St. Louis Cardinals: I am furious at John Mabry and he needs to go
I know I am not the only St. Louis Cardinals fan, nor writer, who feels the utmost of angst at the name of the current hitting coach. To me, the time has come for him to be the first (not last) of the coaching staff to depart the gateway to the west.
I am not a John Mabry fan. I was not a Matt Adams fan either. Having said both of those things, Adams’ performance since leaving the St. Louis Cardinals (with cash to Atlanta as a “consolation prize”) further exemplifies my dislike of the hitting coach in St. Louis.
I know I’ve talked about this before, but the hitting coach in Memphis is ten times the coach that is Mabry. Why do you think the St. Louis Cardinals send their struggling hitters to Memphis?
Okay, okay… the Cardinals sent Randal Grichuk to single-A but we must admit that Grichuk already had his exposure to the hitting genius in Memphis (his name is Mark Budaska if you didn’t know) last season during his struggles.
So, back to Adams for a moment. During his time in St. Louis, Adams had a rough time finding his hitting ways. Right? Well, not exactly. During his early days with the Cardinals, Adams experienced outstanding plate appearances in his rookie minor league season posting a slash of .355/.400/.547.
Jump ahead a few seasons to 2012 when Adams spent the entire season in Memphis with Budaska and you find his second best offensive season of his ENTIRE career. In 2012, Budaska taught Adams such that he posted a slash of .329/.362/.624. Then, Mabry got his hands on Adams and the wheels slowly fell off.
For his time with Mabry, Adams posted averages as high as .292 but as low as .143. Then, the St. Louis Cardinals sent him to Atlanta and a new hitting coach: Kevin Seitzer. Since joining the Braves on May 21, Adams has grown and made his average stronger by putting together hits and home runs. He now sits with a slash of .279/.315/.529.
For those keeping score at home, Adams’ slash when he departed St. Louis was .292/.340/.396. So, while his average has dropped a little, his power is on display with Atlanta. To be honest, Adams is an up-and-down hitter but Mabry was no help for that.
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Now to Mabry… Mabry, a lot like Matt Adams, started his career extremely well posting a slash of .304/.360/.435 in his rookie season in the big leagues. Then, like Adams (again), he waffled between averages of .118 to .297. So, why are any of us surprised by his inability to get this team- this team that SHOULD have offense- off the dirt?
Oh, and as I’ve said before as well, Mabry struggled against left-handed pitching. In his career, he posted a slash of merely .227/.292/.335 against left-handed starters. Against right-handed starters you might ask? His career slash was only .269/.326/.417. So, maybe it isn’t fair to use the word “only” as I did about his against-right-handed-starters slash.
I mention here (and before) his numbers against left-handed starters since the St. Louis Cardinals continue to struggle against left-handed starters. See the trend?
You know what else the 2017 (and ’16… and ’15…) St. Louis Cardinals struggle with? Recording hits with runners in scoring position. Mabry, not surprisingly, posted a career slash with RISP of .260/.346/.403. While the average would’ve been nicer if it were higher, these numbers aren’t pitiful. So why can’t he coach?
Hang on! There’s one more trend that Mabry continues from his playing career as a coach– an inability to hit a slider. In his career, Mabry made contact with a mere 11.8 percent of sliders thrown to him accounting for hits. The 2017 St. Louis Cardinals are the eleventh ranked team in MLB at 16.4 percent of sliders hit by batters.
So, to me, Mabry needs to go. I’m not sure what is laying out there as a solution but somehow, some way the St. Louis Cardinals of old were able to muster hits despite Hal McRae‘s lackluster coaching as well. This team- and the recent Cardinals teams- aren’t able to perform beyond Mabry. Perhaps this is a Mike Matheny vs. Tony La Russa issue but let’s save that for another time.
What do you think? Would dismissing Mabry make an improvement for the team? Let me know on Twitter and thanks for reading!