Freddie Patek says just get shorter hitters!
[The Royals] fired [their] previous hitting coach, Pedro Grifol, at the end of May. The replacement was Dale Sveum, before that the manager of the Cubs. The position of hitting coach is widely believed to be largely ornamental (and sometimes sacrificial) in nature. They don’t do much to change the hitters in their tutelage, but they are the first to be fired when the offense underperforms. Accordingly, the Royals were on their fifth hitting coach in two years.
Dale Sveum seemed different from the moment of his hiring, however. At introductory press conferences, hitting coaches are asked what steps they’ll take to improve the offense. The answer is - almost invariably - a nondescript and banal quote about increasing or decreasing the selectiveness or aggressiveness of the hitters. Sveum said something altogether different:
‘The bottom line is we’ve struggled with elevation and we’ve swung at pitches down in the zone probably way too much,’ he said. ‘From thigh high to the top of the strike zone, we’re not doing enough damage.’
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