Mets: Kevin Long should return as hitting coach in 2018

By Haddar Kaplun
PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 13: Michael Conforto
PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 13: Michael Conforto /

Even though he was passed up for manager, Kevin Long still has a place on the bench with the Mets.

Only a few days ago, Kevin Long was considered a serious candidate for the Mets managerial job. Today, however, the Mets are making it official that Mickey Callaway, the former Cleveland pitching coach, has been given the job.

After Callaway was officially announced as the new manager, the next question becomes who he will have as coaches on his bench. We’re hoping Long is among those chosen. Whether it be as a bench coach or hitting coach, Long should return. Long joined the team in 2015, and since the offense has gotten better..

In 2014, the team only hit 125 home runs and had a collective average of .239. Long, however, was able to bring some life back to the team at the plate. Most noticeably, the spike in home runs the following season, at 177. When Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith were called up, he worked with their swings and approach at the plate, in attempt to ease them into hitting major league pitchers.

Although the Mets had a terrible year in 2017, the offense actually shined. This season the offense ranked 8th in home runs with 224. Since Long’s arrival, the Mets have easily adjusted to the new era in baseball. Putting up huge home run numbers is now the norm. Seeing such a steady increase in their home run totals each year, it’s hard to argue that Long was doing a poor job.

Long’s focus has been put on plate discipline. The team’s OPS is perhaps the most notable difference. It jumped from  .673 in 2014, to .712 in 2015.

Long and Callaway can actually make an excellent duo. Long can continue to focus on keeping the Mets offense afloat, while Callaway can focus on building up those young arms. Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Danny Salazar are all products of Callaway. If he can replicate the same success with the Mets, then the pitching is set to be in great shape. Since 2015, excluding injuries, the Amazin’s have not had that equal balance of strong pitching and hitting.

Next: Mickey Callaway to be named new Mets manager

Keeping Kevin Long on staff is going to be imperative to the future of this team. It’s going to be an exciting year seeing what this staff can put together for 2018.