The LA Angels relieved hitting coach Dave Hansen after the 2017 season ended after the Angels finished 11th out of 14 teams in the American League in on-base-percentage, 13th in batting average, and last in slugging percentage.
On Monday, LA Angels general manager Billy Eppler announced that the club has hired Chicago Cubs assistant hitting coach Eric Hinske to replace Dave Hansen. Hansen has been the Angels hitting coach for the last two seasons and was also their assistant hitting coach under Don Baylor for two seasons.
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Hinske has been the Cubs assistant hitting coach the last three seasons which included three playoff appearances and the 2016 World Series title. Hinske played for seven teams during his 12-year MLB career as an outfielder and first baseman. His career numbers were a .249 batting average with 137 home runs and he also drove in 522 runs.
Hinske had a very respectable OBP of .332 for his career and was known for having good plate discipline during his playing career. Improving the team’s on-base-percentage was something that Billy Eppler wants to be emphasized throughout the organization. He is banking on the fact that Hinske was a part of a team, the Chicago Cubs, that has had a very dynamic offense over the past three seasons.
Hinske had his best season as a rookie in 2002 for the Toronto Blue Jays batting .279 with 24 homers and 84 runs batted in which were all career highs for him. Hinske was named the 2002 Rookie of the Year for his efforts. Overall his best years were with the Blue Jays as he had 78 homers and 313 RBI’s which is more than half of his career totals in both categories.
The Angels will retain assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento despite Hansen’s dismissal. Sorrento has served in this capacity over the past four seasons for the Angels. Hinske’s hiring completes the Angels coaching staff for the 2018 season.
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Mike Scioscia’s staff is relatively unchanged as Hansen is the only coach not returning. Charles Nagy will remain as pitching coach for his third season. Alfredo Griffin will return for his 18th season with the Angels and will be the first base coach. Griffin is the only coach to be with Mike Scioscia for his entire tenure as Angels manager.
The third base coach will again be Ron Roenicke who is in his second year of his second stint as an Angel coach. Roenicke was also a coach for the Angels during the first six seasons Mike Scioscia was the Angel manager from 2000-2006. Dino Ebel will again serve as the Angels bench coach and Scott Radinsky will be the bullpen coach starting his third season. Ebel has been with the Angels since 2006 when he served as the third base coach. He has been the Angels bench coach since 2014. Steve Soliz will be the Angels bullpen catcher.
Hopefully Hinske will infuse life into the Angels anemic offense and help the Angels make a return to the post-season in 2018. Only time will tell. Welcome aboard Eric hope you have smooth sailing here in Anaheim.