Objectively, we have the worst performing offense in the ACC right now. There’s very little room for debate on that.
I think you described things above well.
For the season to get on track and improve, the offense has to be fixed. There’s very little left to squeeze from the pitching and defense. We could be a bit better on defense and the walks still need to come down. A few pitchers are driving that number up.
But the offense is the worst in the ACC currently.
What’s to blame? The players get the blame because they’re on the field. How much is the coaches fault? Good question.
The biggest issue is we’re striking out way too much. When we do make contact, it’s rarely a ball we’ve squared up and driven.
Plate discipline seems to be the biggest culprit. Too many players are letting good pitches pass and swinging at awful pitches instead.
I can’t tell you why that’s happening. Historically, we attack early count fastballs and compete really hard in at bats (fouling off close pitches, making the pitcher work by having a good eye) so that we force a pitcher into a hitter’s count if we don’t get the early count fastball. Anyone that’s watched more than a few innings this year can see that’s not happening.
I’ve heard nothing to suggest a change in strategy from the coaching side. We also have a ton of analytical data and some nice tools at our disposal (VR hitting product WIN Reality).
Eventually, we’re going to have to try something new in the lineup. We’ve got four regulars hitting .200 or worse (Cotier, Newell, Ortiz, Tappen). Another regular, Lebreux, is hitting below .225.
I’d keep Newell in the lineup because he can cover a ton of ground in the OF with his defense and he’s the highest potential player on the team. Lebreux is a really good defensive OF as well. We’ve got 6 OF on the team (Rivoli, Newell, Lebreux, Tappen, Sullivan, Burrow). Only Burrow hasn’t had a chance yet and he’s a first year. Sullivan has two starts (4 games total) and is only hitting .100.
I really like Cotier, and I think I read he has our best batting average across the six ACC games played. He probably gets a little more time but there are three first year guys that could play 2B as well (J Gelof, Coppedge, Hincks). Eventually you have to give them an extended look if things don’t improve there either assuming they can handle the defensive side.
I’m looking for the Richmond game to see if any changes happen. Eventually we can’t stay with the same guys and hope they turn it around. You have to give someone else a shot before we dig too big a hole.
On the flip side, I believe opposing batters are also hitting below .200 against our pitchers. So some modest batting improvements could go a long way if the pitching continues to be this good.