Carl Willis
Carl Willis (37174802781).jpg
Willis with the Boston Red Sox in 2017
Cleveland Guardians – No. 51
Pitcher / Pitching coach
Born: (1960-12-28) December 28, 1960 (age 61)
Danville, Virginia
Batted: Left
Threw: Right
MLB debut
June 9, 1984, for the Detroit Tigers
Last MLB appearance
May 3, 1995, for the Minnesota Twins
MLB statistics
Win–loss record22–16
Earned run average4.25
As player

As coach

Career highlights and awards

Carl Blake Willis (born December 28, 1960) is an American former professional baseball pitcher and current pitching coach for the Cleveland Guardians of Major League Baseball (MLB). He was previously the pitching coach for the Boston Red Sox and the Seattle Mariners.

Willis played for nine seasons in the majors as a relief pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins. He is best known as a pitching coach for five Cy Young winners, the second most in MLB history.[1]

Playing career

Willis was born on December 28, 1960 in Danville, Virginia. He grew up in Yanceyville, North Carolina. After high school, he attended the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. As a major leaguer, Willis was a member of one World Series championship team: the Twins in the 1991 World Series.[2] In nine seasons he had a 22–16 win–loss record, 267 games, 2 games started, 81 games finished, 13 saves, 390 innings pitched, 424 hits allowed, 210 runs allowed, 184 earned runs allowed, 28 home runs allowed, 115 walks allowed, 222 strikeouts, 2 hit batsmen, 20 wild pitches, 1,668 batters faced, 25 intentional walks, 3 balks and a 4.25 ERA. He was worth 1.9 career WAR according to Baseball Reference.

Coaching career

From 2003 to 2009 he served as the pitching coach for the Cleveland Indians.[3]

On November 30, 2009, Willis was named the Seattle Mariners minor-league pitching coordinator.[4] On August 9, 2010, Willis was promoted to the Seattle Mariners coaching staff as the new pitching coach, replacing Rick Adair who was fired along with manager Don Wakamatsu and bench coach Ty Van Burkleo. He served in this capacity until 2013.

In 2015, Willis was named to be the pitching coach for the Columbus Clippers in the Cleveland Indians organization.

On May 9, 2015, Willis was named as the pitching coach for the Boston Red Sox, replacing Juan Nieves.[5]

On October 26, 2017, Willis was re-hired by the Indians as pitching coach, replacing Mickey Callaway.[6]

Willis has had five pitchers win Cy Young Awards during his time as their pitching coach: CC Sabathia in 2007, Cliff Lee in 2008, Félix Hernández in 2010, Rick Porcello in 2016, and Shane Bieber in 2020.[7]

In May 2022, Willis assumed managerial duties for a few games after a COVID-19 outbreak among Guardians coaching staff that saw Manager Terry Francona, First Base Coach Sandy Alomar Jr., Bench Coach DeMarlo Hale, Third Base Coach Mike Sarbaugh, Hitting Analyst Justin Toole, Assistant Pitching Coach Joe Torres, and Hitting Coach Chris Valaika all end up on the COVID list.[8]


  1. ^ "This coach is a Cy Young-producing machine".
  2. ^ "Carl Willis Stats, Fantasy & News".
  3. ^ "Manager and Coaches". Cleveland Indians.
  4. ^ Hoynes, Paul (November 25, 2009). "Seattle hires former Indians pitching coach Carl Willis".
  5. ^ Dispatch, Jim Massie, The Columbus. "Baseball: Clippers pitching coach Carl Willis leaving for Red Sox". The Columbus Dispatch.
  6. ^ Hoynes, Paul (October 26, 2017). "Cleveland Indians hire Carl Willis as their new pitching coach".
  7. ^ @JonHeyman (November 11, 2020). "Indians pitching coach Carl Willis has now had 5 Cy Young winners: Bieber joins Felix Hernandez, CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee and Rick Porcello" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  8. ^ "Most of Guardians coaching staff in health protocols; Carl Willis to manage Twins series".

Further reading

Preceded byMike BrownMickey Callaway Cleveland Indians pitching coach 2003–20092018–present Succeeded byTim Belcherincumbent Preceded byRick Adair Seattle Mariners pitching coach 2010–2013 Succeeded byRick Waits Preceded byJuan Nieves Boston Red Sox pitching coach 2015–2017 Succeeded byDana LeVangie