I knew I respected Lansford for his past successes on the field, but two paragraphs in Dave Krieger's column this morning made me think I'm really going to like him as the Rockies new hitting coach.
From the Denver Post.
"When I came up as a rookie in 1978, Don Baylor took me under his wing and taught me how to play the game of baseball the right way — old school-type baseball. So I have nothing but respect for him," Lansford told me.Don was an awful hitting coach.
I'm sorry. Helluva guy. Helluva player. Terrible hitting coach to not be able to get more out of the talent he had to work with. Guys were actually regressing to the point of no return if a change wasn't made.
Now the good part.
"But my approach is totally different. Don was a pull-type hitter. I like my hitters to use the entire field. In my opinion, that makes them much tougher outs. Nobody likes home runs more than me, but trying to force a home run, trying to swing for a home run every at-bat, doesn't work. What it does is make you very easy to pitch to."Amen. A hitting coach that understands the basics of hitting.
I don't know how many times myself and other Rockies fans pointed out Colorado's inability to use the whole damn field. It seems like such a simple and obvious approach, but the 2010 Rockies lost sight of that time and time again, leading to several extended offensive slumps that sabotaged their season.
Lansford has identified this problem. It probably didn't take him long to do so thanks to the miles of ugly video tape Rockies hitters left behind. He understands what needs to be corrected. Now we all have to hope he can recover and reprogram these young hitters.
Chris Iannetta. Ian Stewart. Seth Smith. These guys don't need to be pull conscious to park balls in the seats. They just need to take what they're given, drive it where it's meant to be driven, and watch the stats pile up.
Singles. Doubles. Triples. Sac flys. Walks. Those aren't bad either. Just don't open yourself up to being that easy out the Rockies were far too often in 2010, especially in money situations.
It may take awhile to see positive results, and even longer to see them sustained on a fairly consistent basis, but just reading what I've read here gives me a lot hope that this offense won't underachieve again.
This offense can and will be dynamic if Lansford can successfully flush out Don Baylor's philosophies.
I believe it.