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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Royals demote hitting coaches, hire George Brett as replacement

The Kansas City Royals have hired George Brett as their new hitting coach, the club announced Thursday.

Previous hitting coaches Jack Maloof and Andre David were reassigned to the minor leagues while Pedro Grifol will become a special assignment coach alongside Brett with the big-league club.

Wednesday, my colleague Danny Knobler wrote that manager Ned Yost’s job isn’t safe in the long-run, but it isn’t in immediate jeopardy. With that in mind and knowing how much Royals hitters have struggled all season—particularly young hitters—it’s no surprise a change was made with the hitting coach position.

Repoz Posted: May 30, 2013 at 12:54 PM | 92 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: roids, royals

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   1. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: May 30, 2013 at 12:58 PM (#4455845)
Well...OK then.
   2. asinwreck Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:03 PM (#4455849)
Brett must have read this interview and felt getting back in uniform was the only way to keepthe team from being a punch line.
   3. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:05 PM (#4455851)
I just #### myself laughing.
   4. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:08 PM (#4455853)
This idea can't miss.
   5. bjhanke Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:08 PM (#4455854)
I'm a Cardinal fan, but I do root for the Royals if it's not 1985, and I think this is a VERY good move, although we'll end up seeing how it works out. One of the things that the Cards have going for them - part of the "Magic Pixie Dust" - is that they cultivate their own superstars after they leave the game, and invite them all to come down to spring training and help the kids. Lou Brock teaches base stealing technique. Ozzie Smth comes down and teaches infield defense. Bob Gibson comes down and will make the occasional comment about a kid pitcher. These things help the minor leaguers make the transition to the Majors much more smoothly (see Pete Kozma), because kids respect hall of Famers, and listen to them. They also tend to hire coaches who played for the team. Their current pitching and hitting coaches are not big names, but they were Cardinal players for at least a few years, and knows the organization teaching approach throughout the minor leagues. Probably the biggest impact on the team is third base coach Jose Oquendo, who was a glove wizard buried behind Ozzie in the 1980s, and is, according to what I hear, largely responsible for taking people like Matt Carpenter and Skip Schumacher and turning them into second basemen at the major league level. If Brett can do for the Royal bats what Mark McGwire was able to do with the Cardinal bats over his tenure as hitting coach, the Royals will get a lot better real soon. Good Luck over there! - Brock Hanke
   6. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:08 PM (#4455857)
I just #### myself laughing.

Hey, this could work!

I admit, I really though the Royals would at least be .500-ish this year and maybe better. The young hitters have done crap, though. A shame.
   7. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:10 PM (#4455860)
Brett could probably still hit better than some of his pupils.
   8. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:14 PM (#4455867)
The Royals score 10 runs about as often as George Brett shits his pants.
   9. base ball chick Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:15 PM (#4455868)
well at least george brett knows HOW to hit homers in the ML but whether or not he can teach it to all the other guys who knows

this kind of reminds me of when the astros fired their ex-stro hitting coach and replaced him with ex-stro jeff bagwell. numbers didn't change real too much. but george has guys with better prospect pedigrees to work with
   10. zonk Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:17 PM (#4455869)
Soooo.... whether it's true or not, if you think your highest level hitting coach is to blame for the stagnation of your most advanced hitters, is sending them down to the farm to work with your less advanced hitters really a wise move?

Still, always fun to see Hall of Famers have a go at coaching...
   11. RJ in TO Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:20 PM (#4455875)
They better hope this works, as they'll have a PR disaster on their hands if they have to fire Brett.
   12. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:20 PM (#4455876)
was the only way to keepthe team from being a punch line.


Too late.

I see what you're saying Brocke, but its not like George wasn't involved with the club before. He is the club VP and usually hangs out with the team during spring training, giving them hitting instruction and regaling them with stories of tainted crab meat at the Bellagio.
   13. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:21 PM (#4455877)
I really appreciate how George has stuck with the franchise and become mr royal. not easy to see your old 'company' stink it up

lots of great hitters struggle sharing any insight that lesser mortals can use. I wish him well

George did transform himself mid career when the league stopped throwing him so many fastballs and tried to get him to chase

bill james describes this better in one of his books
   14. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:21 PM (#4455880)
Soooo.... whether it's true or not, if you think your highest level hitting coach is to blame for the stagnation of your most advanced hitters, is sending them down to the farm to work with your less advanced hitters really a wise move?

