Marlins prepping to turn hits into runs this season
JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Miami was third in the NL with 1,460 hits last year behind Colorado and Arizona, yet 13th with 655 runs, ahead of only Philadelphia and Atlanta.
“I thought we were good with the starters for the most part, but once we got out of that starter, we didn’t have another plan,” manager Don Mattingly said. “That just can’t happen. That’s one of the things we’ve talked to our guys about. That’s the next step for us. Every time you walk up there, you have to have a game plan. It may be the wrong plan — at least you can adjust off of that. If you go up there with no plan, you’re just hoping to be productive, and that’s just not the way you do it at this level to be a really good team.”
Mattingly attributes the struggles to players not doing enough studying of opposing bullpens.
“Those are the guys you don’t see as much,” Mattingly said. “If you haven’t done any work or have any prep work on that guy, then you’re kind of back up there again without a plan. I think that’s where we miss out.”
Miami fired hitting coach Barry Bonds after only one season and replaced him with Mike Pagliarulo, a former teammate of Mattingly’s with the New York Yankees. Pagliarulo had been running a baseball scouting service.
“On the coaches side, we have to be prepared,” Mattingy said. “We have to be ready to give information. We have to be ready to show it, what this guy can do. We have to know our own hitters better than anyone else — sometime better than themselves — show them where their hot spots are, where they’re really good, be able to show them how this team’s trying to pitch you.”
Mattingly understands young hitters often eschew video study. Martin Prado, at 33, is the only projected Miami regular starter over 30.
“Pags was involved with a lot of scouting and stuff before, so he already did a lot of the video,” Mattingly said. “The teams that I’ve coached, the guys that pay attention to it are the best hitters. It’s not just by chance that those guys are really good hitters.”
Pagliarulo will help the Marlins develop a game plan against each pitcher they possibly could face on a given day, pointing out when it might be opportune to hit breaking pitches away to the opposite field.
“There’s always one, two, three guys that go up there and maybe get a little excited, get a little happy, and start trying to pull it, kind of getting away from their approach,” J.T. Realmuto said. “That’s just something that we have to do a better job of just staying on top if it and controlling ourselves and policing ourselves and staying with the process.”