Fairfield native Charles Nagy was a pretty good pitcher over the course of 14 Major League seasons.
Now, the Roger Ludlowe High School grad could have a future as a soothsayer.
When he took over last season as the Arizona Diamondbacks' pitching coach, Nagy predicted his staff would surprise baseball.
There were skeptics; the D-backs in 2010 had finished last in the NL West.
But armed with what turned out to be arguably the National League's most-formidable bullpen, Arizona in 2011 on 94 games and the captured the division crown. The D-backs had a team ERA of 3.80.
"Everybody was as-advertised," Nagy said earlier this month when Arizona was in New York for a series with the Mets. "And they worked hard, pitched relax and at the end of the year, the numbers spoke for themselves."
This year, the team is off to a sub-.500 start, and with some nagging injuries, the staff ERA was 4.23 after a loss to the Giants Sunday.
Still, Nagy while in New York said his staff is in good shape.
"Guys have been throwing the ball good," Nagy said before a May 6 game at Citi Field. "We've had some breaks not go our way, but everything is going fine."
Third-year standout starter Daniel Hudson has been sidelined since April 18 with a shoulder injury.
"He feels a lot better," Nagy said of Hudson. "It's just about getting him back."
In his absence, lefty starter Joe Saunders has stepped up.
Saunders' career record in two years in the desert was just 15-20, but 2012's been a different story. The eighth-year Major Leaguer is 2-2 but has a 2.50 ERA in six starts. And he equates much of his early-season success with Nagy's tutelage.
"He wants us to pitch to our strengths and rely on what got (us) here," Saunders said. "He wants us to be really aggressive and be attacking all the time. That's what he's ingrained in us."
Pitcher Craig Breslow, a Trumbull native, shared Saunders' sentiment.
"Charlie does a great job of making pitchers understand their strengths and preventing them from being overwhelmed by the big picture," Breslow said.
"A pitching coach has to wear many hats, and so far, Charlie has them all fitting."
Breslow -- who was traded to Arizona from Oakland along with starter Trevor Cahill in the offseason -- has been great for the Diamondbacks' bullpen and feels more at ease despite larger expectations.
"I've had a positive experience," Breslow said. "The expectation of winning is very apparent here, and each coach has an incredible resume he brings along with him."
Breslow is valuable not just because he's a talented lefty but because he's from Connecticut, Nagy quipped. "The more guys from Connecticut we can have, the better," he said.
Asked why Nagy has gotten positive results from his pitching staff, Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said Nagy's fire and competitiveness match his own.
"I watched the way Charles competes. I thought there were a lot of similarities between us," Gibson said. "I was pretty impressed by him."
Despite Nagy's limited experience as a Major League coach, Gibson sees a diamond in the rough.
"This is a guy I've projected to be a star," Gibson said. "And that's where he's headed."
With his manager's high expectations, one might assume Nagy would feel greater pressure. But he keeps a cool perspective.
"It's baseball," he said. "I love and enjoy the game very much. It's been great. I get to go run around and shag fly balls. It's been great."