I think this may be a move more for placating fans than because they actually think it will work. Who will dare criticize St. George?
   15. RJ in TO Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:25 PM (#4455883)
Who will dare criticize St. George?

Fans under 30 who don't remember him as an active player? People who are just absolutely sick of the continual rebuilding bullshit that this franchise has been doing for the last 20 years? People who (cynically and/or reasonably) see this as Moore's latest attempt to distract people from his repeated failures in a desperate attempt to hold on to his job, rather than an attempt to actually improve the team?
   16. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:30 PM (#4455892)
Fans under 30 who don't remember him as an active player? People who are just absolutely sick of the continual rebuilding ######## that this franchise has been doing for the last 20 years? People who (cynically and/or reasonably) see this as Moore's latest attempt to distract people from his repeated failures in a desperate attempt to hold on to his job, rather than an attempt to actually improve the team?

I agree with you, but I can see Moore rubbing his hands together and saying, "your move, Pos, Rany and Neyer."
   17. RJ in TO Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:36 PM (#4455896)
I agree with you, but I can see Moore rubbing his hands together and saying, "your move, Pos, Rany and Neyer."

Really? I can see Moore rubbing his hands together and starting to say that, but then slipping and accidentally poking himself in both eyes, so that it instead comes out as "your move, PooaaaaAARRRRGHHHHH!"

Because that's how things seems to go for the Royals.
   18. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:41 PM (#4455905)
Danny Knobler has an article up that cites some source close to the Royals saying that Jim Fregosi would be their top candidate to replace Ned Yost.

That sounds about right for the Royals.
   19. RJ in TO Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:43 PM (#4455908)
Danny Knobler has an article up that cites some source close to the Royals saying that Jim Fregosi would be their top candidate to replace Ned Yost.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I remember when Fregosi got the manager's job for the Jays when they had to turf Tim Johnson, largely on the basis of him being home when they called. He really didn't seem all that interested in the job. I mean, he wasn't a complete disaster or anything, but he really didn't seem to give a #### whether the team was good or bad. He could have largely been replaced by a cardboard cutout of himself.
   20. Topher Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:45 PM (#4455910)
Danny Knobler has an article up that cites some source close to the Royals saying that Jim Fregosi would be their top candidate to replace Ned Yost.

That sounds about right for the Royals.


Actually, somebody who was hired for who they are instead of their ties to the Braves organization would be a nice change for the Royals. But I would hope for somebody that is not named Jim Fregosi.
   21. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:49 PM (#4455914)

Actually, somebody who was hired for who they are instead of their ties to the Braves organization would be a nice change for the Royals


Fregosi has worked for the Braves since 2000. His kid works for the Royals front office.
   22. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:49 PM (#4455915)
They better hope this works, as they'll have a PR disaster on their hands if they have to fire Brett.


Not really. They will just kick him upstairs, or back upstairs, or back to wherever the hell he's coming from.
   23. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:52 PM (#4455920)
The regression to the mean will be misinterpreted as George getting results. Fans will plead for him to stay, but George will retire at the end of the year, back to playing golf.
   24. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:53 PM (#4455921)
Looking up Fregosi, surprised to see he's "only" 71. If you are going old, back up the money truck to Bobby Cox's house. He's only a year older. That's the one former Brave that could help.

I'm disappointed to find that bb-ref doesn't do their EloRater thing for managers. Maybe I'm the only one who likes that gadget.
   25. Shibal Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:53 PM (#4455922)
If I was a player, making hundred of thousands of dollars with near limitless earning potential, I'd hire my own hitting coach. Screw the one hired and fired at will by my team; those guys have too many hitters to coach and loyalty is to the club not the player.

A player's own personal hitting coach can focus mostly on the player, can advise him as he makes his way around the league during his career, and will know the player's swing inside and out after a while.

As for this move, good in theory. I'm just worried it's a distraction designed to save Yost's and Moore's ass. As long as Frenchy, Getz, and Moustakis are in the lineup, not much is going to change.
   26. Ron J2 Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:56 PM (#4455924)
#22 And make it sound like it's not a demotion.

