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Hitting Coaches


chpettit19
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https://theathletic.com/4118906/2023/01/25/mlb-hitting-coach-jobs/

Really interesting article on The Athletic today for those who have a subscription.

Some interesting tidbits for those who can't, or don't want to, read it:
"The average length of tenure for active MLB hitting coaches is about 2.4 years."
Only 2 MLB hitting coaches have held their current position for more than 5 years (Seitzer in Atlanta, Mottola in Tampa)
Seitzer talks about the transition in Atlanta as the organization got deeper into the analytics and how it changed his job there.
Seitzer also says he thinks Ks are up because of how crazy the pitching is now. Higher velocity on breaking stuff especially.
"Coaching hitters is evolving into a job less about teaching an athletic skill and more about studying the physics of hitting a ball and the anatomy behind a swing."
"Next season, only six teams — the Braves, Rays, Astros, Dodgers, Giants and Blue Jays — will have a primary hitting coach who has been in the same role for more than two seasons."

It's an interesting read. The Twins hitting coaches have been a frequent target of fan ire the last few years. I don't know enough about them to really speak on things, but found it interesting that the rest of the league is flipping through hitting coaches pretty frequently. Definitely a position that gets a lot of blame when things don't go well. "Can't fire the players" as they say.

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Well, the fact is most players will fail at hitting about 70% of the time.  That includes reaching based on walks.  Which means normally people think there is some way to improve.  I personally think at this level hitting coaches have little to do with player success, other than trying to connect with them to see the subtle differences in swings when right and not. I think most hitting coaches have the info, it is about connecting with the players to get them to buy in. 

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20 minutes ago, Trov said:

Well, the fact is most players will fail at hitting about 70% of the time.  That includes reaching based on walks.  Which means normally people think there is some way to improve.  I personally think at this level hitting coaches have little to do with player success, other than trying to connect with them to see the subtle differences in swings when right and not. I think most hitting coaches have the info, it is about connecting with the players to get them to buy in. 

I agree. It's very much about being able to find the right way to connect with each individual. And knowing what kind of help and info each guy wants. Correa loves all the data. Some guys don't. But overall I think the impact of major league hitting coaches is severely overstated by fans. They're important, but if they could just make everybody good they'd all be Trout. At some point the player's skill is simply maxed out and there's nothing any coaching can do. It's why everyone on these boards aren't major league baseball players.

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The trendy, shifting nature of how hitting is being coached these days makes the idea of simply promoting your minor league coaches difficult. You need a guy who has stayed on top of the latest tools and can still relate to players, but if your AA guy is totally into the dark-ages methods of 2017 it'll be hard to move him up when everyone knows he needs to be doing physiology instead of studying pitchers (or whatever.)  And because players need different things from coaches at different points in their careers, some old guys who developed into major league players in an earlier age might not want to hear from a guy who only speaks launch angles or whatever.  It's got to be difficult to find the right guy for the personalities in your org and at a particular level (ie you can dictate how low A ball kids will be taught but it's harder to walk into the Dodgers clubhouse and start making changes.) 

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1 hour ago, Parfigliano said:

Always thought a hitting coach's impact was overrated.   If they really had an impact they would be with a team long term like a good manager.  Guys can either hit a baseball successfully at the MLB level or they cant.  

Oh I don't think that's completely true, things change all the time. Hitters are usually working on things, either to maintain consistency or in response to something that happened like an injury or the league figuring out how to pitch them.  If you have trouble hitting one pitch then you work on it by seeing a million of them and making small changes to better handle them.  You may open or close your stance a little, add or remove some of the emphasis on your trigger, watch film together to try spotting what changed from when you felt good to not feeling great this week, but none of it can happen until the player asks for help.  

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