As many of us probably know by now, the Rangers have hired Dave Magadan as the new hitting coach. Magadan is coming over from Boston, where he coached for 5 seasons. I just wanted to take some time to offer up my welcome and shed some light on why I think this is a great hire for the club.
The first thing that was said about Magadan was that he has a good ability to work with rookies and veterans alike, with emphasis on his ability to keep the veterans on a track without brow-beating them into change. I appreciate this… a lot, actually. If he can help guide them through the ups and downs of an offensive season and keep them actively learning and adjusting in small but effective doses, the offense will stay healthy and productive in 2013.
He also likes working counts and utilizing small ball. That right there sells me on Magadan’s hiring. Hopefully, this philosophy will translate into more opportunities being recognized and taken when RISP scenarios come up. RISP was killer for the Rangers in the last 6 weeks of the season, so a shift back to the fundamentals of working an at bat will help benefit the offense and just maybe, there will be a return to the small ball that defined the Rangers of 2011.
The ability to communicate with veterans bodes well for the relationship he will have with Ian Kinsler. He won’t reconstruct Kinsler, but I get the impression that he has a way to reach Kinsler and reduce the pop ups that plagued Kinsler during 2012. That relationship will be key, especially if Washington is still sold on keeping Kinsler as the lead-off man. Another intriguing relationship will be the one between Magadan and Leonys Martin. Magadan helped mold Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, potential trade target by the way, into a solid hitter. Martin and Ellsbury have a lot of similarities, so there’s another positive in reconstructing this offense for the future as prospects start to come up.
I think Coolbaugh did a fine job as hitting coach, but I also believe that not enough was done to nip fixable problems and bad habits in the bud in 2012. As I’ve stated before, I simply feel that the benefit of the doubt was pushed a little to far with some hitters. Magadan, if all reports hold true, will be able to balance the benefit of the doubt with the ability to step in and take care of the little things that could escalate if left unattended.