At the end of this past season the Kansas City Royals dismissed their hitting coach of four years, Kevin Seitzer citing a desire to get more power from their hitters. Seitzer had been preaching a gap-to-gap approach to take advantage of the spacious alleys at Kauffman Stadium, but although the hitters managed to do that very well the run production was very poor. In particular in the early part of the season the Royals had trouble stringing enough hits together for a big inning.
The Royals today announced the replacement for Seitzer, promoting Jack Maloof from the minor league system. They also took an unprecedented, for the Royals, step of appointing Andre David as Maloof’s assistant. David is also from the minor league system and both he and Maloof have worked with many of the Royals current hitters at some point in the past. Maloof has previously been the hitting coach for the then Florida Marlins from 1999-2001 and saw the Marlins’ hitters steadily increase run production. It may be a coincidence, but it was just two years after his departure that the Marlins won the World Series.
The Royals are also if not quite being innovative then at least following a relatively new trend in appointing an assistant hitting coach. Currently only six other teams do so and four of them were in the playoffs this year, including both pennant winners. The Royals already have a similar set up with the pitching staff and although that has not paid dividends for the starters yet it certainly has for the bullpen and that is the kind of success the Royals are angling to emulate.