According to Marc Topkin, Rays hitting coach Derek Shelton has been chosen to coach a group of Major League Baseball All-Stars as they tour Taiwan next month.

This of course raises several questions. The first few come from the audience (via Michael Ryan on Twitter)…

What the. How did he even… what.. WHY????

Michael, these are all very good questions. Let’s speculate:

  • Maybe it is a form of punishment
  • Maybe Stuart Sternberg is scouting possible sites to move the Rays
  • Maybe Andrew Friedman is looking for Manny Ramirez
  • Or maybe the other 29 hitting coaches in MLB just said “no.”

But maybe the biggest question is: why does an MLB All-Star team need a hitting coach? We have long said that hitting coach might be the most overrated coaching position in sports. Hitting coaches don’t turn bad hitters into good hitters. Occasionally, a hitting coach might help a good hitter out of slump if the mechanics have gone haywire. But that’s about it.

But in the meantime, maybe we can just hope he learns something from the all-stars.



  1. S says:

    there are 29 managers and GMs across the league that are crapping their pants right now. they've issued statements telling their players to not listen to a word he says!!!!

    cork, don't you think that he bares some of the responsibility for the two of the lowest batting averages in our history? i know there's a talent issue, but we've had some pretty untalented teams in our past.

    if they are really overrated, why did we ever fire henderson? we hit .260, produced runs and went to the world series. and then we fire him to hire a coach that the indians ran off? i'm still baffled by that one.

    how long before we see these quotes come true?

    “Derek has proven himself to be one of the better minds in baseball when it comes to hitting,”
    “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,”
    “He brings a fresh voice that can help our talented core of hitters reach new heights."

    • Rg says:

      Hitting coaches tell hitters about opposing pitchers. Pitching coaches tell pitchers about opposing batters. Strange juxtaposition, non?

  2. raysfan137 says:

    I totally disagree with your opinion that the hitting coach position is over rated. You seem to be looking only at one dimension of the job: a coach working one on one with a hitter. The hitting coach also acts as an offensive coordinator of sorts, setting team strategy and mindset for a season, specific series or opponent, or a particular pitcher. This is a very important role and in my opinion where the Rays have suffered. This is what Shelton lacks. He has a myopic, at best, philosophy on hitting and does not show an ability to lead and lift the team's attitude and strategy at the plate. I believe in your own blog you've pointed out the number first pitch and 2-0 checked swings on this team across the board. Those spell out a serious lack of strategy (apologies if I've confused with another site). A hitting coach cannot be the hero that makes a bunch of bad hittters great. I agree. But he can, as we have seen, make a bunch of average to decent hitters into a offensive joke.

    • Sarah says:

      Along those lines, I've been intrigued watching the Rangers offense. It's not that they never strand runners. But, as the commentators have noted, they strike out pretty infrequently given that they are a power hitting team. So either their front office has been just brilliant in selecting the rare power hitters who don't strike out a lot, or they've got a coaching staff that has trained players to minimize strike outs. I know nothing about the Ranger's hitting coach, but these results to me indicate effective coaching.

      • Raysfan137 says:

        Exactly, Sarah. Signs of team strategy and positive attitude. No matter what level of sports you look at, coaches need build those things. See 2011 Red Sox for proof. Maddon does it at a macro level. Hickey certainly does with starting pitchers. Shelton doesn't bring that. I'd rather see us keep all of our pitchers and hire a hitting coach who strategize and motivate. Anyone know a good medium ? Maybe we can get Shelton to channel the late, great Charlie Lau.


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