We really appreciate George taking time away from his other duties, but those other duties have recently become too time consuming and George is the best person in the organization to address them.
   27. Rants Mulliniks Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:58 PM (#4455926)
People who are just absolutely sick of the continual rebuilding ######## that this franchise has been doing for the last 20 years


So you're saying I'll be justified in criticizing Roberto Alomar when the Jays hire him? They've been rebuilding for 19 years now.
   28. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 30, 2013 at 01:58 PM (#4455927)

If I was a player, making hundred of thousands of dollars with near limitless earning potential, I'd hire my own hitting coach. Screw the one hired and fired at will by my team; those guys have too many hitters to coach and loyalty is to the club not the player.


I would think you'd run the risk of building an echo chamber. "Hey you're doing a great job Moose, just keep your weight back like we worked on...oh you don't want to watch video? Oh okay, no problem, just keep paying me, I mean, uh, keep working on keeping your weight back..."
   29. Bob Meta-Meusel Posted: May 30, 2013 at 02:04 PM (#4455934)
But the Royals don't even have the worst offense in the AL Central. The White Sox make them look like Murderers' Row.
   30. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 30, 2013 at 02:04 PM (#4455935)
George can likely be a hero by meeting with hosmer by the batting cage and telling him that if he hits another weak 8ss ground ball to the hole between third and short George will beat him to death with a fungo bat

or maybe he makes the positive. however he communicates to eric that eric should be looking to jerk the ball into the right field seats a la garrett jones.
   31. bunyon Posted: May 30, 2013 at 02:11 PM (#4455943)
Harvey, I picture it as Brett exploding out of the dugout ala pine tar game next time Eric grounds out weakly.
   32. Shibal Posted: May 30, 2013 at 02:16 PM (#4455948)
I would think you'd run the risk of building an echo chamber. "Hey you're doing a great job Moose, just keep your weight back like we worked on...oh you don't want to watch video? Oh okay, no problem, just keep paying me, I mean, uh, keep working on keeping your weight back..."


I'd look at it more like a trainer for a boxer, or even personal trainer at the gym, working you hard if you slack off a bit. A hitter's not going want a yes man glad-handing him when he's batting .200.



   33. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 30, 2013 at 02:17 PM (#4455950)
bunion

or that.

kind of the opposite of willie mays hayes correct? pushups every time he doesn't hit a fly ball?
   34. TerpNats Posted: May 30, 2013 at 02:39 PM (#4455974)
If Fregosi could give the Royals one season comparable to the '93 Phillies (minus Len Dykstra, of course), he would be a hero in Kansas City.
   35. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 30, 2013 at 02:42 PM (#4455978)
If you are going old, back up the money truck to Bobby Cox's house. He's only a year older. That's the one former Brave that could help.


On the bright side, at least Fregosi isn't a wife-beater. As far as I know...
   36. John Northey Posted: May 30, 2013 at 02:44 PM (#4455982)
One wonders why a team like KC which has sucked for 20+ years (10 years in a row sub-500, 18 of last 19, on their 28th straight year of no playoffs) doesn't just go out and try to sign away every last person they can from the Rays. I mean, there is a team that wins on nothing. I'm surprised no one has cleaned out their front office yet as in a bidding war one has to think Tampa would lose.

FYI: the last time the Royals were 500+ for 2 straight years was 93/94 (their other 500 record since then was 2003) - when George Brett was their DH, Wally Joyner at 1B, with David Cone, Kevin Appier in the rotation and Tom Gordon and Mark Gubicza in the swing man position (1/2 the time relief, 1/2 the time starting). Others on those teams included Vince Coleman and Hubie Brooks.
   37. RJ in TO Posted: May 30, 2013 at 02:50 PM (#4455987)
One wonders why a team like KC which has sucked for 20+ years (10 years in a row sub-500, 18 of last 19, on their 28th straight year of no playoffs) doesn't just go out and try to sign away every last person they can from the Rays. I mean, there is a team that wins on nothing. I'm surprised no one has cleaned out their front office yet as in a bidding war one has to think Tampa would lose.

Part of the reason the Royals have sucked for 20+ years is that they don't think about doing things like cleaning out the front office of the Rays. Instead, they think "This is how we did it the last time we were good" without realizing that everyone else is already doing that stuff, and a dozen new things on top of that.
   38. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 30, 2013 at 02:56 PM (#4455993)
One wonders why a team like KC which has sucked for 20+ years (10 years in a row sub-500, 18 of last 19, on their 28th straight year of no playoffs) doesn't just go out and try to sign away every last person they can from the Rays.


