When a team is going great, and the offense is on a role, the hitting coach isnt mentioned too much, because as we all know, the players are the one doing the hitting.
But, when the team is not hitting and the team is not going well, the hitting coach, an easily forgotten and not too cared about person day to day, is easily fired by plenty of fans.
The Mets at 23-20 after their win over Pittsburgh on Tuesday night has been one of the pleasant surprises of the majors this season and I think alot of credit should be give to Mets hitting coach Dave Hudgens.
After leading the NL East in runs scored, helping Jose Reyes win the Mets first ever batting title, having the team finish in the top three in the NL in Hits, triples, Sac Flies, Walks, OBP, batting average and improve an overall approach to hitting that lacked under Howard Johnson, Dave Hudgens had a pretty good first year as hitting coach.
Coming into this season, he has picked up right where he left off. Even though the loss of Reyes has taken away from the extra base hits (mainly triples) and the stolen base total, the team continues to be a leader in the NL in Hits, the NL lead in doubles and top five in walks, strikeouts, batting average, and OBP.
Overall, the numbers are solid and that is always a good barometer of how a coach is performing, it doesnt tell the whole story.
Hudgens has instilled a patience, a work ethic and just a solid way of thinking for the Mets hitters the past two seasons that i great to see after the Hojo/Citi Field years.
The change in philosophy that has led to more patient approaches to at bats and working pitch counts has been great to see the past two seasons. The numbers have bared out that success considering on paper the Mets the past two seasons compared to other teams in the National League wouldn’t be considered a potent offensive team.
The few things that have not worked in his favor, the lack of production from Ike Davis in 2012 and his no fix of Jason Bay, who he worked with in Pittsburgh are certainly valid, negative points for Hudgens, but the positives in my opinion outweigh the negatives.
I think the Mets have found a real gem in Hudgens and if the success of last season and the early part of this season continue, then I would be surprised if his name isn’t mentioned at least a little bit for potential Managerial openings this off-season.
The Mets should make a push to keep Hudgens around as long as possible and hope that he continues the great work he has done so far.
Like I said, when a team is going great on offense, the players normally get all the credit, but this time, I hope Hudgens gets his due as well.