Development at AA with Mike Shildt: Part 1

Springfield Cardinals manager Mike Shildt discusses player development at the Double-A level. Part 1 of an exclusive seven-part interview series.

Mike Shildt is one of the St. Louis Cardinals’ leaders in player development and his charges have tasted success on the field as well. As the former minor league field coordinator, he led minor league spring training, extended spring training and instructional league camp, then managed in the Arizona Fall League as well as earned three league titles at two levels of play. To wrap it all up, the 45-year old was honored as the organization’s 2010 George Kissell Award winner for player development excellence.

After the 2014 regular season concluded for Shildt’s Double-A Springfield Cardinals, the manager was invited to St. Louis to spend 10 days working with big-league manager Mike Matheny and his staff. The North Carolina resident then headed to Jupiter, Florida to work with youngsters at fall instructional league camp. It was not required, but Shildt never passes up the opportunity to get an early look at the next generation of youngsters moving up the ranks.

While there last month, Shildt gave more than an hour of his time for an exclusive, in-depth interview. In what will be presented here as a seven-part series - with the opening and closing segments free to all readers – Shildt will discuss player development philosophy, reinforced by specific examples from his Texas League club.

In Part 1, Shildt introduces expectations and experiences at Double-A, the closeness to the major leagues and the importance of player readiness, the benefits that MLB rehabbers and special assistants provide, the need to translate potential to production, the adjustments needed to thrive in the Texas League, and more.

What is Next

The Cardinal Nation’s extensive interview with Mike Shildt will continue as follows. In Part 2, the rotation will be the focus. Next up will be the relievers, followed by the infielders. Part 5 will cover the catchers, while the outfielders and unsung players are the subject matter for Part 6. The series will close with a more in-depth look into how organizational success is evaluated.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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