Well, they did kind of try that approach, only replace Rays with Braves, a team with a longer track record of success than Tampa Bay. But yea, I'd probably do something like that if I'm in charge.
   39. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 30, 2013 at 03:06 PM (#4456008)
If I was a player, making hundred of thousands of dollars with near limitless earning potential, I'd hire my own hitting coach. Screw the one hired and fired at will by my team; those guys have too many hitters to coach and loyalty is to the club not the player.
I hear Greg Anderson is available.

Anyway, I don't know that players don't have their own coaches. Presumably not full time ones, though.
   40. TomH Posted: May 30, 2013 at 03:08 PM (#4456009)
I am TOTALLY wiht Zonk: "if you think your highest level hitting coach is to blame for the stagnation of your most advanced hitters, is sending them down to the farm to work with your less advanced hitters really a wise move?"
I can only defend this move by if the powers have inside info that the coahces will turn down the demotion and quit. This is a bit like saying "I divorce you becasuse you're a jerk, but here, you can raise my kids"

   41. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: May 30, 2013 at 03:11 PM (#4456013)
Danny Knobler has an article up that cites some source close to the Royals saying that Jim Fregosi would be their top candidate to replace Ned Yost.

As of Dec. 31, 2009, only three men had ever managed in five decades. If the Royals were to hire Fregosi, he'd be the eighth member of the club.

Mack, McGraw, Durocher.

Cox, Torre, LaRussa, & McKeon.


   42. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 30, 2013 at 03:13 PM (#4456016)
I'm a Cardinal fan, but I do root for the Royals if it's not 1985, and I think this is a VERY good move, although we'll end up seeing how it works out.
Isn't the big risk here that Brett doesn't really have any skills to be a hitting coach, that this is a desperation move to mollify fans, and that when it flops it's not only seen by fans as an insulting stunt, but as an admission that there's really nothing left for the Royals to try?
   43. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 30, 2013 at 03:17 PM (#4456019)
Isn't the big risk here that Brett doesn't really have any skills to be a hitting coach, that this is a desperation move to mollify fans, and that when it flops it's not only seen by fans as an insulting stunt, but as an admission that there's really nothing left for the Royals to try?


Yes, but he's signing autographs!
   44. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 30, 2013 at 03:18 PM (#4456020)
#22 And make it sound like it's not a demotion.

We really appreciate George taking time away from his other duties, but those other duties have recently become too time consuming and George is the best person in the organization to address them.


Right; it's fairly simple to do this.
   45. Swedish Chef Posted: May 30, 2013 at 03:19 PM (#4456021)
if you think your highest level hitting coach is to blame for the stagnation of your most advanced hitters, is sending them down to the farm to work with your less advanced hitters really a wise move?

Maybe they're great with kids, but got promoted to a level where their #### didn't work, maybe it was chemistry with the players or maybe they just didn't have a good grip on Batting 303.
   46. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: May 30, 2013 at 03:20 PM (#4456024)
My favorite Jim Fregosi factoid: he was apparently hired to manage the Angels while still an active player for the Pirates. Or if not quite still active, with an amazing short time segueing from one career to the next.

May 31, 1978: Angels lose 17-2 to the White Sox. It's Dave Garcia's last game managing the Angels.

May 31, 1978: Jim Fregosi plays his last game. For no readily apparent reason, Pittsburgh yanks him in the second inning for Mario Mendoza.

June 2, 1978: Angels play their first game since firing Dave Garcia. Jim Fregosi is their manager.

The retosheet account flatly says in the 2nd inning of its play-by-play "Jim Fregosi will retire to manage." I dunno if California called that night or the next day, but it's an amazingly rapid turn around.
   47. Shibal Posted: May 30, 2013 at 03:20 PM (#4456025)
The Royals have been trying to get Brett to be the hitting coach for a long time now...I don't think they have any concerns that he doesn't have skills to be a hitting coach.
   48. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 30, 2013 at 03:20 PM (#4456026)
Also, it would be fun if Brett pulled a pine-tar-hissy-fit every time one of his hitters is called out on strikes.
   49. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 30, 2013 at 03:25 PM (#4456033)
Its an interim tag too. I don't think there is any expectation Brett will be coaching beyond this year. This Pedro Griffindorf character will probably be the long-term coach. I hear we got him from the Mariners, so I hope we can replicate their offensive prowess.
   50. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 30, 2013 at 03:27 PM (#4456036)
Maybe they're great with kids, but got promoted to a level where their #### didn't work, maybe it was chemistry with the players or maybe they just didn't have a good grip on Batting 303.


