I’ve written this before, but it’s been awhile and I don’t know if I ever did a formal post on the subject, but I think that the entire concept of a hitting coach in major league baseball is wrongheaded. It’s impossible for any one man to be the right instructor for thirteen players of different abilities and skill types. Most veteran players go outside the team for advice anyway, but it would be best if younger players, who are still being molded, got more individualized instruction.
That being said, I have to disagree with the apparent consensus that Terry Pendleton was a failure as a hitting coach. The Braves led the National League in on-base percentage in 2010, which to me is pretty good evidence that he was doing something right. TP got far better than expected results from a number of players, including Martin Prado, Omar Infante, and (until this season) Yunel Escobar — basically players like he was, line-drive-hitting infielders with moderate power.
That’s not to say that it was a poor choice to relieve him of his duties. It’s quite likely that he had achieved everything he could with the current generation of Braves hitters, and that a new approach was warranted. Most instructors have strengths and weaknesses, and it’s best to turn them over every few years and bring in a fresh vision.
Needless to say, I don’t think that the Jim Presley Method is the way to go there.