Will a new hitting coach and a new hitting “game plan” change the outlook with the Miami Marlins this coming season?
It’s out with the old and in with a new mantra, a new scheme and what ultimately means a new way of thinking for the Marlins who are in camp as Spring Training fully gets underway on Monday inside the team’s facility at Roger Dean Stadium.
Eric Duncan will be the man charged with making that happen as he has been named the team’s new hitting coach. James Rowson, who was hired from the Minnesota Twins to serve as Don Mattingly’s bench coach, will also help with hitting and helping the roster become more patient at the plate and hopefully knock in a few more runs than in 2019.
The Marlins were one of the worst hitting teams in the Majors last season with a combined .241 average and only 146 home runs, which was last in the league.
"“The philosophy, in terms of what we’re trying to do and what we’re trying to build and the direction we’re trying to go — we want to put ourselves in position that we’re going to do damage,” Duncan said via MLB.com."
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There is a lot riding on this season, especially with the changes this organization has made to improve the offensive output by the starting lineup. Duncan will try to do what hitting coaches like Barry Bonds, Mike Pagliarulo, and Jeff Livesey could not do before him – make the Marlins an offensive threat. Rowson comes over from the Twins where he served as hitting coach for a lineup that finished second in MLB in home runs hit.
It’s a bigger deal than some fans might think. Having his knowledge onboard may be worth a few more victories in 2020.
While the long ball brings people to the ballpark, learning to be a better hitting team is what will help Miami rise out of the bottom of the National League East.
"“Dunc has been a guy you could tell last year, he’s really knowledgeable,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “He’s really good with the players. He’s up to speed with all of the analytics and how it works and what it’s showing.”"
Miami’s batting order should look different with as many as five new starters potentially stepping into the batter’s box. There is strength in the middle of the lineup with Jesus Aguilar and Corey Dickerson. There are speed and power with Jonathan Villar. There is developing power in Jorge Alfaro and Brian Anderson.
It’s a recipe that could mean 15-20 more wins this coming season. Marlins fans could certainly get behind that kind of scenario. So could management, especially after spending more money this offseason than the previous two years.