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calpon

Lloyd McClendon

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I normally watch the Tigers and Braves, but occasional other teams when the two aforementioned are not playing. It seems during McClendon's reins as the hitting coach, the hitters often appear to not have any idea what they are doing or have no plan for the pitcher that day. There seems to be long stretches of this each season. With the Braves, they may have a game or 3 that they exhibit this behavior...chalk that up to good pitching a small slump... but seem to get it straightened out quickly. Am I giving the hitting coach too much credit for his influence? Are Tiger hitters over the decade or so just VERY streaky hitters (not often streaky good)? They just seem to go into team wide hitting slumps often even in the years they had good hitters.

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1 hour ago, calpon said:

I normally watch the Tigers and Braves, but occasional other teams when the two aforementioned are not playing. It seems during McClendon's reins as the hitting coach, the hitters often appear to not have any idea what they are doing or have no plan for the pitcher that day. There seems to be long stretches of this each season. With the Braves, they may have a game or 3 that they exhibit this behavior...chalk that up to good pitching a small slump... but seem to get it straightened out quickly. Am I giving the hitting coach too much credit for his influence? Are Tiger hitters over the decade or so just VERY streaky hitters (not often streaky good)? They just seem to go into team wide hitting slumps often even in the years they had good hitters.

The only good evidence about the quality of pitching/hitting coaches is whether people come to the tigers and get notably better or worse and whether they leave the Tigers and become much better or worse. And even then it mostly only applies to 2nd tier players. One thing that stands out with a lot of the best hitters is they understand their own approach very well and so are pretty much self-coached by the time they get to the ML - and Other than Nick and Miguel the hitters in this lineup are either very young, cast-offs or reclamation projects. It's not like individually they are doing surprisingly poorly.

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Generally speaking...over longer periods of time...bad players will perform badly no matter what coaching they receive

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11 minutes ago, Lei Pong said:

Generally speaking...over longer periods of time...bad players will perform badly no matter what coaching they receive

Yup. And I think the sad truth for most hitters is that the poor ones just don't have the nerve conduction speed the good ones have, and all the coaching and teaching and swing path fiddling in the world will have only the most marginal effect when a hitter is up against the hard wall of his response time limit. For most of these guys the only real choice is swing hard and K a lot with a chance at an occasional dinger, or shorten up and put a lot of balls in play weakly for GOs - they are not going to end up with much OPS either way.

The coaches are there for the guys that have the talent but for some reason haven't figured it out yet - like JD (despite the Houston coaches having failed JD). But the JDs  are the rare ones.

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The most you can ever hope for is a coach can identify and correct some flaw that is preventing a player from maximizing his natural talent / developed skill.

A coach cannot make somebody into something they are not.

That written, coach can screw someone up, and I'd suggest it is easier (and more likely, unfortunately) for a coach to screw a guy up than it is to get more out of a major leaguer, largely because by the time a player has reached the majors, 999 times out of 1000 the player already *is* maximizing his ability.  It is really tough for anyone to make the majors if they are leaving significant money on the table, so to say.

EDIT: shout out to G2 for the JD example.  JD is a 1 in 1000 guy in this regards.

My sense of it is at the MLB level, the hitting coach is largely about watching a bunch of video in an attempt to identify hitters' changes in approach over time -> giving tips and providing positive support than it is about 'giving an idea [to MLB batters on how to approach a given situation].'  Hitters know what they should be doing in a given situation almost all of the time.

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So, for me, the question is whether Lloyd is screwing guys up, or if they just aren't that good.

I suppose a second question is, to the extent Lloyd is instructing a hitting approach, is it based on his philosophies which he sold to the org, or, is it an approach the org asked him to teach.  There is a difference there.

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Obviously not an apples to apples comparison but as a golf coach/instructor I can eyeball when my students are doing something wrong in their swing and make sure they correct it before it becomes a habit.   I imagine that's really all MLB hitting coaches can do at this point.  These guys are the best of the best and have been playing baseball their whole lives, they probably have had a 100 different coaches tell them things to do.  

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8 minutes ago, Mr. Bigglesworth said:

So, for me, the question is whether Lloyd is screwing guys up, or if they just aren't that good.

I suppose a second question is, to the extent Lloyd is instructing a hitting approach, is it based on his philosophies which he sold to the org, or, is it an approach the org asked him to teach.  There is a difference there.

I think that the players are definitely overmatched for the Tigers right now, except for Nick and Miggy for the most part.

Also, as stated before, how much impact can a hitting coach have on the teams' hitters?  Other then working with them and watching video to make subtle adjustments and also having a team wide "game plan" on a day to day basis against the other teams pitcher (s), at the end of the day the players are who they are.

One thing about this year already is this, the Tigers were going to make a team effort to cut down on the strikeouts, and thus far, that has been a total (small sample size warning) disaster.  They have struck out a whopping 37 times in the first three games (and already 3 here in the first inning today).  

I am not a Lloyd fan as a hitting coach, but again, what has he had to work with?

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55 minutes ago, Lei Pong said:

Generally speaking...over longer periods of time...bad players will perform badly no matter what coaching they receive

This. Player profile matters way more than the hitting coach. 