Yep, this is what it is.

Now as soon as they reassign Dayton Moore to Scouting Director and hire a qualified GM, they'll be set.
   51. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 30, 2013 at 03:32 PM (#4456043)
Since May 15, the Royals have more hitting coaches (4) than home runs (2).
   52. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 30, 2013 at 03:39 PM (#4456049)
The Royals have been trying to get Brett to be the hitting coach for a long time now...I don't think they have any concerns that he doesn't have skills to be a hitting coach.
Yeah, the Royals apparently also don't have concerns about the fact that they haven't hit any home runs since the Clinton administration. I was thinking less about their concerns and more about a sentient person's concerns.
   53. Dan Posted: May 30, 2013 at 03:44 PM (#4456059)
Does Brett have any experience at all with using video like modern hitters do? The way most of these guys and their coaches use video these days is a massive change from how hitters prepared for games when Brett was a player. If I were a Royals fan I'd be pretty concerned that Brett might not be well equipped to relate to the preparation these hitters are expecting.
   54. Tubbs & Minnie Miñoso don't fear Sid Monge Posted: May 30, 2013 at 03:57 PM (#4456076)
"On the bright side, at least Fregosi isn't a wife-beater. As far as I know..."

I do remember reading somewhere that Fregosi took a bounty out on Rod Carew after he cleated Fregosi's teammate Bobby Knoop. Ironically, Fregosi wound up managing Carew later on. No idea if there relationship improved
   55. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 30, 2013 at 04:01 PM (#4456083)
This is a bit like saying "I divorce you becasuse you're a jerk, but here, you can raise my kids"


Doesn't that basically happen in every divorce?
   56. WillYoung Posted: May 30, 2013 at 04:04 PM (#4456088)
Dag, from the archives Pittsburgh Post-Gazette archives:

Fregosi: Doghouse to Angel Penthouse by Charley Feeney

At first Jim Fregosi thought it was a bad joke.

Buzzie Bavasi, vice president of the California Angels, called Fregosi early last night.

"Two errors in one game. You can't throw. You're through," Bavasi said to Fregosi.

Before Fregosi could say anything, Bavasi said: "If you can't play, why not manage. How about managing the Angels?

That's how Jim Fregosi, age 36 and utility infielder for the Pirates, learned about his new career.

Sixteen years ago, Fregosi began his big league career as a shortstop for the Angels. . . . Gene Autry . . . became Fregosi's biggest fan. Bill Rigney, who managed the Angels in 1962, pushed for Fregosi to stay in the big leagues. RIgney is now a scout for the Angels and it [sic] believed urged Autry to hire Fregosi as manager.

There's an ironic touch to the situation.

Last July, Dave Garcia replaced Norm Sherry as Angels' manager. Sherry is the brother of Larry Sherry, pitching coach for the Pirates.

When Fregosi learned that he was to replace Garcia, the first person he contacted was Larry Sherry.

"I was having dinner," Larry Sherry said, "and Fregosi rushed to my table. He was excited. I'm so happy for him. Am I surprised[?] Hell, yes. Last night, Jim was so down. I'm sure he never expected anything like this."

Fregosi was charged with two errors in the first inning in Philadelphia and was taken out of the game in the second inning. Manager Chuck Tanner said Fregosi injured his shoulder.

"Chuck is a class guy," Fregosi said after the game. "He didn't want to say anything to embarass me."

. . .

The Angels received permission from Pirates' General Manager Pete Peterson before they contacted Fregosi.

It's not known if the Pirates will receive compensation for giving up Fregosi . . . .


The player the Pirates promoted to take Fregosi's spot on the active roster: Ken Macha
   57. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 30, 2013 at 04:09 PM (#4456096)
carew played just fine under fregosi
   58. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 30, 2013 at 04:09 PM (#4456097)
Brett might not be well equipped to relate to the preparation these hitters are expecting.


Is that a hemorroids joke?
   59. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: May 30, 2013 at 04:29 PM (#4456114)
Will - thanks. I hadn't noticed the pair of errors. My, that is bad.
   60. Shibal Posted: May 30, 2013 at 04:49 PM (#4456126)
Now as soon as they reassign Dayton Moore to Scouting Director and hire a qualified GM, they'll be set.


Looking at Moore's drafting ability, I'm not sure he's qualified to be a Scouting director either.

