John Lott, in the National Post, wrote about our new hitting coach Kevin Seitzer and Ryan Goins.
Seitzer seems to think Goins will be a productive hitter, with a few little changes to his swing that they worked on during a weekend together this winter:
I felt like he needed to simplify some things with his stance and his setup, keeping his lefts underneath him a little bit more and letting his hands work in a little better position, staying inside the ball.
Seitzer has a totally different philosophy on hitting than Dwight Murphy or Cito Gaston. Murphy and Gaston wanted batters to be looking to pull the ball, figuring that's how you can get the most power. Seitzer wants the batters thinking hit the ball up the middle, thinking it gives the hitters an extra moment to see the pitch coming in, the bat doesn't have to start as soon.
Gibbons often complained last season that his hitters were too "pull happy." Seitzer says he doesn't care where the hits go, so long as his hitters reach base, but he insists that a middle-first approach will generate better production.
I really hate 'one size fits all' methods. Yes, thinking 'up the middle' is a good idea for many players, Goins is likely one of those, not that I think any change is going to suddenly turn him into great hitter. I'd be kind of interested to see what would have happened if Seitzer could have had the chance to work with Arencibia. Thinking up the middle may have given him that extra moment to think 'hey that ball is off the plate, maybe I shouldn't swing'. Though likely not.
On the opposite end, man I hope Seitzer is smart enough to leave Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Colby Rasmus alone. For them, the pull everything approach has worked great , and I wouldn't want them thinking anything else.
I don't think anything in baseball should be 'one size fits all'. Cito had John McDonald on the pull everything band wagon one year, and it worked..... for a few games, then opposing pitchers figure it out (maybe because Cito and Mac wouldn't stop talking to the press about it) and pitchers stopped throwing him things he could easily pull. Since he didn't have the power that Bautista and company have, Mac wasn't going to have success trying to pull every pitch.
I did think that Chad Mottola seemed to have a more balanced approach, he didn't seem to be forcing a style on any of the batters. but tried to help each with the approach they used. But then, we didn't win and he's on to Tampa Bay.
It is going to be an interesting year, I'm curious to see how bullheaded Seitzer will be with the Jays hitters. I'd like to think he is smart enough not to mess with the guys that are doing well, using the 'grip and rip' method. I can't imagine he'd want to screw that up.