Cubs Hire Former Pitcher Josh Zeid as Pitching Analyst in Player Development

While the Cubs have not been very active in free agency this winter, they’ve made several moves to bolster their staff with former players. Bob Tewksbury was hired as a mental skills coordinator, Craig Breslow added Director of Strategic Initiatives to his title as “Smartest Man in Baseball,” Aaron Sele is now a special assignment scout, and Brad Mills took over some of the duties vacated when Tommy Hottovy was promoted to pitching coach. Do you sense a theme here?

There are of course other former players in several key spots throughout the organization, since that’s usually how it works. But since shifting their organizational focus to pitching a couple years ago, the Cubs have been very intentional about bringing in former pitchers to work in different capacities. And with player development now taking a more aggressive stance, particularly with pitchers, it makes sense to bring in new voices and fresh perspectives.

The newest and freshest of those is Josh Zeid, who announced on Twitter that he was joining the Cubs as a pitching analyst in the player development department. Once a flamethrowing righty, Zeid debuted with the Astros in 2013 and pitched a total of 48.1 major league innings over two seasons. He retired from professional baseball a little less than a year ago after struggling to break back out of Triple-A with the Mets, Tigers, and Cardinals.

Despite relatively limited MLB experience, Zeid’s baseball journey leaves him well suited to work with prospects coming up through the system. He won a gold medal with the US Youth National Team as a 16-year-old in 2003, pitched in college for traditional powers Vanderbilt and Tulane, and was named to the 2017 All-World Baseball Classic team as a member of Team Israel. In addition to his successes, Zeid has also experienced plenty of struggles as he tried to make it back to the bigs for three seasons before retiring.

A quick perusal of Zeid’s biography reveals some other interesting facts that may also contribute to his aptitude for this new gig. The first is that he recently completed his college degree at Tulane roughly a decade after leaving to pursue his baseball career. Though some might see that as insignificant, I look at it as a desire to follow through and complete what he started no matter how long it takes.

This next bit might be even more of a reach, but I think being married to a doctor of neuropsychology might be a boon as well. Zeid has a practical understanding of the game’s mental side from his playing days and he’s no doubt gained more knowledge from his wife, Stephanie, as a result of her expertise. And at only 31 years old with his time on the farm still fresh in his mind, he should be able to relate to the players with whom he’s working.

It’s impossible to say how someone with little to no coaching experience will be able to impact young players coming up through the system, but everything about Zeid points to this being a good hire for the Cubs.

Evan Altman

Evan Altman is the EIC and co-founder of Cubs Insider and has proclaimed himself Central Indiana's foremost Cubs authority. He is a husband, father, homebrewer, and award-winning blogger with entirely too much pop culture knowledge. Evan's greatest accomplishments include scoring 400 points in Magic Johnson's Fast Break, naming all 10 members of the Wu-Tang Clan in under 3.5 seconds, and winning the Meese Literary Award at Hanover College.

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3 Comments

  1. Its a good hire till proven otherwise. Zeid at least has MLB experience and the Cubs appear to want to explore something in the pitching arena. If it leads to developing prospect(s) that can pitch then all the better. At least until we know better they are attempting to do something related to pitching which is obviously been a weakness it theirs, getting pitchers drafted, developed and to the Majors.

    1. Yeah, the initial approach was basically a shotgun that was meant to spread things out but lacked any real accuracy. Now they’ve gotten much more targeted and comfortable with a little more risk, hence the strengthened mental side. I like the holistic approach they’ve adopted and employing former players who’ve displayed a high level of intelligence and work ethic is nice to see.

  2. I am really happy the Cubs are taking such a ‘mental’ approach to coaching. I realize sport psychologists have been around for years, but this intensified approach was long overdue. The mental game is just as important as being physically able to perform. Tiger Woods seems to be the perfect example. I actually WATCHED golf because Tiger was constantly doing incredible things. After his wive took a bat to his suv and the world knew what a complete douchebag he was/is, those amazing shots and titles disappeared almost overnight.

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