All those top picks, and the best of the bunch so far is a set-up man?
   61. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 30, 2013 at 05:08 PM (#4456135)
That's an ALL-STAR set up man, thank you very much.
   62. Repoz Posted: May 30, 2013 at 06:08 PM (#4456176)
Just saw this tweeted...

George Brett inn press conference: "Home runs can kill rallies"
   63. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 30, 2013 at 06:19 PM (#4456183)
Nice to see some independent thinkers going against the grain. Skeptics, you might call them. I hear the Royals are planning to move their stadium to a new city called Naypidaw, with location dictated by the stars.
   64. pthomas Posted: May 30, 2013 at 06:19 PM (#4456184)
So, the Royals will become Charley Lau advocates?

Lau developed a list of "Absolutes" about hitting, which included:

A balanced, workable stance
Rhythm and movement in the stance (as opposed to standing still)
A good weight shift from a firm rigid backside to a firm rigid frontside
Striding with the front toe closed
Having the bat in the launching position as soon as the front foot touches down
Making the stride a positive, aggressive motion toward the pitcher
A tension-free swing
Hitting through the ball
Hitting the ball where it is pitched, rather than trying to direct it

Lau served as batting coach for the Royals from 1971 to 1978 (with the exception of the early part of the 1975 season when he was the team's minor league hitting coach after his temporary ouster from the Royals' staff by then-skipper Jack McKeon. He worked with Hal McRae, Amos Otis, Willie Wilson and George Brett. After becoming the Chicago White Sox' hitting instructor, his pupils included Greg Luzinski, Carlton Fisk, Steve Kemp, Harold Baines and Ron Kittle.
   65. Jose Molina wants a nickname like "A-Rod" Posted: May 30, 2013 at 06:45 PM (#4456202)
Perfect, double tapered sh|ts all round!
   66. Gamingboy Posted: May 30, 2013 at 06:49 PM (#4456204)
Hey, it can't get much worse, right?
   67. Steve Treder Posted: May 30, 2013 at 06:52 PM (#4456207)
Lau served as batting coach for the Royals from 1971 to 1978

And he got the Royals gig because he'd performed minor miracles with Mark Belanger in Baltimore in 1969 (.208 to .287 BA, .241 to .102 K/AB), and Joe Rudi (.189 to .309 BA) and Dave Duncan (.126 to .259 BA, .323 to .164 K/AB) in Oakland in 1970.
   68. The District Attorney Posted: May 30, 2013 at 07:11 PM (#4456217)
I dunno whether it was logical or fair or anything to dump the KC hitting coach, but I have to admit I enjoy when someone says something disqualifyingly stupid¹ and is, in fact, fired immediately.

¹ I don't mean racist or sexist remarks or anything; that's no fun. I mean just super dumb.
   69. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: May 30, 2013 at 07:38 PM (#4456241)
Since May 15, the Royals have more hitting coaches (4) than home runs (2).
Now that's my kind of statistic!
   70. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 31, 2013 at 12:55 AM (#4456572)
This is OT but I don't know where to put it, so:

Where does Jacoby Ellsbury's 2011 season rank among the flukiest seasons ever? It's beginning to look like one big massive gargantuan fluke.
   71. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: May 31, 2013 at 08:38 AM (#4456640)
To paraphrase Brady Anderson, Ellsbury's 2011 was an aberration, not a fluke.

2011 was Ellsbury's age-27 season, and one of the only years of his career that he's been fully healthy. And he's a talented guy who'd been seen to be underperforming. You'd expect it would be a career year, and a 125 OPS+ wouldn't have looked especially flukey. A huge year at 32 by a guy with a solid record of health (i.e., Anderson) looks far more aberrant. IOW, you can measure the season's aberrancy just by comparing his output to that of the rest of his career, which I think makes the year less historically flukey.
   72. Rants Mulliniks Posted: May 31, 2013 at 08:51 AM (#4456649)
Still fluky, I made that comment to a friend this morning who's a Red Sox fan. Ellsbury swiped 5 bags last night.
   73. Ron J2 Posted: May 31, 2013 at 11:03 AM (#4456790)
#70 IIRC one of the old Elias publications came up with Pendleton's MVP season as the flukiest. Jim Hickman and Cito Gaston (both 1970) were also way up the list.

