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New Hitting Coach

Posted: 6/3/2014 12:38 PM

New Hitting Coach 


Not impressed by the decline in production following the departures of McGwire and Bengie Molina.  Granted Bengie was labeled as "assistant", I suspect he carried more knowledge and shared this with the players compared to the resume/credentials posted for Mabry, which includes in part the following:

"Before joining the Cardinals staff as a coach, Mabry assisted the team in various community relations initiatives, including the team's "Doin' it Right" school program from 2010-2011. A native of Delaware, he graduated in 1988 from Bohemia Manor (Md.) High School where he played football, baseball and basketball; and was drafted out of West Chester (Pa.) University. Mabry was named the Cardinals Rookie of the Year for 1995 by the St. Louis chapter of the BBWAA."

He served as an assistant to McGwire beginning in 2012, with no mention of other hitting coach experience.  Granted I didn't do my homework to determine if he served in a hitting coach capacity with another organization, but the MLB Card's site doesn't identify anything impressive.

Too much acceptance of poor production and poor approach taken by hitters.  How many penant teams other than the Cards would accept the "we can't hit left handed pitching" that is apparent and prevails.  As the GM or Manager, wouldn't you hold your coaching staff accountable?
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Posted: 6/3/2014 1:31 PM

Re: New Hitting Coach 


In baseball, I'm not sure how much direct influence a coach has on results. In football, the assistants are often the ones that set up the schemes and positioning, so they have a greater direct impact on results.

Personally, I would let the year play out before contemplating coaching changes.
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Posted: 6/4/2014 4:04 AM

Re: New Hitting Coach 


Seems like this is only the case when a hitting coach is well liked though. How is it then that Tony Rasmus was torched for messing up his kids swing on this very board? He was not even the coach.  In every other city they would want this guys head on a long stick. When 90 % of the roster looks lost and are well below career norms in June then it is either coincidence or a bad approach. Like i have said before this is an extremely stubborn bunch so they could lose 100 games this season and next year too and Matheny would be the skipper, Mabry would be the hitting coach and all the rest would still be here. On paper this is a 95 win team, SOMETHING is very wrong. This team has probably played 10 really good games all year and could easily be 10 games under right now if not for the rotation. BM if you don't recognize the trouble this team is in right now then i don't think you have been watching. I know you live out of town so it is possible you have been spared this embarrassment. I blame Mabry for refusing to change. It is not his fault he was hired with almost no experience just like his boss. That stuff is on Moz..

GO CARDS!
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Posted: 6/4/2014 9:36 AM

Re: New Hitting Coach 


I think responsibility ride on the veterin players...like Molina and Holiday...

thier performance is sucking the life out of the mid career and younger players...


pitching stinks, too
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Posted: 6/4/2014 5:37 PM

Re: New Hitting Coach 



cardinalnationhouston wrote: Seems like this is only the case when a hitting coach is well liked though. How is it then that Tony Rasmus was torched for messing up his kids swing on this very board? He was not even the coach.  In every other city they would want this guys head on a long stick. When 90 % of the roster looks lost and are well below career norms in June then it is either coincidence or a bad approach. Like i have said before this is an extremely stubborn bunch so they could lose 100 games this season and next year too and Matheny would be the skipper, Mabry would be the hitting coach and all the rest would still be here. On paper this is a 95 win team, SOMETHING is very wrong. This team has probably played 10 really good games all year and could easily be 10 games under right now if not for the rotation. BM if you don't recognize the trouble this team is in right now then i don't think you have been watching. I know you live out of town so it is possible you have been spared this embarrassment. I blame Mabry for refusing to change. It is not his fault he was hired with almost no experience just like his boss. That stuff is on Moz..
Since when are players not responsible for their own play?   I will give you that the coaching staff has failed to adjust very well this season.  But in the end the players are the ones playing..
And no I am not loving on MM.. IMO there might need to be a change in manager..  If Im a young position player on this team I question weather or not to buy into MM.  MM has said one thing and done another when it comes to letting some guys play and abandoning others.  Strauss was right in his article that this team lacks identity and cohesiveness.
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Posted: 6/4/2014 6:10 PM

Re: New Hitting Coach 


Somebody is going to have to pay for this prolonged hitting funk and it's usually the hitting coach who's in the initial direct line of fire. Whether it's fair or not, I would think Mabry is in big trouble and is long for not unless these guys start hitting.
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Posted: 6/4/2014 7:42 PM

