On Tuesday, MLB Network announced the hiring of former MLB manager Buck Showalter as its latest studio analyst.
The three-time AL Manager of the Year will make his on-air debut during Tuesday afternoon’s edition of MLB Tonight, prior to the network’s broadcast of Angels-Astros. He’ll also be a part of MLB Network’s Statcast-focused broadcast of Angels-Astros on Wednesday afternoon, and Sunday’s Mariners-Angels (geez, three Mike Trout games on air in one week?) broadcast.
Showalter isn’t a broadcasting novice. He worked at ESPN in two different stints – in between his time as manager of the Diamondbacks and Rangers, and again between his positions with the Rangers and Orioles. He also joined YES Network for Yankees analyst prior to the 2019 season. If I recall correctly (and I may not be, since his second tenure at ESPN ended a decade ago), Showalter was quite well-liked in the studio and did a solid job. ESPN must have felt the same way, since they brought him back after the Rangers fired him.
However, MLB analysis has significantly changed since Showalter last regularly worked in the studio. I’m not familiar with his work at YES (though after looking at a couple of recent clips on YouTube, I’m not horrified), and I don’t know what Showalter will be like as an analyst in 2020, but he’ll need to be forward thinking in terms of statistics and strategy in order to receive positive feedback from viewers.
Here’s hoping that Showalter’s time in Baltimore, which ended after the 2018 season, has helped fine tune his baseball mind. If so, and he shines as an analyst, this could end up being a pretty shrewd hire for MLB Network.