CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- During his 15 years as a professional baseball player, Michael Ryan has worked for a lot of bosses.
He's seen what works when leading ballplayers. He's seen what doesn't.
So as he gets ready for his managerial debut tonight, when his West Virginia Power hosts the Asheville Tourists at 7:05 p.m. at Appalachian Power Park, Ryan has mapped out what he feels makes an effective leader of men.
"I know what managers did to me when I wasn't doing well and what managers did to me when I was doing well, so I'll try to use that to my advantage," he said. "I know I was the type of player that didn't like to get screamed at in front of my teammates. I'll never do that to these guys.
"I want to be a player's manager," Ryan added, "one that they'll run through a wall for."
The low Class A Power has a young roster - only two players were born before 1990 - but it's a talented one. Five players are among Baseball America's top 20 prospects of the Power's parent club, the Pittsburgh Pirates. Two of them, outfielder Josh Bell and right-handed pitcher Clay Holmes, are in the top 10. Bell is rated sixth and Holmes is rated 10th, according to Baseball America.
The Power finished 61-79 in the South Atlantic League last season under former manager Rick Sofield, but came along as the year progressed. West Virginia finished the first half in last place in the league's Northern Division, 23 games back of leader Greensboro.
The Power rallied in the second half, tying Hickory for second place, just three games back of Hagerstown. Sofield moved to the Pirates coaching staff this year, allowing Ryan his first shot at running a club.
Ryan said the Power's talent is matched by its desire to improve. That self-motivation should get the team off on the right foot, he added.
"The one thing I love so far about these guys is their work ethic," Ryan said. "They will outwork any team they play against, and that's something that you can't teach. So that makes my job easy, the way they play so hard. They're going to be a fun team to watch."