derek_shelton_largeThe Rays today announced that they have hired Derek Shelton as the team’s new hitting coach. For the last four and a half seasons, Shelton served as the hitting coach for the Indians under Eric Wedge. Shelton replaces Steve Henderson, who was let go earlier this month after four seasons in the position.

Andrew Friedmanon Shleton (via press release):

“Derek has proven himself to be one of the better minds in baseball when it comes to hitting,” Rays Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman said. “He brings a fresh voice that can help our talented core of hitters reach new heights. His attention to detail and ability to communicate will be great additions to our group.”

Joe Maddon on Shelton:

“I believe he is the kind of coach who can create a hitting program that will benefit the organization both at the minor league and major league levels,” said Rays Manager Joe Maddon. “In our conversations, I found that we share the same philosophy on a number of different areas. He was very clear and concise on his intentions and in the end it was an easy decision.”

The quote from Maddon seems telling as Shelton’s job will be just important, if not more so, at the minor league level. Many believe that a hitting coach’s impact at the big league level is minimal. However, the Rays are an organization that believes it is important to instill a philosophy in their players very early on in their development.

Back in September, Let’s Go Tribe took a look at the Indian’s hitting performance under Shelton and had hoped he would be retained even if Wedge was dismissed.

Shelton is the fifth hitting coach in club history joining Henderson (1998, 2006-09), Leon Roberts (1999-2000), Wade Boggs (2001), Milt May (2002) and Lee Elia (2003-05).

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17 Comments

  1. Gus says:

    Maybe he can tell Sonny why he couldn't retire any Indians (and particualrly the immortal Ben Francisco) over the past two seasons.

    I like that he is young.

    Personally, I think Zobrist's Nashville batting cage guy should be hired by the organization in some capacity. That guy is a miracle worker.

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  2. Don says:

    Looks like another mediocre pick up for a coaching staff that is already mediocre enough...
    Maddon says that "they share some of the same philosophys".....
    Thats dandy....but I was kinda hoping for someone who would be a little different and could actually help guys like Burrell, BJ, Navarro, Pena.....
    Gee Joe.... maybe he will even suggest BJ to lead off....then you will really be on the same page....does he know bunting, hit and run, sac flies
    We will see...because Henderson didn't know how to help...

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    • stunna says:

      As always, nice outlook Mr. Negative.

      I don't fully understand why Henderson was fired, but at the same time I'm very happy about the hiring of Shelton. I live in Columbus so I hear a lot about the Reds and Indians, and I've always liked this guy. I think he will be a great fit here.

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  3. Brixology says:

    I have a theory that Don is a character the Professor is playing. Well done, Cork. Spot on.

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    • The funny thing about that (for me at least) is that just recently I was wondering if anybody thought that because he is so over the top. For a while I wondered if he might be somebody in the organization messing with me/us, but the IP address doesn't matchup.

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      • Beth says:

        And besides, his inability to communicate clearly in English has caused me to doubt that "Don" is actually a clever hoax. Best to ignore him.

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    • KillaTapes says:

      Seriously, thank you! I've been working on some tedious tasks, I come over here for a minute and get a really good laugh out of it. Phew!

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    • Jim says:

      I always thought Don was just this site's SuperMike and tried to ignore him.

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  4. Don says:

    Sorry it took so much time to get back to a baseball blog...I had to work tonight...some may not understand that....But for Beth and others I'll try to explain my post as simple as possible...
    What Maddon & Henderson have been doing was not working because of the strike outs, few successful bunts, fewer hit and runs, players that can't hit sac flys....thus leaving many base runners...
    So I was hoping for someone new that could HELP with these things....
    instead we get someone still in sink with Maddons baseball (philosophy) !
    Thats the best I can do for you...I hope it helps!

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    • Justin H says:

      Just cause Maddon says they have philosophies doesn't mean he can't help the hitters. I'm sure it wasn't Maddon's philosophies to strike out a lot and not play good fundamental offense.

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      • Don says:

        Oh Lord help me...
        It wasn't Maddons philosophy to strike out a lot and not play fundamental offensive baseball....BUT
        Maddon and Henderson couldn't do anything about it....ie... try to help the players in their mistakes/problems...Now...by all appearances we are getting more of the same...get it!

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  5. Dirtbag Fan says:

    Did you know that without Joe Maddon as manager the Rays would've won 111 games?
    Yep!
    He's that much of a detriment; ask Don.

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