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HoJo Heads Group of Weak Coaches

By Mike Silva ~ May 17th, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Mets.

I have to admit I really don’t know how much impact a hitting coach really has. Regardless, I find it disturbing that Carlos Beltran is pointing out mechanical flaws in the swings of David Wright and Jeff Francoeur sitting from his couch at home instead of the man on the bench that is getting paid to perform such a task.

No, I am not blaming Howard Johnson for all the Mets hitting woes. Is it his fault that Jason Bay has one homer, Jose Reyes is doing his best Rey Ordonez impression, and Jeff Francoeur has regressed to his Atlanta days? It’s also not his fault the Mets employ a bench with few guys that appear to have the game passed them by. The biggest indictment for me is not just that weekend story about Beltran playing hitting coach, but what we see out of David Wright.

Keith Hernandez was on with Evan Roberts and Joe Benigno last week and said David (Wright) is a worse hitter now than two years ago. The novice hitting coach in me sees a player with a loopy swing that constantly is behind. He misses more hittable pitches this year than at any other point in his career. It appears that a majority of the team does. Hernandez sees it, I see it, you see it, but does the man paid to work with Wright see it? The numbers are hiding a player that has serious mechanical flaws.

Howard Johnson is a nice guy and did a nice job as the third basemen in the eighties. So far I don’t see anything that tells me he is the next Bill Robinson, Walt Hriniak, or Rudy Jaramillo. Maybe the impact of those hitting coaches is overrated, but at least they have (or had) some sort of resume to speak of. ? Don’t forget, HoJo was a failed manager in the system and I believe it’s his relationship with David that has helped him stick around. That, and the fact he played with the 86’ team. Funny how the Mets seemed to be a better offensive team under Rick Down. Coincidence?

HoJo is not alone. I have been thoroughly unimpressed with the work of Dan Warthen as well. Name me one pitcher that has progressed under his tutelage? I guess Mike Pelfrey, but the kid still went to see a sports psychologist this winter so who knows if it was more self help, or Warthen, that did the trick. John Maine and Oliver Perez were actually well above league average pitchers under Rick Peterson. With Warthen they look like hurlers who could be out of baseball sooner rather than later. It also seems every Mets pitcher has seen their velocity decrease. I haven’t even gotten into the amount of walks by the staff. Some thought Peterson was over the top, but he had a pitching philosophy what is Warthen’s?

Then there is Razor Shines who’s only value is he is Jerry Manuel’s buddy. Razor was a lousy third base coach and now he stands at first apparently doing very little. We don’t know much about Dave Jauss and Chip Hale except that Manuel enjoys talking basketball with Jauss. Hale seems to be the strong suit of the group as I believe he has done a nice job at third base. The Mets have a history of lousy third base coaches (Chuck Hiller, Sam Perlozzo, Shines) so at least this is something positive.

We know the issues the manager has. He doesn’t manage his bullpen well and tinkers with the lineup too much. As dubious as Manuel is on the bench it appears his staff is equally as incapable. Do we really believe there is teaching going on? Do you feel the Mets are any better fundamentally than last season? Compare how teams like the Phillies, Yankees, and Cardinals play to the Mets and there is your answer.

A team that has a thin margin of error on the field needs exceptional teaching and coaching off it. Yes, these are big leaguers, but even the most polished player needs to turn to a coach for counsel. Do you think any of these guys have faith in some of the names I mentioned above? The problems with this team are not just the manager, but the group of coaches that work for him. It may actually be the weakest position on the team.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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4 Responses to HoJo Heads Group of Weak Coaches

  1. Frankie


    I agree with all of your comments, but what it seems you are asking for is a complete overhaul of coaches and also the manager. I am all for it , but I just dop not see the Mets doing that.

    I personally think although many will argue Omar did make some non moves that seems to have been the right move ( i.e. – Lacker and Marquis , the lack of moves makes me wonder if Bernie Madoff is still running this team.

    What Ia m saying is are the Mets not willing to spend beacuse of money issues or knowinw some of the money they have received may go back or are they really that dumb ?I am not sure what, but something is wrong in Metville. I do not care how nice a player or a manager or even General Manager is there comes a time where enough is enough.

    I am not totally sold on a player not able to play because of a coach because I believe at this level if the player is motivated he will play, but that is just it, are these guys motivated??

    I give Jerry a few more games and then he should be gone. We will see who goes with him.

  2. Steve

    HoJo is a good link to the past, but another of the puzzling and completely wrong staffing moves by this organization. He could hit only one pitch – a fastball – and never touch anything else. He would hit a ton of homeruns when nobody was on base, or when the situation didn’t matter. When the game was on the line, however, always the same outcome – a popup to the infield, or a called third strike. As someone said in another comment this week, with HoJo it was all or nothing. Why in the world would this guy be a good hitting coach, or role model?

  3. Kings

    My thoughts exactly, Steve. We have a bunch of high-priced players who cannot hit the side of a barn. Worse yet, it seems like no one with the Mets upper management is noticing much of anything.

  4. DUDX

    I have to admit I really don’t know how much impact a hitting coach really has.

    If what you said above is true, why have a hitting coach at all. In my opinion, it is the hitting coach’s job to continually observe the swings of his charges, and intervene when things are heading in the wrong direction. David Wright has been on a slow train to oblivion, and the coaches do not seem to be noticing. Even Keith Hernandez is starting to mumble about David’s swing being awful.

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