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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Angels Fire Mickey Hatcher

Per Bill Plunkett. Kind of amazing, really, but honestly too little, too late, in some wise. As others have observed, if Dipoto's adherence to the received wisdom of OBP is true, why did the team long-term Aybar and Kendrick, both guys notoriously dependent on batting average to get on base? I'm not entirely convinced that this is anything other than a symbolic firing. Hatcher, I have never been convinced, is himself sufficient if one is going to clean house; the whole rotten structure has to go. That means, at the very least, getting a buyoff on the end of RISP2 hitting madness as the primary offensive tenet. This, I think, is really a warning shot for the Angels, for Mike Scioscia, and even for Jerry Dipoto. While this is in some ways a welcome recognition that the team is scuffling, it does nothing to fix the offense.

Update: Bill Shaikin mentions the significant intelligence that the move was announced by Dipoto, not Scioscia. Definitely a warning shot to Scioscia. Mike DiGiovanna thinks this was all Arte's doing.

Update 2: Angels.com story.

"We think the absolute world of Mickey as a person and thank him for all of his contributions to this organization," Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a statement.

"Sometimes in the sports world a point is reached where perhaps a new voice is needed in order to attain the desired goals and objectives. Unfortunately, we feel this is one of those times. Offensively, we have underachieved, and everyone shares in the responsibility of what has transpired thus far."

The new hitting coach will be Jim Eppard, previously AAA Salt Lake's hitting coach.

OCR story.

Update 3: Mark Saxon analysis at ESPN/LA:

Under former GMs Bill Stoneman or Tony Reagins, Tuesday's move seems unlikely, certainly in May. But Dipoto has brought in his own people and has his own vision for this team, one which doesn't always align with the way Scioscia and Hatcher viewed things. He vowed back in November to increase the Angels' emphasis on on-base percentage. Scioscia and Hatcher continued to preach patience only as a means to an end -- getting a good pitch to hit -- not as an end in itself -- a walk.

Of course, the man in the middle of all this is Pujols, who so far has a cost-to-home run ratio of 240 million-to-one. Mix in one struggling superstar, one new and powerful GM and you get a manager with less ability to stand up for his own guys.

Of course, when you bring in guys like Pujols who are arguably approaching the end of their careers — with warning signs, to boot — it makes you question the general manager, too.

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Angels run scoring has been anemic for years. Buck has to stop somewhere.

Apart from 2002/2009 and precious few other years, this has been a lacklustre team in terms of hitting, hitting with RISP, slugging and, most importantly of all, OBP. Will it change anything? Hard to say. Scoscia has given OBP short shrift for years, like you said befre.

The only silver linings I see in all this is that no other hitting coach could possibly do worse. I wouldn't be surprised if the firing came from Arte. He has a major investment in Pujols to protect. And he is no doubt getting fed up with coughing up small fortunes to get players that are not producing.
I really wish Arte would take a gander at BPro, FanGraphs, or any of a half-dozen sabermetrically-minded publications out there. Pujols was an enormous risk at his stated age. (I only say that as a sop to those who disbelieve his birth certificate; yes, there are Pujols birthers out there, and many of them are Cubs fans [coff, Helen, coff].) This was a tremendously risky signing, and while I don't think the guy Pujols has been since April is a permanent feature of his game, it is an expanding one.

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