Yesterday the Mets announced the hiring of Kevin Long as the new batting coach (or as they call it hitting instructor). This move makes sense for a number of reasons. On top of that list is the work he did with Curtis Granderson while they were both with the Yankees. You could argue that a productive Granderson is the most important thing to the Mets in 2015 and Long should help that. There is one issue with Long’s philosophy. It doesn’t quite lineup with the Mets.
Here’s what Long had to say to Sports Illustrated on his approach:
“You really have to re-think your hitting philosophy. It used to be that you wanted to take pitches and get the starter’s pitch count up so you could get into the other team’s bullpen. Now if you do that, chances are you’re going to see a better arm coming out of the bullpen, and it’s one after the other.”
That sounds like something that could directly conflict with the organizational philosophy. With the broad strokes of money ball known throughout the baseball world by now, Sandy Alderson has always preached a patient approach and waiting for your pitch.
“It’s getting a good pitch to hit, and these guys are sorting through the pitches they are seeing to get something to hit,” Alderson told the New York Post’s Mike Puma back in 2013. “That approach is what really made us successful offensively in 2011 and the first half of 2012, and then we lost the approach. We couldn’t generate any offense in the second half of last year.”
So is this an issue in the waiting? Will Long be able to be an effective hitting instructor while under the watchful eyes of the Mets front office? We don’t expect Alderson to charge through the locker room with a baseball bat like Brad Pitt but one would imagine they’ll be keeping very close tabs on things like opposing pitch counts and on-base percentage under Long’s guidance.