Marlins Coaching Staff Big Reason for Team on The Rise
The Marlins definitely showed improvement in 2014 and there were many bright spots that contributed to such success. From Giancarlo Stanton’s monster season to the little things like the vast improvement of Adeiny Hechavarria.
Miami had many things to be excited about last year, but there is one thing that everyone overlooks.
The Miami Marlins coaching staff.
Manager Mike Redmond has proven to be a rather successful manager. Redmond came to the team in 2013, the off-season the Marlins traded all their stars away in multiple trades. It was not easy for Redmond as he did all he possibly could with the team he was given. The team would go through a 100 loss season in which there was no excitement surrounded around the team.
The two things people would go the ballpark for were to see Giancarlo Stanton hit monster home-runs, and to see the young pitcher from Cuba Jose Fernandez, make his mark in his rookie season. Other than that, there wasn’t much to see out of a young rebuilding non-proven talent team.
The next season, with the young players a year older, many started to see these youngsters start to prove their ability around baseball. With players like Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, and Adeiny Hechavarria, the team seemed to be heading in the right direction. In 2014, the Marlins also acquired free agents Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Garrett Jones, and Rafael Furcal. The team improved by 15 wins that year and was in wild card contention for most of the season. Players also made it known publicly that they loved playing for Redmond and he was not only a good coach but a good person.
Pitching Coach Chuck Hernandez, who has been with team since Redmond was brought in 2013, was also a great help to what is widely known as the team’s best talent and depth. The Marlins rotation and bullpen is filled with young intriguing talent that can turn out to be very successful if taught well. The team has also helped in that regard by adding a couple of veteran presence arms in the pen. Hernandez seems to be doing a great job as his pitchers have been recognized by the baseball world.
Hernandez also appears to have a great relationship with his pitchers, something that former pitching coach Randy St. Clair was rumored not to have. The bullpen also did very well last year posting a 3.33 combined ERA which was 7th in the NL. They were also third in the NL in bullpen wins with 30, second in strikeouts with 519, and 3rd in least home-runs allowed. Mike Dunn led the bullpen with 10 wins, Bryan Morris posted a 0.66 ERA in 39 games, and A.J. Ramos also provided great relief going 7-0 with a 2.11 ERA. Look for another strong season from all the pitchers on this Marlins ball club.
Third Base Coach Brett Butler is one of the newest additions as he was brought in just this past year. He replaced Joe Espada who was with the organization since 2006. Espada was the Marlins third base coach before the team tried to reassign him to the minors to gain experience as a manager, however he opted to take a position within the Yankees as a major league scout. Espada was just hired yesterday as the new Yankees infield coach.
Butler was brought in to improve two things that he did very well as a player in the big leagues, bunting and base-running. These two aspects of the game were a problem in the Marlins system for a few years and the Marlins brought Butler in to change that. There were a couple of Marlin players that had speed but wouldn’t use the tool of bunting to achieve a base hit. Butler was also big on advancing bases, going first to third, and having cognizance on the base paths. If you have watched enough Marlins games this past season, you would know that improvement on those two things were made and were key to the success the team had.
What a sight it was to see Butler and Hechavarria smile at each other after a perfect bunt hit down the line, or Butler smiling at Yelich after reading a bloop base hit well off the bat, giving him the advantage to go from first to third. Why the smiles? Butler and the players have worked on it so much that it’s a great feeling to see it successfully transfer to games.
Now with Dee Gordon joining the team, who led the MLB last year with 64 stolen bases, I am sure Brett Butler is eager to start working with him.
First base and infield coach Perry Hill can be regarded as one of the best infield instructors in the MLB right now.
When Luis Castillo was with the team in 2002, he won gold glove and said “I wouldn’t have won it without him,” talking about Hill. Castillo would go on to win three consecutive gold gloves. Castillo achieved half of the six gold gloves earned between Derek Lee, Orlando Cabrera, and Mike Lowell, all players of Hill.
In 2011, Marlins Manager Edwin Rodriguez said “Every Time Perry Hill takes charge, we improve the defense. It’s a fact, everywhere he goes.”
The Marlins were 5th in the NL for least errors committed as well as highest fielding percentage. Greg Dobbs, who was with the Marlins for several years had this to say about Hill-
“A lot of people know how to teach the game. Few know how to teach the game well. He’s the master of teaching the absolute fundamentals of baseball.” -Greg Dobbs
Hitting Coach Frank Menechino, who joined the team in 2014, improved the Marlins offense in a big way this past year. Menechino was known as one of the reasons for the surprise of Casey McGehee. McGehee won the NL comeback player of the year award after hitting .287 and driving in 76 runs.
Other notable offensive improvements were Giancarlo Stanton, who hit 37 bombs while driving in 105 RBI’s. Marcell Ozuna hit 25 home runs and brought in 85 runs. Menechino changed Ozuna’s swing a bit as something in his bat path in 2013 would cause him to be late on some balls. Ozuna was 5th among NL outfielders offensively and is potentially on the way to becoming a star. The most improved player over the course of a year had to be Adeiny Hechavarria as he boosted his average 49 points and is in talks with the Marlins for a contract extension.
The team also is in good hands with Bench Coach Rob Leary, Bullpen Coach Reid Cornelius, and Bullpen Coordinator Jeff Urgelles.
The Marlins also introduced last year Pat Shine, who serves as the Marlins replay coach. Shine is in the clubhouse during games and reviews replays and calls the dugout to give his opinion on if the team should use its challenge. Out of 26 challenges the Marlins got 18 overturned which indeed dignifies the good job by Shine. This Marlins staff seems to be staying put for a while.