Chicago Cubs 2014 Review- Moneyball Hitter Magazine Lead columnist and hitting specialist Mike Huber discusses…
Attention Cubs Fans! 2015 Could Be the Year for Cubs
Attention Cubs fans! NL Central is there for the taking! Learn why this really could be the Cubs year!
In our MLB Team Reviews we had the Cubs making a push to be a better team, but not making the play-offs. A lot has changed, giving the Cubs a real chance at winning this division. There are many roads opening up for the Cubs that are going to give them a legitimate shot this 2015 season. What are they?
First the NL Central is weaker than we thought it was going to be. The Cardinals were the team they were last year with problems scoring runs and getting into too many one run games. The Brewers and the Reds are inconsistent like we thought they would be, and the Pittsburgh Pirates are the team that is really giving the Cubs the red carpet. For some reason, one of the best hitting teams in the National League cannot hit. They are in near last place in hitting for the whole league, when last year they were a top 5 hitting team. As of 4-16-2015 they are hitting .207 as a team and showing no signs of climbing out of their slump. We had the Pirates cleaning up this division this year with the Cardinals squeaking in possibly. If the Pirates keep trending like this then it may come down to the Cubs and Cards for the division. Better yet, at this point the Cubs may have a better chance of totally taking this division over. Why?
Cubs offense is about to jump out of box and may dominate.
We knew the Cubs had some star hitters in the league like Rizzo and Castro, but the emergence of left handed outfielder Coughlin and catcher Wellington Castillo is a good surprise, but Jorge Soler is proving to be more than a second year player. So far he is head and shoulders the best hitter in the team and on pace to be more than an all- star caliber player. His .310 batting average and .586 slug puts him up there with the big boys in the league. Nobody would have thought he would be this good. On top of everything else is rookie sensation Kris Bryant. He is back and his presence will make the Chicago Cubs a force to really be reckoned with. So much so, that if the line up starts to click they may never look back! So the roads are open for the Cubs and there is only one thing that can hold them back.
If you thought I was going to say pitching or injuries, that would be a good guess. There pitching staff is not the best, but it is good enough to win and I believe that with the addition of Kris Bryant and the emergence of Jorge Soler that the depth of their line up may be able to take on an injury here and there. So what is that may be holding them back?
Cubs Hitting Coach John Mallee
New Hitting Coach John Mallee has been a coordinator and coach for a long time in the MLB. He is a gifted speaker and has written and produced many hitting videos and articles, and is an ambassador for the education of teaching hitters how to hit. One of the top speakers at any major convention at a lot of the popular baseball conventions. The problem is he has not had any success as a hitting coach while at Miami or the Astros. Both of these teams came in near last place in team batting average while he was there. Mallee is a teacher and likes to help players mechanically with their swing. He teaches a swing philosophy called linear hitting which is the most popular in Little League through the Minor Leagues.
The problem is the way her teaches hitting is not the way players naturally swing. MLB players have a slight upswing and use more muscles in their hips and back. Mallee, along with most other hitting coaches in pro ball know this but opt to teach the linear style instead. In our very deep research, we have seen a large percentage of hitters spiral into hitting depressions because of this type of an approach. As a matter of fact we have pointed out a number of different teams in Major League Baseball that have just tanked because of the hitting coaches failure to teach the right style of hitting. The hitting depression of the New York Yankees and their relationship with Hitting Coach Kevin Long would be a fine example of what we are taking about (referenced article http://moneyballhitter.com/new-york-yankees-2014-15-team-review/).
So far Mallee has been hands off with most of the veteran players and has been concentrating on the younger players mechanically. He was mostly hired to help potential star Javier Baez get his swing under control, but the exact opposite happened and he had to be sent down to Triple A again. So for a guru like Mallee, who has never proven he can help a actual team he coaches, his challenge will be to not get so involved with these Cubs hitters swings. Players like Rizzo, Castro, Castillo, Coughlin, Bryant, and really most of the Cubs line up have pro style lift swings that most championship ball clubs have.
The Cubs are ready to win a lot of games this year through their offense and ability to hit the ball out of the park better than any team in the league. If Mallee gets his base hit- linear style of philosophy in bred with this team than it could ruin the whole opportunity for the Cubs. We think he is chomping at the bit to get his voice heard with Cubs hitters and we think this is a real danger if and when he begins to do this. The Cubs do not want to swing linear and need a coach who really knows their swings. Mallee really does not, and like all other coaches in the MLB they do not understand the mechanics of MLB backside rotational hitting. They simply do not teach this style even though it is happening right before their very eyes.
Right now, Mallee should be ashamed that this line-up is only hitting .224 as of 4-16-2015. They are near the bittom in the league in this category, but if you watch their games, you can see them coming and when it catches with Kris Bryant in the line-up, then the Cubs really could be on their way. Our advice to a John Mallee. Stay out of the way mechanically and be supportive and positive. (For more on this topic with Mallee http://moneyballhitter.com/warning-chicago-cubs-hired-wrong-hitting-coach/)