Yeh, I couldn’t hardly believe it neither. However, he is another one of Drayton’s Organization men and was minor league hitting coordinator last year. You cain’t be spending no $$$ on some coach, you know.
Anyway, I thought I’d talk a little about hitting coaches.
Baseball players learn to hit in school, in college, in the minors, and usually, what you see is what you get by the time they get to the majors. We all know that some guys, after being called up, get a couple ABs to hit like Barry Lamar and that others, who the Organization WANTS to succeed may get hundreds of PA. We’ve all heard stories of how Charlie Lau/Walt Hriniak turned player X from Kevin Cash into a HOFer, but the reason we all hear about these stories is that they are the exception and not the rule.
Anyway, I know that fans are unhappy that Bagwell is not returning as hitting coach (Sean Berry, in case yall curious, did get another job.) We all “know” how much better “the hitters” did after Baggy got Berry fired. Yeh, right.
Opening Day lineup for Berry:
C: Towles: OPS+ 51
1B: Berkman OPS .828 (yes, you read that right – he ended up with 122 OPS+ for the year)
2B: Matsui: negative 1 (yes, you read that right)
SS: Manzella: 47 OPS+
3B: Pedro Feliz: 52 OPS+
RF: Pence: 114 OPS+ (yes, a .786 OPS – lower than Berkman – fancy that)
CF: Bourn: 90 OPS+
LF: Clank: 93 OPS+
Here’s the post ASB lineup for Bagwell:
C: Castro/Quintero: OPS+ 59 (yes, both of em)
1B: Wallace: 70 OPS+ (ignoring the Clank-tributions)
2B: Keppinger: 105 OPS+
SS: Sanchez: 83 OPS+
3B: Chris Johnson: 123 OPS+
(same OF, except that Bourgeois/Michaels/Bogu etc played 17 games in LF)
Notice any difference in the hitters? Oh yeah – and getting rid of Cory Useless Sullivan and replacing his OPS+ of 37 with Blum’s OPS+ of 87 and Jason Michael’s OPS+ of 111 didn’t hurt neither. And yes, I know that we FINALLY called up Castro and CH on June 22, 3 weeks before Berry got fired.
So let’s take a look at the players who played on the roster all year, pre and post ASB and let’s see if Baggy made any difference. And, by the way, I am not gonna count RBIs because if there ain’t no one on, youse cain’t drive em in…
Name: Berry OPS+ (pre ASB) vs Bagwell OPS+ (post ASB)
- Quintero: .602 OPS/159 AB : .542 OPS/106 AB (and only ONE walk)
- Blum: .618/137 AB : .805/65 AB
- Keppinger: .720/317 AB : .780/197 AB
- Manzella: .513/189 AB : .582/89 AB
- Bourn: .661/321 AB : .724/214 AB
- Lee: .682/329 AB : .738/276 AB (and no it wasn’t Clank playing 1B – I’ve already toldju that)
- Michaels: .736/95 AB : .819/91 AB
- Pence: .743/323 AB : .833/291 AB
Almost across the board improvement, looks like. But – I would also remind everyone that there are 3 1/2 months before the break and 2 1/2 months after it, so it is a lot easier to have 1 really bad month in the first half – there are more months.
AND, ballplayers themselves say that they press extra hard if the other guys aren’t hitting – and in April and June, almost no one was hitting…
So let’s take a look at OPS – first, the year’s total, then month by month for our guys (leaving out Oct because of only a couple of games)
Blum: [.677] .760/.455/.644/.250 (only 3 AB)/.878/.669
Kepp: [.744] .696/.758/.623/.974/.638/.794 (OPS .726 on 7/11; .732 on 7/31)
Manz: [.531] .509/.542/.474/(DL)/.584/.479
Bourn: [.687] .785/.618/.678/.535/.694/.898
JMike: [.778] .882/.442/.768/1.148/.708/.731
Lee: …. [.708] .453/.665/.834/.697/.841/.660
Pence:. [.786] .579/.852/.731/.844/.900/.799
Looks a lot different when you see it month by month, hunh?
Also, there were no sustained changes in P/PA, decreases in K/PA, increases in BB/PA or increases in SLG after Baggy took over – still had the same sort of random month to month variation.
Truth is that the pitching coach, IF he’s any good, can help guys get back to the swing that they were using that worked best for THEM, not teach them plate discipline if they are free swingers. Maybe they can teach them how to spot sliders away so they don’t go all Biggio 07. So really, I’m not expecting miracles from “Barney” – which reminds me, anyone have any idea why baseball guys almost always add “ie” “ey” to some guy’s name? Makes him sound like a toddler, or, worse, a GRRRRRRLLLL – yo Mikey, Brownsie, Blumsie, Lancie, Clankey…
Makes me long for the good ol days of Fatty, Skinny, Early, Latey
ah well, times might could change, but don’t guess men do…