Re: New Hitting Coach 



Teufelshunde4 wrote: Since when are players not responsible for their own play?   I will give you that the coaching staff has failed to adjust very well this season.  But in the end the players are the ones playing..
And no I am not loving on MM.. IMO there might need to be a change in manager..  If Im a young position player on this team I question weather or not to buy into MM.  MM has said one thing and done another when it comes to letting some guys play and abandoning others.  Strauss was right in his article that this team lacks identity and cohesiveness.
I admit that I did not read the column, but am curious how any outsider could assess those elements short of something blatant like when Prince's Brewers were untucking or the "We are Family" Pirates..
Brian Walton
The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation blog
Follow both Brian and TCN on Twitter

Last edited 6/4/2014 7:46 PM by Domeboys

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Posted: 6/4/2014 7:49 PM

Re: New Hitting Coach 



pugsleyaddams wrote: Somebody is going to have to pay for this prolonged hitting funk and it's usually the hitting coach who's in the initial direct line of fire. Whether it's fair or not, I would think Mabry is in big trouble and is long for not unless these guys start hitting.
That could lead to some interesting dynamics. Assuming MM would be against the firing, it would have to be ordered from above.
Brian Walton
The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation blog
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Posted: 6/4/2014 7:50 PM

Re: New Hitting Coach 



Domeboys wrote:
  Strauss was right in his article that this team lacks identity and cohesiveness.
I admit that I did not read the column, but am curious how any outsider could assess those elements short of something blatant like when Prince's Brewers were untucking or the "We are Family" Pirates..
Very true... But what does this team hang its hat on?  Other then Waino and Yadi who are the defined leaders?  We all seen how they play..  There is no confidence... They arent picking each other up from the way it looks.. They have seemingly found new ways to lose on a daily basis.

I claim no insider info here at all.
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Posted: 6/4/2014 10:01 PM

Re: New Hitting Coach 


A huge hitting problem since literally the first week of the season has been a nearly teamwide very poor approach when ahead in the count. Here's the current standings among Senior Circuit clubs, when ahead in the count, courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com. (As with OPS+, a 100 represents exactly league average.)

1) Miami  125
2) L.A.     112
3) Milw.   112
4) Wash. 107
5) Ariz.    107
6) Colo.   105
7) S.F.     104
8) S.D.     104
9) Atl.      100
10) Mets  97
11) cubs  95
12) Phil.  95
13) Pitt.   90
14) Cards 88
15) Cinn.  85

 Molina's bases loaded GIDP on a 2-0 count yesterday is just the most recent and glaring example of a Redbird batter making mediocre contact (in a critical situation) when in a highly advantageous count.

How much of this should be placed at Mabry's doorstep, I don't know. But I think we can all agree that several Cardinal hitters have severely underperformed all reasonable expectations this year -- and I believe an impatient approach when ahead in the count has a lot more to do with it than poor luck or the natural normal age-related decline of some batters.
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Posted: 6/4/2014 10:40 PM

Re: New Hitting Coach 


Interesting angle, Bob. I am still thinking about it, but I do have a question. Is the issue as you see it that they are not making solid contact in critical situations or that they are not producing in those situations? To me, OPS+ indicates more about the final result than specifically how they got there.
Brian Walton
The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation blog
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Last edited 6/4/2014 10:42 PM by Domeboys

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Posted: 6/5/2014 1:17 AM

Re: New Hitting Coach 


As Bob says..."impatience" at the plate is a big reason for this. Maybe trying to do too much. They are swinging at balls and left looking at strike 3 often. At least Matt Carpenter seems to be getting back to his old self.

Tar Heels: 1924, 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009
STL Cardinals: 1926, 1931, 1934, 1942, 1944, 1946, 1964, 1967, 1982, 2006, 2011   

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Posted: 6/5/2014 4:39 AM

Re: New Hitting Coach 



ghostheel wrote: As Bob says..."impatience" at the plate is a big reason for this. Maybe trying to do too much. They are swinging at balls and left looking at strike 3 often. At least Matt Carpenter seems to be getting back to his old self.
Lets not forget the standard philosophy of the TLR era was be aggressive and swing at the first good pitch to hit with RISP situations.   Is it safe to assume this has not changed?

As opposed to being impatient Id love to see the stats of the pitches themselves. IE Fastball, offspeed and weather or not they are getting beat in the zone  or going out of the zone.
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Posted: 6/5/2014 6:47 AM

Re: New Hitting Coach 



ghostheel wrote: As Bob says..."impatience" at the plate is a big reason for this. Maybe trying to do too much. They are swinging at balls and left looking at strike 3 often. At least Matt Carpenter seems to be getting back to his old self.
The two highlighted phrases seem in direct conflict to me. An impatient hitter should not often get caught looking at strike three. Implied here perhaps is the approach changes with the count.

