The Cubs offseason coaching overhaul became even more officially official when the Washington Nationals finally announced that former Cubs Bench Coach Dave Martinez would be their new manager in 2018.
Joe Maddon and the front office will now have yet another position to fill – and important one, at that – but at least they’ve gotten off to a good start elsewhere.
For example, we already thought their new hitting coach, Chili Davis, seemed like a good fit for this club after we got to know him, but this interview of his hitting philosophy from last year really gets me excited.
Check it out:
Dude – Listening to this guy talk about hitting is something else.
- Individualized approaches? Check.
- Open-mindedness? Check.
- Whole-game approach? Check.
- Selective-aggressiveness? Check.
His not-one-size-fits-all mentality especially stood out to me, given how different the Cubs presumed starters could be in 2018. For example, a right-handed, high-contact bat like Albert Almora will probably take a much different approach to an at-bat/game than a left-handed slugging-type like Kyle Schwarber (for just one example). Davis seems like he not only know that, but really appreciates the differences.
And how about his mentality on that first-at bat and the indirect value it provides:
“For me, my first at-bat in a ball game … was more like a recon at-bat, you know, pure recognition. I went up there with a plan, based on the pitcher I’m facing, looking in an area for the fastball at a certain height – and I was attacking that area.
And if the guy made the mistake of pitching to me in that area, then I’m firing from pitch one to the last pitch in the at-bat … If he didn’t pitch to that area … then he kinda gives me an idea of what he’s trying to do. I’m not swinging outside of my zone, but I’m reading and learning from everything.”
Yeah, that’s a hitting coach right there.
If Davis can get the Cubs hitters to buy into this approach, you might expect to see what seem like frustrating at-bats early on and particularly great ones later. In a weird way, that reminds me a lot of Joe Maddon’s approach to managing a team for the second half of the year and this shared respect for the long-game makes them seem like a perfect match.
In terms of excitement over a hitting coach, I’m there on Davis. Can’t wait to see his work pay off next season. Hopefully. Probably. Maybe.