Saturday, October 13, 2012

Wanted: Another new batting coach

With the Dodgers' late season collapse on offense, Dave Hansen is the first guy to take a fall.

The team announced he will not return as hitting coach in 2013.  He was offered a chance to be reassigned within the organization, but he declined.  And I certainly can't blame him for that decision after being fired.

Since Ned Colletti was hired seven years ago, he has cycled through six batting coaches.  First came Eddie Murray, then Bill Mueller, Mike Easler, Don Mattingly, Jeff Pentland, and Hansen.  I can only hope these coaches chose to rent in LA and not buy.

I'm certainly no expert on this subject, but I'm also a believer that batting coaches can only do so much.  I think pitching coaches have a much bigger impact on the game, as they can work on gameplans for the opposing offense and work on new pitches and deliveries.  While hitting coaches can certainly tinker with stances and gameplan on which pitches to attack, I'm not sure what else they can really do.

Let's not kid ourselves - if Matt Kemp was healthy, then the offense would've ended the year much better.  But he wasn't, so they didn't.  The other major problem was that too many guys went up to the plate trying to hit a grand slam with nobody on base.  Way too many times we'd see strikeouts, pop ups, and little dribblers with runners on because they were trying to do way too much.  I highly doubt Hansen instructed them to do that.

I do think that whoever is picked as the next hitting coach will have a lot working for him right away.  We can only hope Kemp will be 100% after his shoulder surgery, then he'll have guys like Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier, and Hanley Ramirez to work with.  Not to mention an emerging Luis Cruz, and hopefully a returning Carl Crawford.  There's plenty of horses to make you look good.

I haven't heard about any replacements yet, but I have to think that Mickey Hatcher is a candidate.  He spent years as the Angels' hitting coach for Mike Scioscia before being canned this past year.  He then finished the season with the Dodgers as a special advisor to Colletti.

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