No Offense: Rockies Looking for New Hitting Coach
While the Rockies were claiming back-to-back invites to MLB’s post-season for the first time in franchise history in 2018, the offense was in a funk.
Something, obviously, did not fit.
And the Rockies took the first step in looking to solve that concern recently. They informed hitting coach Duane Espy his contract would not be extended, creating two vacancies on Rockies manager Bud Black’s staff.
Tony Diaz, the first base coach in Black’s first two years, accepted the third base coaching job on the staff of Twins new manager Rocco Baldelli. Diaz had been in the Rockies organization since 2000, when he became the hitting coach for the Rockies affiliate in the Arizona Rookie League.
Espy spent two terms as the Rockies hitting coach. He was on the staff of manager Clint Hurdle in 2003, but was reassigned to the minor leagues the next season. He returned to the big-league staff when Black was hired prior to 2017.
In 2018, the Rockies did advance to the post-season, but offensively had what was arguably the worst offensive season in the franchise’s 26-year existence, underscored by the fact the Rockies hit .256 as a team, the lowest average in team history, and for the first time in franchise history did not have a player hit .300.
As a team, the Rockies .256 batting average ranked third in the NL, but more telling is they had a .322 on-base percentage, seventh among the 15 NL teams.
The Rockies had 61 players qualify for the batting title and hit .300 or better in their first 25 years. They also scored two or fewer runs in 41 games, and three or fewer in 65 regular-season games.
The offensive woes were evident in the final week of play.
Starting with a Game 163 loss to the Dodgers that denied the Rockies the first NL West title in franchise history, and including the Rockies four post-seasong games, the Rockies scored a total of two runs, and lost four games.
In the only victory, they pulled out a 2-1, 13-inning victory against the Cubs in the wild-card game. They were shutout by the Brewers in the final two games of being swept in three games in the NLCS.
Rockies 2018 At the Plate
(Miniumum 100 At-Bats)