New York Mets hitting coach Chili Davis had a good opening weekend. Will the offense continue to produce under the new regime?
This past winter, the New York Mets hired Chili Davis as their new hitting coach. Through their first series, his new hitting mentality has been working for them. The Mets scored 18 runs in their first three games against the Washington Nationals, winning two of them.
Last season, the Mets had the 29th best batting average in the majors, .234. Only the Philadelphia Phillies ranked lower. They only scored 676 runs and only had 649 RBI, both 12th in the National League. The team struggled offensively the whole year. They were very inconsistent and lacked run support for an elite pitching staff. After the 2018 season, the team fired their hitting coach Pat Roessler.
Out with the old, and in with Chili.
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Davis wants hitters to hit the ball straight-away, or to the opposite field. He wants hitters to beat the shift and utilize the whole ballpark. Not meaning that he never wants the Mets to pull the ball, but his strategy is to have the hitters, sit back, and hit the ball the other way or up the middle.
In their 2-0 win on Opening Day, both of Robinson Cano’s run-scoring hits were not pulled. His solo home run in the first inning was to center field, and his RBI single was to left field. Even though Cano is already an established hitter, he is following Davis’ strategy and hitting to ball the other way.
His strategies were also shown to be successful in their 11-8 win over the Nationals on Saturday, March 30. Newly acquired Wilson Ramos’ two-run double was to right field, and Jeff McNeil smashed an RBI triple to center. J.D. Davis’ go-ahead single was hit to opposite field. Rookie sensation Pete Alonso crushed a double in the eighth inning to right field. So many of the team’s important hits were hit up the middle or the other way.
A huge takeaway from that win was that they managed to rack up 11 runs without one home run. If they want to be successful this year, they need to focus on solid contact, and not constantly try to slug the ball out of the park. By trying to hit the other way and make more contact, the club will strikeout less.
In 2018, strikeouts were a huge problem for the Amazins. New York has the seventh most strikeouts in the NL. Davis’ goal is for the team to be in the bottom half of the league when it comes to strikeout totals.
Chili Davis came to the Mets after serving the Chicago Cubs hitting coach last season. Even though the Cubs made the playoffs, they wanted to part ways with Davis because of the same mentality he is implementing with the Mets. Chicago’s staff was not in favor of hitting fewer home runs and did not want their players to become less powerful at the plate. A lot of the players were not thrilled when Davis replaced their hitting coach John Mallee, who won a World Series with the team in 2016.
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Even though the season is young, the Mets’ offense has been impressive. Hopefully, Davis’ hitting mentality will instill with this new roster and generate more wins for the club. As long as the Mets continue to learn from their talented new instructor, their offensive success will prevail.