How does someone go from little old Parkville, MO to being the Pitching Coach for the Chicago Cubs? Well, if you know anything about Pro Athlete alumni member Tommy Hottovy, you are not one bit surprised.
Tommy was a standout high school athlete in multiple sports and after graduating he took his baseball talents as a pitcher to Wichita State University. From there, Tommy was drafted in the 4th round of the MLB draft by the Boston Red Sox. Tommy spent 7 years in the minor leagues and during the off season, he would come back to Kansas City and work at Pro Athlete. It was mutually beneficial as he was just as sharp behind a desk as he was on the mound. He would come in and help us do special projects. He did several, but one of our favorites that any of you who have toured our facility will appreciate is the basketball court. We had extra warehouse space and said, “Tommy, go figure out how to put a basketball court in” and just like striking out the side, we had ourselves a gym.
In 2011, Tommy got called up to the big leagues as a relief pitcher for the Red Sox. He pitched in 8 big league games that year and then something crazy happened: he became a member of his hometown team the following year! He spent some time in the minors, but got the call to the Royals in April of 2012.
When his playing career ended, he wanted to stay in the game and ended up back with the man who drafted him back in 2004, Cubs GM Theo Epstein. Tommy was a former player so he understood that side of the game, but also had a knack for numbers and took an online Sabermetrics course to sharpen his knowledge even more. He would call himself a defensive coordinator for the team. He was an advanced scout and run prevention coordinator which meant he worked with the pitchers on strategy for how to pitch to each batter.
Can you think of a better mix of skills for someone to be a Major League pitching coach? Former big league pitcher, scout, Sabermetrics experience, and a baseball lifer. Oh and not to mention, he is one of the absolute best people you will ever meet. He was back in town earlier this year and made a point to walk around and say hi to every single member of our company. We couldn’t be happier for Tommy, Andrea, Cameron and Chloe! At Pro Athlete, we have a saying for our alumni members- “Once A Pro, Always A Pro!” That seems pretty fitting here! Congratulations, Tommy!