Tigers manager A.J. Hinch announced a series of changes to his coaching staff this morning (Twitter link via Jason Beck of MLB.com). Most notably, hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh and quality control coach Josh Paul will not return to the organization in 2023.
Meanwhile, assistant hitting coach Mike Hessman and third base coach Ramon Santiago will not be on the Major League coaching staff but have been offered new roles in player development. Gary Jones, who served as first base coach until being struck by liner that fractured his ankle in late May, will return to the big league staff in a to-be-determined role. Former big leaguer Alfredo Amezaga, who joined the Major League staff late in the season after serving as the Tigers’ Triple-A first base coach, will be the first base coach on next year’s big league staff.
The forthcoming addition of a new hitting coach and assistant hitting coach aren’t a surprise after a disastrous 2022 season in Detroit. Tigers batters ranked in the bottom six of all MLB teams in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, posting a combined .231/.286/.346 line in 2022. Detroit hitters ranked dead last in the Majors in home runs (110), runs scored (557), slugging percentage and wRC+ (81). Their 6.5% team walk rate was 29th in the Majors, ahead of only the White Sox, and their 24.1% team strikeout rate was the fourth-highest in Major League Baseball. Key young players like Riley Greene and especially Spencer Torkelson fell shy of expectations, while notable veterans like Javier Baez and Jonathan Schoop had some of the worst offensive output of their careers.
Reshaping the organization’s hitting hierarchy will be among the many initiatives on the docket for newly hired Tigers president of baseball operations Scott Harris, who replaced longtime general manager Al Avila. Harris, the former Giants general manager and Cubs assistant general manager, spoke at his introductory press conference about a need to emphasize development at all levels of the organization, including the Major Leagues. Installing new voices to work with the team’s hitters will be one of the first steps toward that end in what figures to be an active offseason throughout the Tigers organization.