…WITH TWO BATTING COACHES!!!
When the Rays brought in Jamie Nelson to serve as an assistant to relatively long-time current batting coach Derek Shelton Rays Manager Joe Maddon had this to say:
“I think it’s a good trend. We’re doing it. A lot of other teams will continue to do so,” Maddon said. “It has nothing to do with the perception of our hitting last year. It has nothing to do with that. We felt it was the right thing to do moving forward and we feel good about it. This is not denigrating Shelty in any way shape or form. It’s just our attempt to get better overall.”
These sorts of things work best when there is a clear delineation of what each man’s role is with the batters. Nelson seems to be more on the scouting and gofer side according to that article, though the Rays tight-lipped front office is unlikely to delve into further specifics.
The reason for bringing this up is that the Rays had 14 hits last night. That may not sound like a lot, but they had only put up that many 46 times from 2009 – 2012, or around 11 times a year. Maybe the Rays should hire a couple more batting coaches or assistants with the goal to look like the Washington (Redacteds) staff by the end of the year.
What’s really exciting is when you skim past the surface and realize that of the 10 games the Rays had 14 or more hits last year five of them essentially came in the last month. On August 29th and September 2nd, 19th, 21st, and 22nd the Rays pounded out 14 or more hits and put up a 5-0 record while averaging 10.6 runs per game. Facing some lousy pitching staffs had something to do with that, but this now makes six of their last 30 or so games where the Rays had at least 14 hits.
There’s a lot of noise involved here, but this is a good sign for the future of the Rays offense and the big takeaway is that maybe it’s time to talk about extending Derek Shelton and/or Jamie Nelson or at the very least perhaps doubling the number of batting coaches the Rays employ to four.