox’s organization, he turned to San Diego where he was the minor league pitching coordinator of the Padres from 2012 to 2013.
Cather then had two one-year stints as a Triple A pitching coach. First with the El Paso Chihuahuas in 2014, and then with the Iowa Cubs in 2015.
The last position he held before joining Arizona State, was with the Miami Marlins as their minor league pitching coordinator.
Head coach Tracy Smith fired former pitching coach Brandon Higelin just before ASU’s disastrous 2017 season, and the Sun Devils have desperately needed a new one since.
Arizona State, who went 23-32 and managed to unwind its first losing season since 1985, returns 15 of its 16 pitchers back this season.
The two returners who highlight the staff are MLB draftee sophomore Connor Higgins who earned a team-high four saves with a 3-2 record and a 3.92 ERA and freshman Spencer Van Scoyoc who posted a 3.86 ERA and threw six scoreless 2-hit innings against then-No. 1 Texas Christian.