Sadly, one of the Giants’ better hitting coach targets, Chili Davis just got hired by the Cubs. However, that obviously leaves the Cubs former hitting coach as someone available. John Mallee is that man. The Cubs offense has been pretty good the past few years. They’re top 10 in wRC+ and have a really high walk-rate. The Cubs ability to get timely offense from a lot of players sure helped, but my question is whether or not he actually had much to do with them.
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Anthony Rizzo is obviously one of their top offensive threats, but Mallee frankly didn’t have a whole lot to do with him. Rizzo’s best year was 2014, not under the tutleage of Mallee. He even showed a little regression in 2017. That shows me some cause for concern.
However, his ability to help young players assimilate to the big leagues quick was something that the Giants really have to like. Baez has been a better offensive threat over the past few years, and the seamless transitions for guys like Ian Happ, Kris Bryant, and Wilson Contreras. Throw in guys like Addison Russell and Albert Almora, the Cubs were able to have young players make immediate impacts at the plate.
One thing about Mallee is he just didn’t randomly join the Cubs from nowhere after the 2014 season. Mallee was the hitting coach for the Houston Astros from 2012-2014, which includes the emergence of Jose Altuve. In Mallee’s final year Altuve’s average jumped up to .341 and his OPS up over .800 for the first time. Altuve became more of a power threat after Mallee left for the Cubs, but his track record is there.
Mallee wouldn’t have the level of prospects to work with that he had with the Chicago Cubs. But that’s fine. If they can get some good impact out of their prospects when they hit the big leagues, that would help. Mallee would be a decent hire for hitting coach.