   74. bjhanke Posted: May 31, 2013 at 11:13 AM (#4456802)
Shibal (comment 25), David Nieporent (39) and pthomas (64) - Players do regularly have their personal hitting coaches, and some of the successful duos are not what you'd expect. Mark McGwire says that he took lessons in the early 1990s from Doug Rader (of all people who didn't hit anything like McGwire), and got his swing straightened out. Skip Schumacher, while working on his defense at second base, was taking hitting coaching from McGwire before Mac was signed by the Cards to be hitting coach. In fact, I believe Skip's testimony (he made me into a .300 hitter) had something to do with why they hired the "tainted" slugger.

The point about Lau is a good one. Essentially, Lau teaches you how to hit many line drives and cut down on strikeouts, but without much power behind the liners. This can take a guy with some power, and drive him out of the league, when he loses what power he has. But Lau can also take a very strong power hitter whose fundamentals could be better and turn them into .300 hitters with 20 homers instead of .250 hitters with 25 taters. And he could take a .260 hitter with no power and turn him into Matty Alou. Lau's own inflexibility in teaching everybody the exact same style eventually drove him from the ranks of the MLB employed; too many students lost all their power, and there was only occasionally a George Brett or Matty Alou (Matty himself got coached by Harry The Hat Walker, who was an early version of Lau - I'm using him as an example of a hitting style because everyone here probably remembers Matty). But Brett himself is not the same thing as Lau. He lacks the inflexible commitment to Lau's techniques. He's not emotionally invested in them as the only way to succeed at hitting. That's why retired Hall of Famers can be a big help. They actually DID succeed at hitting, unlike Lau, so they have more experience to use to temper any fanatical commitment to their preferred style. That's why I think it's so useful for teams to mine their own retired superstars. The kids will listen, and the superstars have more than one trick. Rogers Hornsby, for example. Hornsby, as a manager, was completely inflexible, at least after 1926. But as a hitting coach, he was quite successful; the New Historical Abstract has several player comments that involve a story of Rogers Hornsby teaching this guy to hit, and Bill James hates Hornsby, and is making himself give the devil his due when he says that about Hornsby. Ty Cobb and Ted Williams were also players and/or managers with personal relations issues, but both seem to have been very effective hitting coaches; even Cobb when dealing with hitters after 1920 (Harry Heilmann). - Brock Hanke
   75. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 31, 2013 at 11:13 AM (#4456803)
IIRC one of the old Elias publications came up with Pendleton's MVP season as the flukiest. Jim Hickman and Cito Gaston (both 1970) were also way up the list.


I suspect Norm Cash's 1961 was up there as well.
   76. Steve Treder Posted: May 31, 2013 at 11:54 AM (#4456856)
IIRC one of the old Elias publications came up with Pendleton's MVP season as the flukiest. Jim Hickman and Cito Gaston (both 1970) were also way up the list.


I suspect Norm Cash's 1961 was up there as well.

Billy Grabarkewitz, baybee!

And a Walt Dropo to go.
   77. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: May 31, 2013 at 12:06 PM (#4456868)
Rick Wilkins had a great fluke season.
   78. Steve Treder Posted: May 31, 2013 at 12:09 PM (#4456872)
I'll see your Rick Wilkins and raise you a Bernard Gilkey.
   79. TomH Posted: May 31, 2013 at 12:18 PM (#4456888)
Zoilo Versailles, MVP!
   80. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 31, 2013 at 12:25 PM (#4456894)
Miguel Dilone in 1980.
   81. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: May 31, 2013 at 12:28 PM (#4456898)
ESPN's write up on the hiring portrayed a more complete version of the hire. Brett was asked to come in and see if he could improve the hitting - it's not necessarily a long term hire, if it doesn't work out, Brett will take himself out of the role.

The 60-year-old Hall of Famer accepted the job after calls from general manager Dayton Moore and manager Ned Yost, telling Yost he'd think about it. All it took was one more loss.
"I just .... give it a try," Brett said. "So I'm going to give it a try." Brett and Moore plan to meet in a month to assess the situation, and then again two weeks after that. Brett did most of the talking at a news conference with Moore and Yost. "I don't know if I'm going to be good at this," Brett said. "If I'm not doing my job, I don't want Dayton to feel like he has to fire me. "This could be something I just could not stand to do, I don't know," he said. "The players and I might not hit it off, I don't know."
   82. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 31, 2013 at 12:30 PM (#4456900)
Raul Ibanez credited his private tutelage with Kevin Seitzer as saving his career as a minor leaguer, which I believed helped Seitzer get his foot in the door to become a full-time hitting instructor for the Diamondbacks and later Royals.

