By: David Little @DLittleMLB
From 2015 to this offseason, the Red Sox have been coached by Chilli Davis. As their hitting coach, Chilli advocated an old school approach of hitting. And when Ortiz was in our lineup the players benefited from this approach. You look at players like Jackie Bradley JR and he had that amazing run of hitting under Chilli. Chilli appeared to be fostering and growing the talents of our youth stacked lineup. All of our players were blossoming in front of our eyes. But then this year happened.
Red Sox hitters, supposedly in a juiced ball league simply did not perform. When you look at league performances the Red Sox are far behind. Our team leader was Mookie Betts with a respectable 24 home runs, but when you look at the rest of the roster you would of expected more 20 plus home run hitters. When Jose Ramirez hits 11 in 2016 and 29 this year, or Lindor increases his long hits by 16 you think that would carry over to our team. But it simply wasn’t to be.
Chilli Davis was an old school coach who was a big proponent of hitting good balls, and laying of the rest. This translated to other old school approaches such as “getting on top of the ball” and trying to simply drive the ball to the open field. But this mindset has slowly faded away. Today’s coachs are recommending launch angles and trying to get under the ball. Enter our new hitting coach, Tim Hyers.
Hyers has coached the last two years as the hitting coach for the youth infused, and power infused LA Dodgers. Im sure you don’t have too, but take a look at that roster and the power infusion it has from all positions. The great part is he was also the minor league coordinator for Boston before this, and for many of our current stars, such as Jack Bradley, Mookie Betts, Xander Boegarts and Christian Vasquez. He’s known our guys, and our approachs for a long time now. And the following quote from Hyers on ESPN.com is what we should most be excited about,
“We’ve always wanted, as hitters, to hit the ball hard and get on base and slug to drive in runs. But now, with all the technology, we can start to put a number on it,” Hyers says. “If you hit a ball 15 to 30 degrees in the air and you hit it 95 to 100 mph, it’s going to be a productive swing. That’s what they were shooting for [in Los Angeles], and it worked out really well.”
Now apply that to Boston. We are going to have a different approach this year. This team will still be selective and smart, but now try to really smash the ball. The tide is changing, and under the toutledge of our new managers, we should be expecting big things. The previous quote shows the analytic side that will be infused into a locker room of great baseball players. This is a team that struggled in the playoffs yet still won the division. We have the great ball players, and now with proper leadership, fans have to be excited.
Referring to LA’s Chris Taylor first pitch homerun against Houston, Cora said ” “That’s what we’re trying to do. In an era that we live in, I know it’s OK to grind out at-bats, but sometimes grinding out an at-bat is the first pitch of the at-bat and put a good swing on it.” Our team was league leaders in laying of pitches, but the simple fact is that sometimes you need to square up some balls.
With all this in mind, the future is bright for our young emerging team. I am excited and you should be too. We have thrown out the old and adapted, and our young players will be the largest benefactors from this. Chilli was a great guy, with a great career, but has simply been out grown by the league. Gear up. Big signings or not, our boys can play and now they have the coaching to really allow them to grow. We are in for another great year.
ICYMI: EPISODE 26 OF THE AVIDBOSTON PODCAST!!! THE RED SOX OPT FOR MITCH MORELAND OVER ERIC HOSMER!!!
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