Hopefully, Albert Pujols will keep his distance from his new hitting coach.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols was the best hitter in baseball last season. He hit .327 with 47 HRs, 135 RBIs, a slugging percentage of .658 and an OPS of 1.101. In fact, he's been the best hitter in the league, or at least in the top-three, since coming up as a 21-year-old in 2001.
Now, in year No.10, the team has added controversial Mark McGwire as the hitting coach. We can debate whether McGwire should even be allowed on a major league baseball field for another occasion, my question is what can the former home run hitter bring to the table as a batting instructor?
It's not as if he was a great hitter. Other than swinging for the fences, what qualities does McGwire own that can help improve my keeper league roster, which includes Pujols and Ryan Ludwick.
The recently admitted steroid user hit plenty of home runs, obviously helped by the "juice,' but what other abilities did he show over his 16 seasons that would make one believe that he can help Albert & Co. become better hitters?
McGwire had a lifetime batting average of .263 (Pujols career average is .334) and had four seasons where he batted below .236 (Pujols career-low average is .314 in 2002). In just two of his 16 seasons, did McGwire have more than 150 hits. He wasn't a base stealer, with a single-season high of three and he wasn't a clutch hitter either. His postseason batting average was a "robust" .217 and in three World Series appearances he hit .188 with one home run and two RBIs in 54 plate appearances.
So again, how will hiring McGwire help the Cardinals' hitters? Can he help Matt Holliday improve on his Cardinals batting average of .353? Will a singles hitter like Skip Schumaker, who has hit .300+ over the last two seasons, but has 15 career home runs be able to learn anything from the long-ball swinger?
To me, this hiring sounds like Coach Tony La Russa trying to help out a friend no matter how bad "the fit."
Hopefully, Pujols will keep his distance from his hitting coach, because he can only hurt Albert's numbers and therefore, my fantasy team.