Monday, December 04, 2006

Ty Van Burkleo - The New A's Hitting Coach

Not much in the press release:

Van Burkleo comes to the A's from the Los Angeles Angels organization where he was the minor league roving hitting instructor for the past six seasons. He began his coaching career as a player/coach for the Angels at Single-A Lake Elsinore in 1996 and also spent four seasons as a minor league coach in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization from 1997-2000.

In his entire professional career he played in only 14 major league games, but I never put much stock into major league experience - the big leagues are full of successful coaches and managers who never succeeded at the major league level (Billy Beane is a prime example). What's more interesting to me is his minor league experience and how well he did coaching and grooming the young up-and-coming players? If this season's ridiculously over-priced free agent market is a glimpse of years to come, the A's, as in the past, will have to continue to rely on young, rising talent from their farm system, and it will take patient and talented coaches to nurture these young players into future A's stars.

At this point I will settle for someone who can teach Crosby to lay off outside pitches and curb his violent swing, make sure we get the post-AllStar 2006 Mark Ellis instead of the pre-AllStar Ellis, and get Swisher to hit better with runners in scoring position while also improving his BA.


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