Post originally appeared on Wildfire Radio Sports
August 13, 2019
Image: Yahoo! Sports
John Mallee is out, Charlie Manuel is in as the Phillies hitting coach
A change was necessary. There were too many strong hitters not producing in the lineup. Obviously, the Phillies have other problems with things like starting pitching, bullpen arms, injuries, questionable management decisions and more, but one of the biggest problems is the inconsistent hitting. With such a heavy focus on analytics from Gabe Kapler and Matt Klentak, it only made sense that the hitting was the same right? Unfortunately, that wasn’t panning out for the Phils. Sluggers like Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins haven’t had their expected numbers. JT Realmuto is underperforming at the plate, and any player who started hot in a Phillies uniform has cooled significantly. One thing in common for those players? Having John Mallee as a hitting coach. Today, the Phils made a change by firing Mallee and replacing him with former manager, Charlie Manuel.
Where did this decision come from?
The majority of Phillies fans have been calling for Mallee’s job since Carlos Santana made the All-Star team and homerun derby. Last year with the Phillies, Santana finished the season with an average of .229, 24 home runs, and 86 RBIs. Today, with about 40 games left in the season, he is hitting .286 with 26 home runs, and 71 RBIs. Not to mention, he walked off last night against the Red Sox.
Other players have taken steps forward and up after disappointing with the Phillies like JP Crawford.
With the analytics guys leading the way, the emphasis is on seeing a lot of pitches and having good at-bats. That’s led to career highs in strikeouts instead of anything more positive. I would have to imagine that this move came from the top – John Middleton. Klentak and Kapler wouldn’t move a guy that believes and trusts the analytics like they do, especially to replace him with Charlie Manuel, who is the exact opposite. It’s trading the new school for the old school.
Some may say it’s too late for this change to salvage the Phillies season. That may be true, however, in the long run, this is better. Making this move now allows the current players to get back on track. Rhys Hoskins is currently in a terrible slump. Charlie Manuel could provide a spark. He could get Bryce Harper’s numbers trending upward where they should be. Additionally, this prevents younger guys like Adam Haseley, Alec Bohm, eventually Bryson Stott, and others from faltering at the plate like the rest of the team has done.
Once Mallee got his hands and tactics to the players, the bats went cold. Jay Bruce came into the organization hot and cooled off. Brad Miller did the same. Corey Dickerson also came in hitting well, and now hopefully he can continue with the help of Charlie Manuel. Additionally, it could help guys like Maikel Franco, Nick Williams, and Roman Quinn back on track at the plate, making them more consistent hitters.
Charlie Manuel and Gabe Kapler
This dynamic will be the most interesting piece of this move to watch. In 2013, Kapler tweeted that the Phillies needed to move on from Manuel.
Time for Phillies to do the right thing for the future of the organization and pull the trigger. Sad for fans, sadder for team, but time.639:34 PM – Jul 26, 2013Twitter Ads info and privacy102 people are talking about this
Now, he’s Charlie Manuel’s boss. It’s old school vs new school. Charlie Manuel delivered a World Series to the city of Philadelphia and produced multiple MVPs among other accolades. Manuel is absolutely adored by the city. Kapler on the other hand? Not so much.
At this point in the season, standing in 4th place and a few games out of the wild card race, Kapler’s job might be contingent on Charlie Manuel turning the bats around and getting into the playoffs.