Mar 18, 2014; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers assistant hitting coach Darnell Coles (59) congratulates right fielder Tyler Collins (72) for hitting a two run home run against the New York Mets in spring training action at Tradition Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
Darnell Coles, who had a 14-year Major League career for eight teams, is the Brewers new hitting coach.
Coles has been around with the Brewers. In 2010 he joined the club as a roving minor league hitting instructor for two years, and manager of the Huntsville Stars in 2012 and 2013. This season he served as the Tigers assistant hitting coach under hitting coach Wally Joyner.
The Tigers had a line of .277/.331/.426 this season under Joyner and Coles. That is good for a .331 wOBA, best in the American League. That is actually down a little from their 2013 .341 (second in the AL).
The Brewers team wOBA the last three seasons under Johnny Narron were .329 in 2012, .311 in 2013 and .313 in 2014, including the prolonged September slump where the Brewers managed a .285 wOBA, 11th in the National League.
Coles is familiar with Scooter Gennett, Jean Segura and Khris Davis, all of whom will be his primary charges. Gennett’s performance severely dropped off in the second half this season, his batting average, on base percentage and slugging all dropped by 50 points (or more) in the second half.
Segura had his own struggles in 2014, never approaching his 2013 numbers. His .294/.329/.423 slash line in 2013 dropped to just .246/.289/.326 in 2014. His defense isn’t good enough to make up for his anemic 2014 offense.
I don’t know what the true affect of a hitting coach is, but Coles is going to have to get the Brewers young core in line if he wants to turn things around.