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A Quebecer at the heart of the development of the Pirates

by archysport

At the heart of the reconstruction of the Pittsburgh Pirates, a Quebecer will work this season to advance the hopes of the team. Frédérick Rioux, in the role of player development assistant, will occupy positions which he has already occupied since the beginning of his crazy adventure in major baseball, and which fascinates him.

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“Player development, I did a bit with the Seattle Mariners, and it has always been close to my heart because you are really lucky to have an impact on these players”, says Rioux, 30 years old. .

Like that of Quebecers who, before him, rose through the ranks of major league baseball, Frédérick Rioux’s story is one of resilience and determination.

Last year, the pandemic caused him to lose his job with the Mariners, an organization he had worked for since 2018. He did not give up and appealed to various people he had met since working at MLB.

Because if the world of major baseball may seem large, it is rather a small world, explains Rioux.

“Everyone knows each other, it’s easy – and important – to forge links with people from other teams,” said the native of Trois-Pistoles.

Custom packages

It was by renewing the contacts he had made with the Pirates that Rioux succeeded in obtaining a position within the organization. Last year he was in charge of video and advanced stats with their AAA-level school club, the Indianapolis Indians.

“I had a meeting with the managers at the end of the season and they really liked the job I did in Indianapolis,” says Rioux. They told me they would like to see me in [le rôle d’assistant au développement des joueurs] This year. ”

From Bradenton in Florida, Rioux will therefore work with AA, AAA and even major athletes. He will be called upon to collect and analyze player data, in order to develop personal plans to help them take them to the next level.

Enriching and stressful

And it’s enriching, this role. Particularly at the AAA level, where Rioux works in close collaboration, in collaboration with his colleagues, with recruits who hope to make the jump in the big club or, with players who have already tasted the experience of major baseball and who aspire to go back there.

“This year, we had the pitcher Max Kranick who stayed with us for two weeks, who left for two weeks in the majors, and who came back after,” explains the Quebecer. When you turn on the TV, see it on ESPN and it works fine, it’s fun for our whole team. ”

To properly guide the players, Rioux works with different technologies. He also learned Spanish, which serves him well now, while working in the Dominican Republic with young hopefuls from the organization.

A long-standing passion

Frédérick Rioux’s passion for baseball goes back a long way. Former flag bearer of the Quebec Diamonds in the elite junior baseball league, Rioux however took a step forward in his career before returning to his first love.

“I have a technique in architecture,” says Rioux. I worked there for two years in Quebec. In the second summer, Derek Aucoin told our coach [des Diamants] that he was looking for players to train in his camp. I had given my name, in part because I had never met Derek and had played for the Expos. ”

Rioux worked as a coach and then kept in touch with Aucoin after the summer ended. It was back when the former pitcher was giving camps at Yankee Stadium in New York City. Rioux accompanies him there. And it was love at first sight.

“After the camps, I started my own academy in my region of Bas-St-Laurent,” he explains. Then I wondered how I could have a career in major league baseball. ”

Agostino, the mentors

The Pistol was aware that one of the things he needed to improve his English was if he was to achieve his dream. So he enrolled in Sports Management at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont.

He played on the baseball team and volunteered for the Toronto Blue Jays as a recruiter.

Little by little, he forged links with people involved in major league baseball. Including his compatriot Alex Agostino, scout for the Philadelphia Phillies, whom he considers today as “a mentor”.

“Agostino told me that if I was still interested in recruiting, he could hire me part-time,” explains Rioux. He needed help covering the events in Ontario. ”

With the sailors

After a year with the Phillies and graduating from college, Rioux wanted to find a paid internship within an organization, with the ultimate goal of securing a full-time position.

“I sent emails to everyone I had met over the past few years. And I went to the Winter Assizes in Orlando where I met seven or eight teams. And finally, it was with the Mariners that it clicked. ”

But after three years with the Mariners, COVID-19 has come to take away his dream. Temporarily, at least. Because as he has done since the start of his career, Frédérick Rioux has rolled up his sleeves to continue his crazy adventure in major baseball.


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