Dear Mike Elias and Brandon Hyde,
Do the Orioles really have two hitting coaches this season, and they are still 5-for-55 with runners in scoring position and have struck out 68 times, second-worst in the major leagues?
Did they really strike out 14 times Tuesday night and 10 Wednesday? Have they really scored 12 runs in six games?
It’s natural for players to have slow starts, but a whole lineup other than Cedric Mullins can’t seem to put the bat on the ball.
When the Orioles loaded the bases with none out in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s loss to Milwaukee, and the next three hitters struck out, Ryan Mountcastle, one strikeout victim, looked like he was trying to hit 33 home runs in one plate appearance.
Being flat for the first six games is not supposed to be panic time, and it’s too early to press. To give this situation a little perspective, it is not completely unique to the Orioles.
Bobby Witt Jr. of Kansas City is two for his first 20 plate appearances as baseball’s most highly touted prospect, other than Adley Rutschman.
Hiring two hitting coaches, Matt Borgschulte and Ryan Fuller, was either an innovation that other teams may keep their eye on and follow in the future, or something that already was a trend, and the Orioles are following it. It depends on what you read and where you read it.
Mr. Elias, did you plan for the hitters to benefit from having two different people to help them with their stances, their swings and their approaches to hitting? Is the left field wall psyching out the home team, and they’re trying valiantly to hit everything farther than ever before?
That’s the great unknown. The fair thing to do is give them more time than the first week of the season.
Borgschulte came from the Minnesota Twins organization, where he was hitting coach for the Gulf Coast League Twins. In the last three seasons, he has moved from a Low-A ball hitting coach, to Triple-A hitting coach in 2020 and 2021.
Fuller played baseball at the University of Connecticut but only spent one year in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization before running a private school. In 2021, the Bowie Baysox hired him.
So maybe two heads are better than one, and the hitters can pick and choose what ideas work best for them. Time will tell, of course.
Ideally, a story like this would be done by being able to talk to the coaches and hitters for their opinions, but they are likely to be uniformly optimistic and enthusiastic.
This weekend’s series with the visiting New York Yankees would not be expected to end well for the Orioles. It is baseball’s version of The Prince and The Pauper.
There might not be much point to analyzing the daylights out of these games, and criticism will be too easy. But surprises can always happen.
Good luck, Mr. Elias and Mr. Hyde.
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