John Lott, for me the best mainstream Jays writer out there (though Shi Davidi is a close second), has a story up this morning talking about Chad Mottola's work with Adeiny Hechavarria. I so much wanted to talk to Mottola when I was in Vegas but the 51's PR guy there wasn't really impressed with some blogger coming to town and only grudgingly allowed me to talk to manager Marty Brown. But I digress.
I'm really not one that believes batting coaches should be blamed for lousy hitting, players are professional, they control their own destiny. I, in particular, hated when Matt Stairs threw the, then, recently fired Gary Denbo under the bus saying 'now you would see what us hitters can do', blaming Denbo for his, and other Jay batters, bad season. Denbo left and Stairs didn't magically start hitting. I don't think it works that way. I don't think hitting coaches can suddenly change a team.
But occasionally, if you are really lucky, a hitting coach and a player can click. Case in point, Mottola and Hechavarria:
"There was a lot of tension in his body, and when that happens you tend to be all one piece and you commit to swinging too early," Mottola said. "You've got to take some tension out of your swing, and that way you're freed up and you can hit more pitches and be more consistent.
"He's staying balanced on all pitches much better. He says he's seeing balls much better and getting in a good position to hit more consistently."
In his tiny Triple-A sample size, Hechavarria still hits left-handers better (four for six). But he is no slouch against the righties (14 for 28).
Now there is no change he stays this hot, but I don't remember a time, in Adeiny's short career in the Jays system, where he was this hot before, so I'm hoping that there is a real change here.
Mottola also seems to have had good luck working with Travis Snider, when I was in Vegas, Travis had 3 hits in each of the 3 games I saw. Marty Brown credited Mottola's work with him.
I think with professional players, small changes are best. Telling a player he has to be a pull hitter when he's been a spray hitter all his career isn't going to work. Totally changing around a swing isn't going to work unless the player really buys into it. But minor changes, you might spark something, or you might clear the batter's mind of the 74 other thoughts he has running through his head at the plate and bring it down to one thought, making it easier to think about hitting the ball. I know my golf swing is better when I'm only thinking one key thought about it, instead of all the other things I usually think about.
Anyway, this was going to be a quick post asking you all if you think Chad Mottola should be moved up to Toronto to be hitting coach. Now Dwayne Murphy has had his successes too, most notably Jose Bautista but also John Buck, last year. And we are 4th in the AL in runs per game, so it is tough to complain about the job he has done. On the other hand, Adam Lind, Aaron Hill and, maybe, J.P. Arencibia are not hitting the way I think they should. What do you think?
Here's a poll.