Darnell Coles, employed because the Washington Nationals’ new hitting coach in October, (following the departure of Kevin Lengthy, who left and signed on in Philadelphia after 4 seasons in D.C.), talked throughout his introductory press convention about realizing what to do with Juan Soto as soon as he and the 23-year-old begin working collectively in Spring Coaching (assuming we’ll have ST and a season when the lockout ultimately ends).
“I feel with Juan Soto — what I’ve dug into there, is that no one underneath any circumstances is to mess together with his swing,” Coles mentioned.
Soto, heading into what can be his fifth massive league marketing campaign in 2022, is coming off a 2021 season which ended with him ranked 1st within the Nationwide League in on-base proportion (.465), 1st in walks (145), 1st in OBP w/ RISP (.577), and AVG w/ RISP (.396), 2nd in AVG (.313), OPS (.999), wOBA (.420), wRC+ (163), and runs scored (111), with the third-highest fWAR (6.6), and he was third in SLG w/ RISP (.689) amongst the entire certified NL hitters as properly.
“He’s the epitome of what an awesome main league hitter is,” Coles mentioned. “He understands the strike zone, he pays consideration to element, he understands what they’re making an attempt to do, he does his homework, he doesn’t let the second get too massive for him, he stays to the center of the sector. His highest quality is that he can mainly get successful each time he desires to, to the other subject, which is hard to do. So, I feel lots of people in baseball perceive the sort of participant he’s. Clearly this group does, and my goal is to be sure that he will get, in addition to all people else, all the things they want to make sure that we— each day — can compete towards any workforce.”
Whereas he’ll, in fact, attempt to give everybody all the things they want, Coles acknowledged with a hitter like Soto, issues are completely different.
“They’re going to pitch Juan completely different than they’re the lots of our workforce,” Coles mentioned, “…so we’ve obtained to know that in some situations, the overall scouting report works for the group, however then in different situations, we obtained to be sure that Juan has a greater concept as to what these two or three issues that he’s searching for and permit that to sort of translate to how we assault hitters, or how we perceive pitchers are attacking us.”
What he desires to see usually, Coles mentioned, is all of the workforce’s hitters making good and strong contact, swinging at good pitches, and placing balls in play.
“We’ve obtained to regulate the strike zone, we obtained to be sure that — generally you’ve obtained to have robust conversations when guys are swinging outdoors the zone or making an attempt to do an excessive amount of or not permitting the subsequent man to do his,” he defined, “…so once more, analytically, we’re making an attempt to be sure that stroll proportion, chase proportion, swing proportion, all traces up. Are we swinging rather a lot, are we making good contact, nice, then that’s advantageous, however if you happen to’re swinging rather a lot after which now that results in chasing rather a lot, meaning you’re not strolling and you then’re going to fall off a cliff.
“So there’s a number of ways in which we’ve obtained to determine what every particular person man wants, and we’ll assault their strengths and we’ll additionally assault their weaknesses, to be sure that we now have a consistency that results in steadiness all through the lineup from prime to backside.”
In relation to contact, what’s his pondering on contact versus good contact?
“I feel every particular person man it’s completely different,” Coles mentioned. “Juan Soto is Juan Soto. That’s god-given, I feel everyone knows that, and he’s one in every of if not the perfect hitters within the recreation, however each man has his personal routine, each man has to exit and compete, and get pitched a means in order that he’s obtained to know that he’s obtained to remain inside the framework of his strengths till they pressure you to your weak spot. And once more, you wait the pitcher out till he makes a mistake, however if you happen to wait him out and he makes a mistake, you possibly can’t miss the error. So that you’ve obtained to be sure that; A: You’re on time so to make good choices, as a result of plenty of occasions it’s not essentially a mechanic that will get you in hassle, possibly you began a bit of late, he sped you up, he quick-pitched you so now you’re in-between, so there’s aligning the begins or realigning the begins on the subject of making your changes from pitch to pitch, however most significantly simply permitting your self to get in place, gradual it down in order that it means that you can be on time, so to make good choices.
“And once you make good choices it’s going to raised our possibilities of persistently hitting balls arduous and placing massive numbers up each night time.”