The Orioles still haven't finalized their minor league coaching staffs, but with just a few weeks left before spring training, they didn't have to look too far to fill one of their vacancies.
Tom Eller, the longtime baseball coach at Harford Community College, announced on Twitter on Monday that he is leaving ahead of his 13th season with the Fighting Owls to join the Orioles as a minor league hitting coach, though his official role is unclear.
Since taking over at Harford in 2007, Eller has racked up accolades in building a strong program. He won his 400th game last season and has earned five Region XX titles, winning the Maryland Junior College Coach of the Year award four times.
Perhaps most notably for the Orioles' purposes, Baseball America notes that Eller has built some dynamic offenses. In 2018, Harford led all junior college teams in walks (422) for the fourth straight year while leading the country in stolen bases (234) and ranking third with 112 home runs in 61 games.
A trip through Eller's Twitter timeline reveals an offensive philosophy that's informed by data and putting hitters in the best position to succeed, a focus that undoubtedly appealed to the new Orioles front office of executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias and assistant general manager for analytics Sig Mejdal.
Many of the Orioles' minor league coaches were extended contracts for 2019 last fall before Elias was hired, thus creating few vacancies on the staffs, even though assignments have not been finalized. Former Triple-A Norfolk manager Ron Johnson wasn't offered a new contract and High-A Frederick pitching coach Blaine Beatty also left the organization, while Norfolk field coach José Hernández was elevated to the major league coaching staff.