'He's a star': UM pitching coach Chris Fetter a hot commodity, with strong interest from Yankees, others
Chris Fetter has "Those Who Stay" tattooed on his arm, a pretty permanent tribute to Michigan and Bo Schembechler's famous rallying cry. He also has a young child.
So, the ties to Ann Arbor are quite strong.
But Michigan's pitching coach also has emerged as a hot commodity at the professional level, recently interviewing for the New York Yankees' major-league pitching-coach job.
No fewer than three major-league organizations have expressed interest in Fetter this year, and six over the last two years.
"He's a star. He's really good," Michigan head coach Erik Bakich said Wednesday, taking a break from breaking down bunt defenses. "He'd be elite at every level."
Fetter has spent two seasons at Michigan, last year being the most memorable as the Wolverines advanced all the way to the College World Series championship game on the backs of two of his star pupils, right-hander Karl Kauffman and lefty Tommy Henry.
Michigan's pitching staff posted an ERA of 3.46, fantastic in the college game, where aluminum bats are in play.
Michigan was 10th in the nation in ERA, and ninth in hits per nine innings (7.44).
Michigan was 50-22 last season, falling to Vanderbilt in three games in the best-of-three championship series.
The Wolverines had three pitchers drafted in June, including Henry 74th overall to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Kauffmann 77th to the Colorado Rockies. Right-hander Jack Weisenburger went in the 20th round to the Oakland A's. Michigan had two pitchers selected in the 2018 MLB Draft.
The success on the field and in the draft has caught the attention of several major-league organizations, one of whom offered a job to volunteer assistant Michael Brdar. He turned down the offer, staying at Michigan, where he doesn't even draw a salary.
Before Fetter, 33, returned to Michigan, he was the Los Angels' Dodgers minor-league pitching coordinator. He joined the Dodgers in 2016, after spending one season as pitching coach at Ball State. Before that, he worked in the Los Angeles Angels' system.
Fetter played four years at Michigan, a right-handed pitcher. He was a three-time All-Big Ten honoree, and led Michigan to three Big Ten titles and four NCAA Tournament appearances. He's first in Michigan with 332.1 innings, third with 28 wins and thrid with 281 strikeouts. He graduated in 2009 and was a ninth-rounc pick by the San Diego Padres. He spent four yeras in professional baseball, with a 3.56 ERA in 51 games.
The Yankees are looking to replace Larry Rothschild, who was fired this week.
The Mets, owned by Michigan alum Fred Wilpon, also are looking for a new pitching coach, and have reached out to Fetter to guage his interest. The Mets also still need to hire a manager. Former Tiger and Michigan native Phil Regan finished 2019 as the interim pitching coach, but at 82 isn't considered a long-term solution.