Angels hire Marcus Thames as hitting coach
For the past four seasons, the Los Angeles Angels have had Jeremy Reed as their hitting coach. Despite rostering a lot of talent including two of the best hitters in the game in Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, the Angels were consistently in the bottom half of baseball in runs scored.
The Angels opted to hire former Tigers outfielder Marcus Thames to fill the position according to Sam Blum of The Athletic. Thames spent four seasons as the Yankees hitting coach alongside another Yankees coach and current Angels manager Phil Nevin. Both Nevin and Thames did not have their contracts extended following the 2021 campaign.
Thames found his way in Miami to be the Marlins' hitting coach. Miami had the fewest runs scored in the National League and the third-fewest in all of baseball.
The Marcus Thames hire makes sense with the Nevin connection but is not one that I agree with.
In his first three seasons as the Yankees were in the top five in runs scored every year. Their offense was very reliant on the long ball as they were in the top five in that category in each of the three seasons. Playing at Yankee stadium and having guys like Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton on your team certainly help as well.
The Yankees took a massive step back offensively in 2021, finishing 19th in baseball in runs scored and sixth in home runs. Every year from when Thames was hired until his contract was not renewed the Yankees struggled to hit in the postseason.
This season was more of the same for the Yankees even without Thames there. They were second in baseball in runs scored and led in home runs. Even with that potent offense, the Yankees did not hit in the postseason and that's the main reason they were eliminated once again.
Thames found his way to Miami for the 2022 season under another former Yankee Don Mattingly. As they seem to do every season, the Marlins struggled to score runs consistently enough to win games.
Miami lacked talent offensively but did make some big signings with Avisail Garcia and Jorge Soler joining the club. Both acquisitions struggled with Miami.
I understand that Nevin might have a relationship with Thames from his Yankees days but Thames hasn't proven much in my eyes as a hitting coach. The Yankees were great in the regular season but struggled consistently in the postseason. In their first season without him, the Yankees had virtually the same production offensively.
The Marlins went from 29th in runs scored to 28th in runs scored with Thames. The Marlins actually scored 37 fewer runs this season than last despite signing Garcia and Soler.
The Marlins were 28th in batting, 27th in OBP, and 28th in slugging this season. The Angels at least slugged pretty well with Reed at the helm.
I hope to be proven wrong, but nothing I've seen from Thames as a hitting coach gives me confidence that he will make the Angels' offense much better. The Yankees were virtually the same without him and the Marlins were just as bad with him despite signing some legitimate talent.
I'm sure Thames is a great baseball mind who players connect with but in a results-oriented business, he just doesn't have them yet.
I expect the Angels' offense to be better if their stars stay healthy. Playing guys like Andrew Velazquez, Tyler Wade, and Matt Duffy a lot definitely wasn't helping. I will say I hoped for more from this hire, however.