And what about fluke pitchers? Steve Stone, John Denny and Bobby Thigpen all say hi.
   83. McCoy Posted: May 31, 2013 at 12:31 PM (#4456903)
Earlier this month I was looking at bad players putting up good seasons and along with Dilone I found Rob Wilfong in 1979 and Howie Shanks in 1921. Shanks might very well have the greatest raw OPS difference between career and best year for a bad hitter. Dilone might very well have the greatest difference in OPS+.

I think the filter I used was that the hitter had to have a career OPS below .650 and played awhile.
   84. The District Attorney Posted: May 31, 2013 at 12:44 PM (#4456913)
Bill James did an article a few years back about the 25 biggest "breakout" seasons (through 2007). Minimum requirements were age 27 & 400 games played going into the season in question.

1. the aforementioned Jim Hickman, 1970
2. Ellis Burks, 1996
3. Larry Walker, 1997
4. George Sisler, 1920
5. Bret Boone, 2001
6. Tommy Holmes, 1945
7. Derrek Lee, 2005
8. Sammy Sosa, 1998
9. Carlos Guillen, 2004
10. John "and after all, you're my" VanderWal, 2000
11. Charlie Hayes, 1993
12. Rich Aurilia, 2001
13. Sid Gordon, 1948
14. Dante Bichette, 1993
15. Melvin Mora, 2004
16. Brian Downing, 1979
17. Carlos Pena, 2007
18. Tommy Herr, 1985
19. Tino Martinez, 1995
20. Lew Fonseca, 1929
21. Riggs Stephenson, 1927
22. Brady Anderson, 1996
23. Steve Evans, 1914
24. Luis Gonzalez, 1999
25. Ray Powell, 1921

As you can see, it's not the same thing as "fluke", but I thought it was worth mentioning. James:
A little less than one-half of the players who were sprinkled with [Carlos] Pena dust were able to sustain their gains in following seasons, while a narrow majority never played at the same level again. But of those who did, several then moved on to even higher levels of production.
   85. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 31, 2013 at 12:50 PM (#4456918)
Rick Wilkins had a great fluke season.


Bill James wrote a year or two before that season:

"Will never be as good as the organization thinks he is: Rick Wilkins."

But since Wilkins then fell back....... who was right, exactly?

----

Other fluke years:

Richard Hidalgo
Larry Sheets
The year Willie McGee hit .353?
   86. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 31, 2013 at 12:59 PM (#4456928)
A little less than one-half of the players who were sprinkled with [Carlos] Pena dust were able to sustain their gains in following seasons, while a narrow majority never played at the same level again. But of those who did, several then moved on to even higher levels of production.


This makes no sense to me. Some players were able to keep being good, while others were never that good again. But among those who were never good again, had even better seasons?
   87. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 31, 2013 at 01:00 PM (#4456930)

Larry Sheets


Yea, '87 produced a few fluke seasons. Dale Sveum was another that year.

Kevin Elster during the silly ball era. Jay Bell in 1999.
   88. Steve Treder Posted: May 31, 2013 at 01:02 PM (#4456931)
Tito Francona, 1959
Charlie Maxwell, 1956

   89. The District Attorney Posted: May 31, 2013 at 01:02 PM (#4456932)
"Of those who did" refers to the players who sustained their gains, not the players who did not.
   90. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 31, 2013 at 01:13 PM (#4456939)
So what he's saying is that some players did worse, some did better, and some stayed the same? That is remarkable.
   91. The District Attorney Posted: May 31, 2013 at 01:42 PM (#4456969)
Heh, I guess. But I think his larger point is that when you pick a bunch of "better-than-ever" seasons, you would expect the great majority of the players to regress afterwards. But in fact, almost half of them didn't, and a good number not only didn't regress, but actually improved.

i.e., if someone plays that much better than they ever have before, there is probably an actual reason.
   92. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: June 01, 2013 at 07:11 PM (#4457944)
Where does Jacoby Ellsbury's 2011 season rank among the flukiest seasons ever? It's beginning to look like one big massive gargantuan fluke.

Meh, I certainly don't think he is a legit 140 OPS+ guy. But he's also played fewer than 600 PA since then, over which he was basically constantly playing through or recovering from an injury. So it's pretty hard to draw any real conclusions from his struggles.
edit: minus a 7

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