The Pittsburgh Pirates announced that Jay Bell has been named hitting coach. Bell replaces Gregg Ritchie who left to become the coach of his alma mater. Heh, cool. It’s difficult to determine just how much of an impact a coach makes, but at the very least perhaps Bell can save Jose Tabata from breaking his fingers when he attempts to bunt in 2013.
Perhaps he can translate the good plate awareness Bell always showed, he has been successful in the show, he has a ring. On paper, Bell is a massive upgrade over Gregg Ritchie.
We know the bunting jokes are coming. Bring ‘em on.
Bell was the hitting coach for Turner Ward at the Double-A Mobile Bay Bears an Arizona Diamondbacks affiliate. Right now six of those players are in the Arizona Fall League, two of them were hitters under Bell’s instruction–Matt Davidson and Chris Owings. During the season, the Mobile offensive numbers pretty much sucked.
Mobile did finish third in homers, but ninth in hits, seventh in OPS, seventh in OBP, eighth in strikeouts and slugging, and ninth in average.
Bell got solid production from a few players: Alfredo Marte (who showed nice improvement), Matt Davidson and Marc Kraus. After those bats, the Bay Bears offense was pretty light.
In addition, the Bucs made some other changes. Rick Sofield has been named first base coach and Dave Jauss has been named major league coach.
Sofield, 55, was the manager for the West Virginia Power, Pittsburgh’s Class-A affiliate in the South Atlantic League, in the 2012 season. He will also oversee the club’s baserunning and outfield efforts while replacing Luis Silverio, who has been named Senior Advisor, Latin American Operations.
Jauss, 55, who was a special assistant to Huntington in 2012, served as the Mets’ major league bench coach in 2010. He was also the bench coach for the Orioles in 2008-09 and Dodgers in 2006-07.