Tuesday, November 01, 2005

New Hitting Coach : Gerald Perry

The new hitting coach for the Oakland A's is Pittsburgh Pirates hitting coach Gerald Perry:
The Oakland Athletics announced today the club has agreed to terms with
Gerald Perry on a one-year contract to serve as the club's Major League hitting
coach for the 2006 season.

Let's hope 1 year is enough to turn around the A's offense. According the press release :
Perry, 45, served as the hitting coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates for the
last three seasons after serving in the same capacity with the Seattle Mariners
(2000-02). In his first season as the Pirates hitting coach, the team batting
average improved 23 points from .244 to .267, which was the third best team mark
in the National League in 2003. During his three-year stay in Seattle, the
Mariners led the Major Leagues in on-base percentage (.357) and walks (2,018)
and topped the American League in batting (.278), runs (2,648) and ranked third
in batting average with runners in scoring position (.285) and were second in
hits (4,649).

Sounds great from the press release, especially considering his time in Seattle where the Mariners led the Major Leagues in OBP and BB, which I am sure caught Billy Beane's eye.

But a closer look at Pittsburgh's team stats for 2005 paint a less rosy picture for Perry's more recent work :
Runs - 680 - 28th in the Major Leagues (Oakland was 9th)
Hits - 1445 - 20th in the Major Leagues (tied with Kansas City - Oakland was 15th)
2B - 292 - 14th in the Major Leagues (Oakland was 8th)
HR - 139 - 22nd in the Major Leagues (Oakland was 18th)
OBP - 0.322 - 22nd in the Major Leagues (not a good sign - Oakland was 14th)
SLG - 0.400 - 23rd in the Major Leagues (Oakland was 22nd)
OPS - 0.723 - 24th in the Major Leagues (Oakland was 20th)

Basically Pittsburgh - as a team - ranked in the bottom third of all major league teams in almost every major offensive category except for doubles (2B) where they were barely average. Let's take a look at these same numbers with runners in scoring position for the 2005 Pittsburgh Pirates :
Runs - 530 - 21st in the Major Leagues (Oakland was 9th)
Hits - 371 - 12th in the Major Leagues - respectable (Oakland was 7th)
2B - 69 - 21st in the Major Leagues (Oakland was 6th)
HR - 33 - 26th in the Major Leagues (Oakland was 23rd)
OBP - 0.347 - 17th in the Major Leagues (Oakland was 16th at 0.348!)
SLG - 0.411 - 18th in the Major Leagues (Oakland was 21st)
OPS - 0.758 - 16th in the Major Leagues (Oakland was 17th at 0.756!)

It is tough to judge by only a 1 season sample size, but from looking at all the numbers above, it appears that Oakland's offense was mostly superior to Pittsburgh's and in fact managed to rank in the top third in certain key categories. However, I firmly believe team performance depends as much on the players as it does the coaches, and Perry will obviously have some nice talent to work with in Oakland, so hopefully he can do a lot more good in Oakland.

I'll be taking a closer look at Perry over the next few days and try to shed some more light on his possible impact with the A's offense.

On a side note, the same press release confirms that the remainder of the A's coaching staff will be here for the 2006 season, with Washington signed through 2007 - YAY !
In addition, the Athletics announced the remainder of the Major League
coaching staff-Brad Fischer, Bob Geren, Rene Lachemann, Ron Washington and Curt
Young-will return for the 2006 season. Washington, Geren and Young agreed to
terms on two-year contracts through the 2007 season, while Lachemann and Fischer
agreed to terms on one-year deals for the 2006 campaign. Geren will assume the
duties of bench coach, Lachemann will take over the first base coaching duties
and Fischer will be assigned as the bullpen coach.


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