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Daily Notes: How Well Did MLB Hitting Coaches Hit as Players?

Posted By Carson Cistulli On January 17, 2013 @ 10:59 am In Daily Notes | 12 Comments

Table of Contents
Today’s edition of Daily Notes has no table of contents, it appears.

The Hitting Stats for the Hitting Coaches
The Miami Marlins named former Cardinal and Devil Ray and Mariner and Yankee Tino Martinez as their new hitting coach this offseason, shortly after the departure of Ozzie Guillen and his staff — including Guillen’s hitting coach, former major leaguer Eduardo Perez.

There’s nothing to suggest, so far as the author knows, that a player’s own personal hitting ability is a determinative factor in his ability to coach others well in that same art. That said, it’s also the case that Martinez was an above-average hitter over the course of his 16-year career.

“How, generally, have the league’s batting coaches performed as major leaguers?” the author, who constructs thoughts in full sentences, asked himself. The answer, one finds, is best presented in the form of a table, not unlike the one below.

Here, then, are the major-league stats for the 23 current hitting coaches with major-league experience:


Name Team PA BB% K% HR AVG OBP SLG BABIP wRC+ WAR
Mark McGwire Dodgers 7660 17.2% 20.8% 583 .263 .394 .588 .255 157 70.6
Chili Davis Athletics 9997 11.9% 17.0% 350 .274 .360 .451 .302 118 41.7
Don Baylor D-backs 9401 8.6% 11.4% 338 .260 .342 .436 .260 118 34.9
Dave Magadan Rangers 4963 14.5% 11.0% 42 .288 .390 .377 .319 117 27.1
Steve Henderson Phillies 3916 9.9% 17.3% 68 .280 .352 .413 .329 113 11.7
Tino Martinez Marlins 8044 9.7% 13.3% 339 .271 .344 .471 .274 111 33.0
Greg Walker Braves 3177 8.4% 16.4% 113 .260 .326 .449 .281 108 10.0
Greg Colbrunn Red Sox 3017 5.6% 14.7% 98 .289 .338 .460 .312 107 9.3
Tom Brunansky Twins 7169 10.7% 16.6% 271 .245 .327 .434 .259 105 27.0
Dante Bichette Rockies 6856 5.2% 15.7% 274 .299 .336 .499 .320 104 11.5
Phil Plantier Padres 2166 10.9% 22.0% 91 .243 .332 .439 .274 103 3.9
Brook Jacoby Reds 5027 8.7% 15.2% 120 .270 .334 .405 .299 103 19.8
Jay Bell Pirates 8525 10.0% 16.9% 195 .265 .343 .416 .304 102 40.4
Dave Hansen Mariners 2101 13.5% 15.8% 35 .260 .360 .369 .299 101 5.8
Jeff Manto White Sox 822 11.8% 22.1% 31 .230 .329 .415 .265 97 0.9
Lloyd McClendon Tigers 1375 10.4% 12.0% 35 .244 .325 .381 .254 96 1.0
Jim Eppard Angels 156 9.0% 13.5% 0 .281 .351 .317 .331 94 0.1
John Mabry Cardinals 3765 7.5% 19.0% 96 .263 .322 .405 .306 88 2.1
Jim Presley Orioles 3818 5.5% 22.5% 135 .247 .290 .420 .286 88 4.8
Hensley Meulens Giants 549 7.7% 30.1% 15 .220 .288 .353 .295 77 -1.4
Chad Mottola Blue Jays 137 7.3% 20.4% 4 .200 .263 .344 .223 54 -1.0
Ty Van Burkleo Indians 44 13.6% 22.7% 1 .132 .250 .289 .148 49 0.1
Dave Hudgens Athletics 7 0.0% 42.9% 0 .143 .143 .143 .250 -24 -0.1
Averages 4030 9.5% 18.7% 141 .249 .323 .403 .280 95 15.4

Notes
• Absent from this list are the seven coaches who never played in the majors. They are as follows, presented in no particular order: John Mallee (Astros), Jack Maloof (Royals), Kevin Long (Yankees), Derek Shelton (Rays), James Rowson (Cubs), Johnny Narron (Brewers), Rick Eckstein (Nationals).

• The averages are simple averages — that is, not weighted by plate appearances.

• By this method, it appears as though 14 present hitting coaches were above-average major-league hitters. Nine more were below average. Seven more, as noted above, didn’t play at the major-league level.

Mark McGwire was decidedly the best hitter of the league’s current hitting coaches — or, certainly the most productive one.

• A full list of all coaches is available at Baseball Reference. A FanGraphs leaderboard of all the hitting coaches’ offensive numbers is available here.


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