St. Louis Cardinals: Stubby Clapp and the making of a future manager

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 29: Protesters unfurl a banner during a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium on September 29, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 29: Protesters unfurl a banner during a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium on September 29, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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Stubby Clapp, manager of  the AAA Memphis Redbirds, was named the 2017 MiLB Manager of Year by Baseball America.  Are the St. Louis Cardinals grooming  their next manager?

On November 30, 2017, Baseball America named Stubby Clapp, the 2017 MiLB Manager of the Year.  Clapp has been the manager of the St. Louis Cardinal’s AAA affiliate Memphis Redbirds since November 2016. Could Stubby Clapp be the successor to the much-criticized Mike Matheny as the next St. Louis Cardinals manager?

Clapp led the Memphis Redbirds to a PCL championship his first year as a manager for the team.  Clapp’s playing and post-playing career looks like a perfect resume builder to be a future MLB manager.

Stubby Clapp was drafted in the 36th round of the 1996 minor league amateur entry after playing for Texas Tech University.  Clapp soon started climbing the Cardinal minor league system.

By 1999, he had arrived at AAA Memphis.  During his four-year stint with the Redbirds, Clapp became a poplar figure in Memphis.  His Ozzie Smith inspired back flips coming onto the field, along with his scrappy playing style endeared him to Redbird fans.

In 2001, Stubby was called up to the St. Louis Cardinals for 23 games.  During this stint he had 5 hits in 25 at bats, including two doubles and one RBI.

In all, Stubby Clapp spent 11 years in the minor leagues, including stops in the Atlanta Braves and Toronto Blue Jays systems.  In 911 minor league games, he had a .270 BA, 48 HR, 365 RBI’s, and 83 steals.

Clapp coached in the Houston Astros minor league system after his playing career.  First as a hitting coach and then later as a manager in their Single-A affiliate. In addition, he was a hitting coach in the Toronto Blue Jay minor league system.

Stubby Clapp was named manager of the Memphis Redbirds on November 30, 2016.  In his first year as manager, Clapp’s PCL champion Redbirds won 91 games, that included a club record 11-game winning streak.  It was the most wins by a PCL team in ten years and the most wins by a Memphis club since 1948.

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Clapp’s 2017 Redbird team went on an incredible 13-0 in extra inning games.  This team also won or split 27 consecutive series, which reflected Clapp’s emphasis on consistency and effort to the last out. Baseball America, in their press release of the award, reported that Clapp gave credit to his players and coaching staff for “coming ready to work every single day,” and “playing every pitch.”

As a result of Stubby Clapp’s coaching background, and managerial experience, are we seeing him being groomed for a larger role in the St. Louis Cardinal organization?

This off-season the St. Louis Cardinals have made several changes to their big league coaching staff.  The return of Jose Oquendo and the addition of Willie McGee and Mike Maddux to the staff in 2018 are seen by most as an effort to upgrade the coaches around manager Mike Matheny.

Mike Matheny’s contract with the Cardinals goes through the 2020 season.  After 2020, Stubby Clapp will have another three years as the Redbird manager under his belt.  During this period of time, many young players who Clapp has managed at Memphis, will be with the major league club.

Due to his existing relationship with the younger players, the transition of Clapp to manager would be seamless.  Therefore, it seems that Stubby Clapp would be a logical candidate to succeed Mike Matheny as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals.  What is your opinion?

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Regardless, congratulations are certainly deserved for Stubby and this 2017 Memphis Redbird team.

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