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Oh man are we doing this bit again? The only hitting instructors who matter are the ones dealing with our minor leaguers. These guys are more or less fully formed. The prospects are the ones who might change from coaching.

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1 minute ago, kdog said:

Oh man are we doing this bit again?

Every year, baby!

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4 hours ago, calpon said:

 Are Tiger hitters over the decade or so just VERY streaky hitters (not often streaky good)? They just seem to go into team wide hitting slumps often even in the years they had good hitters.

I think that we have a tendency to attribute problems to a single cause that are in fact the product of many.

I don't think Lloyd is very good at what he does, but I believe that over the years the problems I've seen with our offense are  deeper rooted than what Lloyd might be held responsible for.

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I get most of the issues are talent related and that hitting coaches cannot have a drastic impact on the swings of the hitter other than spot a flaw once in a while. I believe the hitting coach is responsible for developing the game plan and a scouting report for the days/series pitchers and that is where I think McClendon may have some issues. Yes, there is an organizational philosophy for a general way the system is supposed to go about hitting, but is McClendon not responsible for implementing that on a day to day basis?

My questions was more about approach/philosophy. As we know, all the talk this spring was about cutting down on strikes, but what I am seeing is anything but trying to cut down on strikes. They are still having big swings when they have 2 strikes. They still seem like they are not adjusting to what the pitcher has been doing for several innings. If they have a scouting report on the pitcher, they are either unable to follow the report due to talent, not following the report or are given a report that is off. Yes, some of it talent, but my non-scouting eyes tell me that to a man, they are all lost at the plate.

I know this is early in the season, but my question is not really just about what we have seen this season is it? This has been typical of Tiger teams with McClendon as hitting coach though both of his stints in that position.

 

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43 minutes ago, DumberAndLeaner said:

I think that we have a tendency to attribute problems to a single cause that are in fact the product of many.

I don't think Lloyd is very good at what he does, but I believe that over the years the problems I've seen with our offense are  deeper rooted than what Lloyd might be held responsible for.

I agree here. It starts with having the right philosophy as a team about hitting and using new tools (analytics) appropriately. The they need to draft the right types of hitters and not just swingers with non-game power. Then they need to be able to develop that talent properly and finally be able to access what the opposing team is going to try to do and give the hitter a better chance to succeed. From what I have observed (granted I am no scout and why I posted this thread), they have failed on all counts. (even when they have traded for a promising prospect, they seem to stagnate once in the Tigers system)

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10 minutes ago, calpon said:

I believe the hitting coach is responsible for developing the game plan

For most guys it probably still comes down mostly to talent level. You can give a hitter info on what a pitcher's tendencies are, and tell him to be prepared for how the defense will shift on him, etc., but the bottom line is that if a hitter is fighting for his life just to stand in against MLB pitching, and if he can't detect a slider vs a fast ball against the guy he is facing, and if he can't catch up to the jump on the 4 seamer that day,  there just may not be very much he can actually execute differently with any success.

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7 minutes ago, calpon said:

 

My questions was more about approach/philosophy. As we know, all the talk this spring was about cutting down on strikes, but what I am seeing is anything but trying to cut down on strikes. They are still having big swings when they have 2 strikes. They still seem like they are not adjusting to what the pitcher has been doing for several innings.

 

I think you have to take a couple steps back and look at the big picture.  Organizational priorities are not on winning ballgames at present. They are on assembling a roster that is cheap and controllable.

Quality of game play will (hopefully) come at a later date.

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no idea who Seattle’s hitting coach is, but they should hire him. 34 runs in 4 games for the Ms. not sure why Lloyd does not tell them to score runs like that.

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49 minutes ago, DumberAndLeaner said:

With an owner willing to dole out $400 million  contracts,  I think Brad will do just fine.

Maybe, maybe not. They were glad to get out of Oakland today after losing three of four. Rays take three of four from Houston. It ain’t all about the money. How many years have Pujols and Trout been together? 

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The Fewer Strikeouts Project is not, so far, an unqualified success.

Christin Stewart, 8 strikeouts in 13 at-bats.

Mikie Mahtook, 7 strikeouts in 13 at-bats.

Jeimer Candelario, 8 strikeouts in 18 at-bats.

Nick Castellanos, 6 strikeouts in 17 at-bats.

 

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21 hours ago, Mr. Bigglesworth said:

So, for me, the question is whether Lloyd is screwing guys up, or if they just aren't that good.

I suppose a second question is, to the extent Lloyd is instructing a hitting approach, is it based on his philosophies which he sold to the org, or, is it an approach the org asked him to teach.  There is a difference there.

It's more important to the younger players. Established players go into slumps, it's part of the game. And one thing that prolongs these slumps is several people all giving the player different advice. This Tiger team needs all the coaching it can get.

 

 

 

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I say, let's try this theory of Legendary Lloyd not being a good hitting coach.  Fire him and try a new guy and see if the team's hitting improves.   I've never been a fan of him as a hitting coach.  And I do agree that the Tiger hitters look extremely unprepared when they come to the plate.  There doesn't seem to be any consistency in what they are doing and there is absolutely no team hitting philosophy that is apparent.

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Teams that aren't hitting well don't look like they have an approach, and when they are hitting well they look like they have a great approach.

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