Gabe Kapler’s first Giants coaching staff has overcome initial skepticism with results

When the San Francisco Giants and first-year manager Gabe Kapler announced their 2020 coaching staff, the organization took criticism for its non-traditional approach to hiring.

The 13 major league assistants Kapler brought aboard formed the largest coaching staff in the big leagues, but with the exception of veteran third base coach Ron Wotus, the group was shy on experience.

With an Opening Day roster featuring several key veterans including Johnny Cueto, Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford, some in the game wondered if the Giants were finished attempting to find ways to help their longest-tenured players make adjustments and more determined to hire coaches who could relate to younger talent such as Mauricio Dubón, Jaylin Davis and Joey Bart who represented the franchise’s future.

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More than two-thirds of the way through a condensed 60-game season, the 20-21 Giants are still in the postseason hunt, but it’s not the newly acquired young players leading a turnaround from three consecutive losing seasons.

The 2020 Giants are more competitive and more entertaining than their previous three teams because of the changes the inexperienced coaching staff has helped implement and the willingness of veteran players to focus on development at the major league level.

With a .340 average and 1.117 OPS, Belt has emerged as the Giants’ most consistent offensive threat over the last three weeks as he’s 27-for-55 during the hottest stretch of his career. Since the Giants began a seven-game win streak on August 16, Crawford has posted a 1.079 OPS while third baseman Evan Longoria has solidified the middle of the lineup by slugging .534 with 13 RBIs during that same period.

Second-year outfielder Mike Yastrzemski’s two-strike approach has evolved and made him one of the game’s most dangerous hitters in tough situations while free agent signee Wilmer Flores is also among the league’s leaders in two-strike home runs and extra-base hits.

The Giants’ three hitting coaches –Donnie Ecker, Dustin Lind and Justin Viele– had coached in professional baseball for fewer than a combined 10 seasons prior to their hirings, but they’ve received consistent praise for having players hone in on the quality of their plate appearances as opposed to their results.

The team’s three pitching coaches –Andrew Bailey, Brian Bannister and …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


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