Question of the Day, 5/17 …

How much responsibility does a hitting coach have? You can give advice to players, but if a veteran is used to his ways, he won’t change. — @Jay27Halos

A hitting coach has a lot of responsibility. How much influence? To a man, Angels players recently said it’s very little at the Major League level, and not just because they were defending the recently-dismissed Mickey Hatcher. It’s just that most players at this level already have their own approach, know what works and doesn’t, and understand their swings better than any man alive. All a hitting coach can do, many will say, “is be there.”

But a big reason Jerry Dipoto made the decision to dismiss Hatcher, and replace him with Jim Eppard, was because he wanted to implement a certain philosophy from top-to-bottom, of controlling counts, of drawing walks and of (hopefully) boasting high on-base percentages. He understands Eppard isn’t going to automatically turn Vernon Wells or Erick Aybar or Peter Bourjos into on-base machines, for example. But, Dipoto said: ” You can make it better. You can make it better by understanding situations, by attacking situations and by laying the foundation for future growth. Really, those are my only expectations – that we see a tangible result between now and the end of the year in our ability to lay a foundation offensively that we can build on.”

Mike Scioscia, clearly upset at the dismissal of his good friend, had this to say when asked about the impact a hitting coach can have at this level …

“I don’t know on a day-to-day basis, but certainly over the course of time, huge. The fact of not only finding a mechanical flaw, or a trigger that’s just not there that should be there in a guy’s swing, his balance points, getting in tune with a hitter’s feel to hitting well, and then obviously on the mental side, the mental preparation, understanding pitchers, what their stuff is, what they do. These are all things that you have to bring forward and give to players.”


1 Comment

You can make it better by understanding situations!

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