Today, former major leaguer Dave Hansen was named as the Mariner’s new pitching coach. He will replace Chris Chambliss who was relieved of his duty as hitting coach after the Mariner offense posted a sub .300 OBP for the second straight year under his watch.
Chambliss’ 2012 year of coaching saw Dustin Ackley struggle greatly, Justin Smoak post a .654 OPS, and several other disappointments. This change was not only necessary but overdue.
Like Chambliss, Hansen is an ex-major leaguer, and while he didn’t have quite the career Chambliss had, he still had a respectable 15 year stint in the MLB. He only surpassed 200 plate appearances in a season twice, but he was able to remain in the big leagues for over a decade thanks to his career 13.5 BB%.
Hopefully Hansen’s ability to draw walks will carry over to his new offense which produced just a 7.7 BB% and had the lowest OBP in the league.
The fact that Hansen was a left-handed batter may also help him deal with the countless lefty bats in Seattle’s order. John Jaso, Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager, Michael Saunders, Mike Carp, Trayvon Robinson, Eric Thames, and Carlos Peguero are all left-handers or switch-hitters that may benefit from having a hitting coach who hit left handed.
Prospects like Nick Franklin and Brad Miller are in the same category. That being said, Chris Chambliss also hit left-handed and he didn’t have a particularly successful stint as Seattle’s batting instructor.
The last reason that I like the Hansen signing is because his youthfulness could fit well in the young Mariner club house. At just 43 years old, Hansen could be a good match for the green offense of Seattle. A relatable personality could go a long way toward the development of the young bats in the organization.