Friday, April 16, 2010

So let's put the spotlight on Sean Berry

Hitting coach Sean Berry has been in his current position since July 12, 2006, taking over on a full-time basis beginning with the 2007 season. Let's see how these last three years have gone. Below is a table with the three slash lines, and following each stat is the team's rank, out of 16 NL teams.

2007.260 (12th).330 (10th).412 (10th).742 (10th)91
2008.263 (6th).323 (11th).415 (7th).738 (10th)94
2009.260 (8th).319 (13th).400 (11th).719 (12th)90

Okay, so a few things here. Since Berry took over full-time, the Astros have not been in the Top 5 in a single slash line category. Now, to be fair, it's not like the Astros were the '27 Yankees in the years preceding his arrival (except for 2004, when the Astros were 7th/6th/6th/6th - but that has a lot to do with Kent, Beltran, Bagwell, and Berkman in his 28-year old season).

That said, this is pretty bad. And while the Astros will not likely be making any personnel moves anytime soon, We cannot lose sight of the fact that the Astros have been 10th, 11th, and 13th in the National League in on-base percentage, and their OPS+ has been on the wrong side of 100 in each of these years. With THAT said, it's debatable how much impact a hitting coach actually has. He can break down film and pitchers with the hitters all day, and when it comes gametime, Hunter Pence can forget all of it and chase breaking balls down and out of the zone. But still...


Ryan Sides said...

Hitting coach* not pitching coach


(And for the record, the fact that more people are not bringing this up is strange. After all of the "Rudy Jaramillo is a hitting genius" talk, I guess we'll find out for real how much difference that position can actually make.)

The Constable. said...

Dah. Thanks.

Peanut said...

It's not the hitting coach's job to turn bad hitters into good ones. Major leaguers, by and large, are who they are. They're not suddenly going to develop great plate discipline or power because of some wizard hitting coach. The Astros simply haven't had good hitters the past few seasons, and Berry's not to blame for that. That's on ownership and management.

The players seem to have enormous respect for Berry, so I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. Gary Gaetti was the scapegoat for a poorly constructed offense in 2006--ask any Astro if that was a justified firing--and I sure as hell hope Berry doesn't meet the same fate.

The Constable. said...

@Peanut - Excellent viewpoint.