Brian DeLunas, former Mariners bullpen coach, dies at 46

Jan 17, 2022, 4:19 PM | Updated: Jan 18, 2022, 11:21 am

Seattle Mariners base general...

(Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

(Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

“Man…what an amazing coach and even more of an amazing human.” – Mariners pitcher Erik Swanson

In a loss that will hit a number of Mariners hard, former Seattle bullpen coach Brian DeLunas died Sunday night. He was just 46 years old.

News of DeLunas’ death was shared Monday afternoon by the University of Missouri baseball program, which DeLunas spent 2021 with as pitching coach.

An outside the box hire as bullpen coach in the winter of 2017, DeLunas joined the Mariners staff having never played professionally or coached in a major league organization. A biomechanics specialist, he had privately coached a number of professionals at his St. Louis-area high performance pitching center.

Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto expanded the team’s pitching coach staff that winter looking to add what players sought from the outside in the offseason, and DeLunas was able to deliver, incorporating his knowledge of biomechanics and pitching technology into pitch shaping and breaking down mechanical problems in deliveries.

The following season, DeLunas’ reach was expanded as he was promoted to Mariners director of pitching development and strategies, and he had a hand in the development of every pitcher that came through the Mariners organization. If their eyes were open, these pitchers took more from DeLunas than his expertise in breaking down mechanics.

While DeLunas was traveling from city to city with the big league club or dropping in and out of minor league outposts, he was battling kidney disease. He had undergone a transplant a decade earlier and the function of that kidney was falling dramatically. The prospect of success for a second transplant, if a match was even able to be found, was not good. Managing his health was a daily and sometimes hourly struggle, yet that was not the face DeLunas put forward.

No, the face DeLunas put forth in 2018 was that of the first-time big leaguer, which he was. He took enjoyment in the “firsts” of being on a new big league field or on the big league plane. After a win in southern California, you might see him on the hotel deck, feet up, cigar in hand, enjoying a beautiful evening. An even better day would be if his family was along for the trip, his young son Rory his shadow.

Still, sometimes the color in his face was a little off, his step a little slower. But the words would be light, the demeanor to push through. He was there for his pitchers and anyone who wanted to talk pitching regardless of how he was feeling, something we were lucky enough to do in a podcast for 710 ESPN Seattle in 2019 (video included at the bottom of this post). As a result, he made Mariners pitchers throughout the organization better and reporters more knowledgeable.

A valiant fight came to an end Sunday night. An immeasurable loss for those who were close to him.

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
High 81° | Low 55°
Mariners are on the road.
Mariners at Marlins today at 4:10pm

Shannon Drayer

Seattle Mariners catcher Mitch Garver...

Shannon Drayer

Mariners Insider: An unexpected move that may pay off for all involved

The decision to have Mitch Garver move into the backup catcher role is paying dividends for the veteran and other Seattle Mariners.

2 days ago

Seattle Mariners Dylan Moore...

Shannon Drayer

Mariners Insider: Quick hits after AL West leaders’ 6-1 homestand

Mariners insider Shannon Drayer of Seattle Sports on the AL West race, the offense's stronger June, the upcoming Cleveland series and more.

4 days ago

Seattle Mariners Luke Raley...

Brent Stecker

Mariners’ Luke Raley says he got ‘perfect pitch’ for gutsy bunt

The Seattle Mariners' Luke Raley told Shannon Drayer on the field Monday why a 99 mph fastball off the plate was the "perfect pitch" for his game-tying bunt single.

10 days ago

Seattle Mariners Ryan Bliss...

Shannon Drayer

Mariners Insider: The transition for rookie Ryan Bliss to big leagues

Mariners insider Shannon Drayer of Seattle Sports caught up with rookie second baseman Ryan Bliss a day after his first MLB home run.

11 days ago

Seattle Mariners starter Bryan Woo...

Shannon Drayer

How Mariners starter Bryan Woo’s fastballs are so effective

Hitters know they're probably getting a fastball from Seattle Mariners starter Bryan Woo, but they still can't hit it.

14 days ago

Seattle Mariners closer Andrés Muñoz...

Shannon Drayer

Seattle Mariners closer Andrés Muñoz optimistic about ailing back

The Seattle Mariners are awaiting results of an MRI after closer Andrés Muñoz's collision at home plate against the Oakland A's.

15 days ago

Brian DeLunas, former Mariners bullpen coach, dies at 46