An MLB team tried to poach TCU’s pitching coach. What it says about Frogs’ program

TCU pitching coach Kirk Saarloos could’ve gone to the big leagues this offseason.

The Arizona Diamondbacks offered their pitching coach job to Saarloos, according to The Athletic’s Zach Buchanan, but Saarloos declined to stay with the Frogs.

That’s a big-time save for TCU as Saarloos is regarded as one of the young, promising coaches in the game.

“Obviously the fact that they showed strong interest in Kirk is a great statement about his ability and about our baseball program,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle told the Star-Telegram on Monday night.

“It’s very comforting knowing that our program can provide a MLB-level development atmosphere and experience for our players and recruits.”

Saarloos, who came to TCU in the summer of 2012, has turned the program into a pitching powerhouse. The Frogs have posted a 2.93 ERA since his arrival, which ranks fifth nationally.

TCU led the nation with a 2.22 ERA in 2014, and ranked second with a 2.45 ERA in 2015.

Last season, Saarloos played a pivotal role in helping left-hander Nick Lodolo become the program’s highest-ever draft pick (7th overall to the Cincinnati Reds). Fellow left-hander Brandon Williamson became a Day 1 draft pick, too.

Other notable draft picks who pitched under Saarloos’ tutelage include Alex Young, Tyler Alexander, Brandon Finnegan, Preston Morrison and Riley Ferrell.

Saarloos, 40, started his coaching career at his alma mater Cal State Fullerton. Before becoming a coach, he pitched seven seasons in the big leagues with stops in Houston (2002-03), Oakland (2004-06) and Cincinnati (2007).

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