The Phillies actually did it. After months of the fans begging, and I mean BEGGING, the Phillies organization officially woke up and fired hitting coach John Mallee. Not only did they send Mallee packing, but they went and hired the ultimate replacement: 2008 World Series champion and hitting guru Charlie Manuel.
John Mallee was freaking terrible. He failed as a hitting coach in almost every possible aspect. After the front office splurged around half a billion dollars this offseason, almost all exclusively on offense, to say our bats were underperforming is a massive understatement. The 2019 Phillies rank 23rd in homeruns, 24th in batting average, 23rd in slugging percentage, 22nd in both OPS and total hits, and obviously sit at a depressing 4th place in the NL East (2 games back in the Wild Card race). Offensive juggernauts like Realmuto, Segura, and Hoskins all seemingly regressed, while former Phillies like Carlos Santana have exploded since leaving the organization (.173 increase in OPS).
Game-winning grand slam yesterday. Walk-off home run today.
Carlos Santana is on 🔥 pic.twitter.com/cCULLbJFxD
— ESPN (@espn) August 13, 2019
John Mallee was infamous for his obsession with “launch angle”, which is probably the main reason Gabe Kapler stood by him for so long. Mallee loved to play the numbers game, using a calculator to tell players how to hit, rather than specifically working with each individual talent. One of the biggest examples of a Mallee failure is Rhys Hoskins, I talk in detail about how much of a let down Hoskins has been in 2019 in my article: “Rhys Hoskins has been a Massive Disappointment”, make sure to go check it out.
Charlie Manuel is one of the greatest baseball minds the city of Philadelphia has ever seen, specifically when it comes to hitting. All-time Philly greats like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins all exceleed under his leadership and guidance. Before Charlie arrived in Philadelphia, he saw stunning success as a hitting coach in Cleveland, directly overseeing the success of guys like Jim Thome, Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez, and Carlos Baerga. Thome (who ranks 8th all time in HRs) specifically credited Manuel’s teachings as being “vital” to his development as a hitter.
This is a step in the right direction for a baseball organization that has been trending the wrong way the last two seasons. With Charlie back on the staff we can all expect a little more “old school baseball mind” to be present. Analytics have a place in today’s game that’s for sure, but the overuse and obsession surrounding them have led to an offense that looks lightyears behind other MLB teams. Hopefully with the addition of a *real* hitting coach, we can start seeing some offense again. As the great Charlie once said himself, “It’s hittin’ season”.
Charlie Manuel is the Phillies new hitting coach. Loved in Philly, knows hitting like almost no one else, could be a spark they need.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) August 13, 2019
-David Esser via Philly Sports Insider