Coach - You Call It


#1

The player who is 7th in the batting order is on a hot streak. In fact, he’s been that way for the last four games. He makes quality contact, puts the ball in play without hitting to a double play, and gets on base.

You’re sent a note from the player’s agent that suggests making this guy your lead-off hitter. You’re told that because this batter has quality contacts, he’s a natural for getting on base.

Strictly from a game plan point of view, what are you gonna do coach?


#2

Ignore the agent & listen to your gut.


#3

Some guys bat better lower in the order than higher in the order (e.g., My son’s always been better at 4,5,6 than 1,2,3,). Depends on what the player has done batting at the top.


#4

Ignore the agent until the player comes and talks directly to you about potentially moving in the order and why he thinks he can perform equally well there.
This could potentially be the Agent putting this thought (if he’s discussed it at all with the player) in the players head since top of the order guys can ask for more money come contract time… more money for the Player means more money for the Agent.


#5

As the coach, you already know what your 7-hole hitter is doing and don’t need an agent to tell you that. He’s probably your #7 because he’s a head-case or else he’d already have been moved up to #2. If he’s on that hot of streak though you would probably want to move him up to 5/6 at first and see if he can handle that. If he maintains his numbers keep moving him up if there are people struggling ahead of him. If not just leave him alone.


#6

So many variables to consider. Is the 6th hitter hitting well and benefiting from the 7th guy’s hot streak? Is the 7th guy’s success helping 4, 5 and 6? What is the 8th guy doing? Is the lead off not performing well? You only move a guy that is hitting well at 7 if there are multiple areas of improvement that will potentially come from him being moved. The end game, the 7 guy is protecting 4, 5, and 6. If he goes to lead off he isn’t protecting anyone. How many more at bats does he get in a week? 2, maybe 3?


#7

4 Game Hot Streak??? LMAO!! That is an oxymoron.

So he has been hot for less than a week!! WOW! Maybe he hasn’t hit into double plays because my no 5 or 6 hitter is not getting on or they are good hitters and clearing the bases. Glad he is DOING HIS JOB and getting on base.

Player stays exactly where I WANT him in the lineup and I send a note to the agent to kindly keep his mouth shut and that if he wants to manage my team he can try to get my job when my contract is up. In that note I would also suggest that he do his job and try and secure the biggest contract he can for his player with a 4 GAME HIT STREAK! (The Yankee Clipper is shaking in his grave…)


#8

I was wondering if someone was going to comment on the 4-game streak not really being much of a streak.

So if this player is now on a 4-game hot streak then, prior to that, he must have been on a cold streak (or maybe a mediocre streak). So how long was that streak?


#9

I deliberately posted this situation because it is a common state of being for every coach in the competitive ranks of baseball. I also deliberately BLANKED out certain portions of my post so you can fill in those blanks based on your experiences, either from the coaching ranks, captain of your club, or just within earshot of the experience(s). I especially liked the response from dsteg and oc2viking.

The player who is ____ in the batting order is on a hot streak. In fact, he’s been that way for the last _____ games. He makes quality contact, puts the ball in play without hitting to a double play, and gets on base.

You’re sent a _______ from the player’s _________ that suggests making this guy your ______ hitter. You’re told that because this batter has _________, he’s a natural for ___________.

So, can you fill in the blanks about your experiences.


#10

Hey Coach,

Glad you liked my response. As a HS coach, I have seen all kinds of stuff. We actually had an “agent” (father) bring us the stats of his kid from Little League through Travel ball as he came out for the team (JV) from another school. We were told this player is going to be the best catcher on our squad!! When he hands me the papers I asked what they were. When he told me I asked if he had copies! He said he did have copies and upon that I walked over to the trash can and threw them away. I think I pissed him off… not sure.

As for your note, at the youth level this is happened in reverse and is what the major part of “daddy-ball.” Here is your note but at the youth level.

The player who is 3RD in the batting order is NOT on a hot streak. In fact, he’s been that way for the last 20 games (out of a 22 game season). He makes NO quality contact, DOES NOT put the ball in play and therefore doesn’t hit into double plays, and NEVER gets on base.

I sent this EMAIL to the player’s MANAGER/DAD that suggests making this guy your BOTTOM OF THE LINE-UP hitter. I was told that because this batter IS HAVING TROUBLE, he’s a natural for BATTING 3rd TO GIVE HIM MORE AT BATS.

I essentially sent this email to my son’s manager (10u/11u) this past year and in that email suggested a batting order based on actual batting stats and a professional mentality. I was ASKED TO BE AN ASSISTANT Coach by the manager as I have coached for years up to the High School level (was on the HS Staff at the time) and was able to help during most practices.

The manager’s son batted 3rd in EVERY GAME and by game 16 he was batting .142. YES!!! .142 in little league!!! (I really didnt think that was possible) I suggested that he move his son to the last place in the order and move kids that are batting .500 up from 7th or 8th or 9th into the 3rd spot. This was a private email from a coach to the manager - not from parent to manager.

The manager of the team took this private email and called a parents meeting. He made a printed copy of the email and handed it out to each parent. I guess he was attempting to make me look bad. Most of the parents of the players agreed and more than a few were wondering why their child was batting last or near last while the manager and his best friend’s kid (who was also a coach) were batting 2nd and 3rd. He explained that he was batting those two kids at the top of the order to give them more attempts as a way to help them! Hey… I got some ocean front property in Kansas for sale!

After this meeting I informed him I would no longer be available to help with practice. I was not about to give another ounce of help to someone with this kind of personality. I never did like his coaching style and I was pretty upset when he picked my kid during the drafting of the teams, but didn’t make waves and knew he couldn’t mess up my kid as I spend a substantial amount of time teaching my son… and…hell… it is just rec ball! I never said a word to him about it, but he knew I didn’t like how he coach. (Long story… )

The parents that stayed and watched practice over the next couple weeks got pretty upset because this “manager” and his other “coaches” (who were dads that really had no training in coaching and were just there to be with their kids) at how practice degraded substantially. I watched from the stands and even pulled my son from one practice because of the bad things they were teaching and I didn’t want to learn bad habits.

The manager got pretty upset over the course of the next couple weeks and I was called out by the manager after a game a couple weeks after the parent meeting. He blamed me for causing trouble with the team and showing the kids a bad example by “quitting” and pulling my son from practice. He confronted me about writing his kid was the worst batter on the team (well… he was… he was batting .138 at the time) and because (as a “back east guy”) I tend to get a little loud I stood my ground. Well… the good 'ol boy network within most Little Leagues got wind of our “argument” (hmmm… yes that manager reported me as arguing with him - against the “Code Of Conduct”) and I have been put on “suspension” from managing/coaching for the next year.

Well, I have placed myself on suspension, being that our son has moved on from rec ball.

You asked about our experiences… LOL!!!


#11

Good question Roger
I was wondering if someone was going to comment on the 4-game streak not really being much of a streak.

So, what would someone consider a good streak? How many games? How much at bat during those games? Maybe a combination of games and times at bat?

Say… getting on base five times at bat each game for 4 games? Or how about getting on base with hitting 3 times at bat during each time for 3 games?

What’s your definition of a streak at bat?

Just so we don’t get bogged down in details - let’s assume that the competition was equal on both sides across the board.


#12

It would have to be a combination of how many games, how many at bats, how many hits, the nature of those hits (multi-base hits vs. hard-hit singles vs. swinging bunts, wiffs etc. that just happened to result in hits) and any other intangibles (e.g. how have they done in practice, their attitude, work ethic, team chemistry, etc.).