I don't have the answer myself, but I am still not comfortable that the quick generalizations we are applying here completely fit.
Brian Walton
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Posted: 6/5/2014 12:48 PM

Re: New Hitting Coach 


I like Bob's metrics. One thing that could be going on as well is an intangible driver of the poor perfromance, which is that guys know that we're struggling scoring runs, so when they get the opportunity they are pressing a bit. 

Thus when ahead in the count, especially with runners on base, they are probably thinking "he's got to give me something to hit here so I am going to put a good swing on it". That over-anxious thought is causing them to swing at pitches that may not be as good as the hitter thought it would be, and even with good pitches they may be pulling off the ball a bit due to an almost desperate desire to drive the ball. 

Not measurable, but it's a thought that I think has some merit.
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Posted: 6/5/2014 6:43 PM

Re: New Hitting Coach 



bicyclemike wrote: I like Bob's metrics. One thing that could be going on as well is an intangible driver of the poor perfromance, which is that guys know that we're struggling scoring runs, so when they get the opportunity they are pressing a bit. 

Thus when ahead in the count, especially with runners on base, they are probably thinking "he's got to give me something to hit here so I am going to put a good swing on it". That over-anxious thought is causing them to swing at pitches that may not be as good as the hitter thought it would be, and even with good pitches they may be pulling off the ball a bit due to an almost desperate desire to drive the ball. 

Not measurable, but it's a thought that I think has some merit.
I believe you have it exactly correct, Mike. Every word.

It doesn't apply to every Redbird hitter in every situation, of course. But it's seemingly a team tendency, much more so than in years past.


To address your question, Brian, I think the impatience may be a bit worse when there are men on base -- but I also recall Holliday and Adams on multiple occasions this year, hacking at 2-0 pitches in the dirt, even with the bases bereft of runners. The process is generally poor, and thus the production is lacking (especially the HR power). And this would seem to confirm Mike's diagnosis: everybody wants to snap the team out of its funk, to "make something happen." And the bases on balls that result from a properly selective approach? They aren't happening, because walks are too passive, they don't make things happen

Now I don't think anyone is consciously eschewing walks, whether there are men on base or not, but if John Mabry hasn't done so recently he needs to emphasize to his guys the need, the imperative, to get a driveable strike when ahead in the count -- not merely a hittable one.

Whether he whispers the point, or screams it, or repeats it once an hour like a demented cuckoo clock, the hitting coach more than any other individual has to hammer the idea home in order for the Birds' hitters to return to their '11/'12/'13 glory. This isn't the Phils or Red Sox; age isn't overtaking the Cardinals. But an uncorrected poor approach could.

End rant.noidea
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Posted: 6/5/2014 7:03 PM

Re: New Hitting Coach 


I agree with Bob on this. If a player is struggling they don't need to be taking hittable strikes because they will ultimately be chasing bad pitches. If someone is struggling they should be swinging early at hittable pitches and worry more about hitting the ball hard than producing hits.
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Posted: 6/5/2014 11:30 PM

Re: New Hitting Coach 


Well, I was speaking in generalities and I shouldn't have been. I've seen guys be impatient and I've seen certain guys get caught standing there looking.




---------------------------------------------
--- Domeboys wrote:


ghostheel wrote: As Bob says..."impatience" at the plate is a big reason for this. Maybe trying to do too much. They are swinging at balls and left looking at strike 3 often. At least Matt Carpenter seems to be getting back to his old self.
The two highlighted phrases seem in direct conflict to me. An impatient hitter should not often get caught looking at strike three. Implied here perhaps is the approach changes with the count.

I don't have the answer myself, but I am still not comfortable that the quick generalizations we are applying here completely fit.

---------------------------------------------

Tar Heels: 1924, 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009
STL Cardinals: 1926, 1931, 1934, 1942, 1944, 1946, 1964, 1967, 1982, 2006, 2011   

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Posted: 6/5/2014 11:37 PM

Re: New Hitting Coach 


I'll make it more general, they swing at crap and take the balls they can hit hard.

Last edited 6/5/2014 11:37 PM by scadder21

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Posted: 6/5/2014 11:42 PM

Re: New Hitting Coach 


There you go. Undisciplined at bats.


---------------------------------------------
--- scadder21 wrote:

I'll make it more general, they swing at crap and take the balls they can hit hard.

---------------------------------------------

Tar Heels: 1924, 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009
STL Cardinals: 1926, 1931, 1934, 1942, 1944, 1946, 1964, 1967, 1982, 2006, 2011   

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