Slaught out as hitting coach

Don Slaught today resigned as hitting coach citing family concerns. Judging hitting coaches seems to be particularly difficult. You can look at statistics, but it is hard to know how the coach actually impacts it.

In the Tigers case, the bulk of the players performed similar to their career marks. They added some home run power, with Brandon Inge, Craig Monroe, and Marcus Thames all hitting career highs in homers. At the same time, the Tigers showed an incredible propensity for striking out finishing 2nd in the American League.

Much was made about the team’s inability to take a walk, but their 2006 isolated patience numbers (OBP-BA) were in line with career norms for the bulk of the players. That deficiency seemed to be more a problem with the players than the coaching.

I had 2 main issues with Slaught. The first was the extended slumps that Tigers hitters seemed to experience. Magglio Ordonez went months without homers. Curtis Granderson slumped dramatically for 2 months. Placido Polanco never got on track. And of course Chris Shelton never recovered after an incrdible 2 weeks. He didn’t seem to have much luck in getting them to shake out of it.

The other issue was that too often very average pitchers looked awesome against Detroit. Since Slaught was in charge of preparing the hitters each night, part of that responsibility falls on him.

As for who the next pitching coach may be, I have no idea. I’d like to see Leon Durham promoted from AAA. He’s had quite a bit of success with Thames, Granderson, and Shelton in the past and he was even able to fix Carlos Pena for awhile. As for what I think will happen, I wouldn’t be surprised if Lloyd Mclendon was moved from his bullpen coach duties and given a shot.

In other news, Andy Van Slyke re-upped and will resume first base, outfield, and baserunning coach duties.

5 Comments

  1. Pingback: Mack Avenue Tigers: A Detroit Tigers Blog » Batting coach resigns

  2. Steve

    November 3, 2006 at 8:40 pm

    I guess this is a coaching position that goes unnoticed most of the time. It would be interesting to have some numbers on entering hitting coaches and what they have done in the past. You would need to look at the same guy over a few years or what his team to team results were. It seems to me that its a good balance of mechanic teaching and mental recovery for the player.

    Who would be the right for this? Now that the Tigers are back on the map and with all the people and connections Leyland has who is out there for us. If its in house great but lets get a guy that can get it done. This is a good topic to discuss as he either need better batting or better the batting that we have. What if the right guy could add 20-30 points to everyones average, get a few more walks and take some pitches to wear out a pitcher, wouldnt that be like adding a better bat? now its spread out over the whole line up and not just one guy. Just a thought.
    I am sure there are plenty of stat guys that read here who could lend a hand.

    Steve

  3. Joey C.

    November 4, 2006 at 11:36 am

    Thank you Don Slaught! I don’t know if it was his fault or not, but this team never seemed to make adjustments. I’m sure some guys just won’t learn, but I’m happy to know we’ll have a new coach trying to get them to next year.

  4. Stephen

    November 4, 2006 at 1:05 pm

    No Durham! I hate to dwell on someone’s past but he made the key error in the 1984 playoffs for the Cubs and was out of the majors at 32 with drug/alcohol problems. and from the interviews i’ve seen with him he doesn’t seem, well, that bright. and his career oba of .356 only 18 pts higher than Slaught. He just isn’t high enough caliber for a team hoping to contend for the title.

  5. Jojo SunDevil

    November 6, 2006 at 10:57 am

    Yea..I think I saw this one coming. Don Slaught doesn’t really know how to work counts. The Tigers improved in making contact with the ball, and this is really important, because this was how the Tigers were able to manufacture runs. But when we hit that rough patch and were like 16-35, our hitting was exposed in that we couldn’t walk and we struck out a ton. I think the Tigs were number one in strike outs.

    As for the new htting coach, no idea.

    Anyone but Pete Incaviglia.