Patrick Reddington: Bo Porter's always talked about in terms of his influence on the Nats' outfielders' development and the team's baserunning. He was, of course, an outfield and baserunning coach in the Marlins' organization before moving on to the D-Backs and then joining the Nats and he came in with a reputation for having helped develop Josh Willingham and Giancarlo Stanton and was tasked almost immediately with helping Bryce Harper develop as an outfielder, and also calming down the hyper-aggressive nature of the 19-year-old on the basepaths. That's where you kind of see the most direct influence. The development of individual players like Harper, Roger Bernadina and Willingham when he was with Washington. Davey Johnson talked just last week about how Bryce Harper had kind of smoothed out his stride in the outfield in a way they thought was beneficial to the long-term health of his legs and the Nats' skipper credited Porter with noticing changes needed to be made helping Harper make the adjustments. The fact that he's helped develop some impressive young talent has to be something that appealed to the Astros.
TCB: What significant coaching accomplishments has Porter been credited with?
PR: One particular incident kind of highlights what you always heard/read about Porter's attention to detail with baserunners. After Cole Hamels hit Bryce Harper in the first game between the two teams this season after Harper had been called up, Harper made his way to third on a single by Jayson Werth then stole home on Hamels on a pick attempt at first. When Harper talked about the play after the game he mentioned how he'd talked to the pitcher's former teammate Jayson Werth and Bo Porter previously about Hamels being vulnerable in that particular situation. Davey Johnson talked then about Porter helping prepare the players, pushing things and being aggressive in his approach which fit right in with Johnson's thinking.
TCB: What's the most interesting thing about Bo Porter?
PR: His outfield drills? That's what got him the most attention in Washington, with his fellow coaches saying they'd never seen anything like some of the things he had the outfielders do. But that's mostly based on one of the first things written about Porter when he start with Washington in 2011 and had outfielders running for line drives, gappers, with a football tucked under their arms so that they weren't flailing about and kept their form as they ran balls down. Outside of that sort of thing you mostly heard his name come up when he interviewed for other managerial openings with the Marlins and Pirates in the past. Everyone in the organization praised him constantly, but whatever he was doing behind the scenes he did quietly for the most part. If there's an excitable fiery motivator in him like the Nats have talked about and the Astros' owner said today he kept it pretty well hidden... Except that one time...
TCB: Does he normally bum rush opposing team dugouts? (Re: Cubs)
PR: The Cubs' bench coach Jamie Quirk was chirping a little too much and getting too personal from the reports that came out after that incident, though the Cubs were taking a serious, serious beating in that series. I never saw anything like that from Porter before that incident, but I've also never seen a player/coach go that boldly at another team's dugout like he did. Kind of impressive. He apparently wanted to get his point across and the umpires only tossed Quirk because they said what he'd been saying was the cause of the whole incident. That was one of the more interesting games this season. But it really did kind of make Porter a hero to Nats fans. He just charged right up the top step and never backed down.
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