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Dave Magadan leaving as Arizona Diamondbacks hitting coach

Well, that didn’t take long.

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Chicago Cubs v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

The 2018 regular season might technically not be over - the play-in games today still count - but the D-backs have already begun to make moves. They’ve announced that almost all the coaching staff have been retained, and will be back in 2019. Here’s the list of those returning, as announced by the team this morning:

  • Mike Butcher (pitching coach)
  • Mike Fetters (bullpen)
  • Robby Hammock (quality control & catching)
  • Dave McKay (first base)
  • Jerry Narron (bench)
  • Tony Perezchica (third base)
  • Luis Urueta (coach)

There is, obviously, one significant name missing from that list, as the follow-up Tweet below made clear:

There’s no doubt that the D-backs offense was underwhelming this year, though it does appear Dave Magadan also wanted to be closer to his family. It is notable that the team’s batting average declined every season, since Magadan took over after the 2015 season. However, this was not necessarily his fault, and overall offense - both as measured by OPS and runs per game - didn’t show quite the same consistently downward trend. There’s also the factor of the humidor to be taken into account, which certainly appears to have had a dampening effect on the team’s hitting at Chase this year. And, of course, offense overall was down, by 0.21 runs in the NL.

However, the D-backs’ output dropped by considerably more than that. They averaged over five runs per year in 2018, but only 4.28, dropping by almost three-quarters of a run. The team collectively batted only .235, eleven points below the previous worst in franchise history (.246 in 1998). Although Arizona’s walk-rate was almost unchanged, their home-runs were also down, with forty-four fewer being hit than in last season’s record-setting barrage of 220 homers. All told, OPS slumped by 67 points. According to Torey Lovullo, “The offensive performance wasn’t up to what I felt like was our capabilities.”

It will be interesting to see what this means for Robert Van Scoyoc. He was hired as a hitting strategist before this season, having apparently helped J.D. Martinez blossom, but didn’t appear to be able to work similar magic in the D-backs clubhouse. An early emphasis on “tunneling” did not lead to sustained success, and rumblings suggest it was perhaps an overcomplex approach to the issue. It does not appear the team will be looking at Van Scoyoc as a replacement for Magadan, Mike Hazen saying he envisages a broader role: “A little less with the major league club and more all-encompassing with the draft and our player development group.”