The St. Louis Cardinals have coaching issues aside from manager Mike Matheny.
Former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder/first baseman turned hitting coach John Mabry is on the hot seat, or at the very least he should be. Dealing with an under-performing squad, one would think the main focus would be Mike Matheny. Even though the team has not met expectations, there are two examples as to why a solution to improving the Cardinals involves letting go of Mabry.
After 7.5 seasons wearing the birds on the bat, management decided to let go of Matt Holliday. During his St. Louis Cardinals tenure, the Stillwater Stinger had a triple slash line of .293/.380/.494 and proved why he received the most lucrative contract in the team’s history, but something changed during his final two seasons.
In 183 games Holliday hit .259 with 24 home runs, a low number for a player such as himself. Granted, injuries could have been a factor, but when Holliday was on the field his hitting mechanics changed.
This season with the New York Yankees, Holliday has looked like a completely different hitter. As the graphic in the tweet above shows, Holliday is getting the ball in the air at a higher rate, which explains his 16 home runs in 72 games this season (1 HR/18.5 PA) to his 24 over the course of 183 games from 2015-2016 (1 HR/29.3 PA).
Success due to a fresh start in 2017 is not a one-time event. Matt Adams was dealt to the first-baseman-needy Atlanta Braves on May 20th for first baseman/third baseman Juan Yepez. Since the trade Adams has racked up 14 home runs in 194 plate appearances (1 HR/13.9 PA) and has done so well that Freddie Freeman decided to move to third base.
During his time on the Braves, Big City has looked like the player the Cardinals had back in 2013 when he slugged 17 dingers in 319 plate appearances and had higher trade value. Now, Adams looks like that player and then some as he seems to be happier.
Currently, three Redbird hitters have 14 home runs to lead the team (Jedd Gyorko, Matt Carpenter, and Dexter Fowler). Out of those three the best HR/PA rate belongs to Fowler with 1 HR/21.4 PA. Throughout his career, Fowler has not been regarded as a slugger and his career high in home runs came in 2015 when he hit 17.
Since Mabry was promoted to hitting coach before the 2013 season, the Cardinals are 21st in ISO, 14th in SLG, and 12th in RC+. When Mark McGwire was the hitting coach from 2010-2012, the club ranked 15th, 9th, and 3rd in those three categories.
Mike Matheny may have issues with building a lineup, but John Mabry is hurting all of the hitters in the lineup. If the offense was taught to hit the ball in the air, maybe we see a sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates instead of winning just one out of three.