“They both throw with great arm speed and there’s no sense of ‘I’m going to try to position this pitch,'” Stottlemyre said. “They kept the power at the forefront, so they maximize their movement and finish on the court. They are special. “
The pitches, yes, but also the people. When Stottlemyre’s father Mel Sr., longtime pitcher and coach, died of multiple myeloma in January 2019, Alcantara and López both called to comfort him. Stottlemyre, who had just joined the Marlins, has since helped both pitchers in their personal trials.
“Sharing how it feels, being able to inspire and give purpose and meaning to everything you do – all three of us spent a lot of time talking about it,” said Stottlemyre, 58. “It hurt me, even looking at them, because I only know how I handled my father’s death. And being young? I have had the opportunity to live with my father for most of my life and to have all the good times. been taken away “.
Stottlemyre recognizes his father’s influence in the way he talks to his pitchers. He invests time in building relationships, earning their affection – pitchers wear T-shirts that call themselves “Stott’s Tots” – and trust them. He talked about his younger brother, Jason, who died of leukemia in 1981, and said he has never been as close to two pitchers as he is in Alcantara and López.
“I see him not only as a throwing coach,” López said, “but also as a father figure and a great role model.”
López’s father encouraged him to pursue a professional career with the Seattle Mariners at 16, when he had another heady option: medical school at La Universidad del Zulia, his parents’ alma mater. López had graduated from high school at the age of 15 – mastering four languages along the way – and his maternal family warned that the world of baseball could be very uncertain. Danny thought med school could always be a backup plan for baseball, but not the other way around. That logic has won, even though López has struggled with the burdens of great results at times.