For some, having a misconnection with millennials can cause a rift in communications. For Chili Davis, it costed him his job as hitting coach of the Chicago Cubs. The hitting coach has now been fired in consecutive seasons, first with the Boston Red Sox after the 2017 season, and then after the past season with the Cubs. Supposedly Theo Epstein, the brain trust of the Cubs did not want to fire Davis, but were forced to when he faced pressure from Cubs stars Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant. John Harper of sny.tv wrote on the situation that “”He caved,” was the way one person close to the situation put it. He’s not happy about it. He thinks its BS that the players complained about Chili, but he wasn’t going to stick with his hitting coach just to make a point.”
As a player, Davis was a career .274 hitter, and he was able to slug 350 home runs to pair with 1,372 RBIs. As a coach, Davis has had three jobs in three seasons after joining the New York Mets. There are a couple of ways to look at his tenure with his most recent teams. With the Red Sox in 2016, the Davis-coached lineup batted .282 as a collective. That team consisted of four players that hit over .300, and if you expand your scope to batters that hit over .280, there would be five players on the list. Davis is also credited with helping super-utility man Ben Zobrist achieve a renaissance season with the Cubs in 2018.
Of course, there were downsides to Davis’s tenures. Following the very successful 2016 season, the offense of the Red Sox dipped all the way to 13th in the MLB in 2017, and Davis was subsequently fired. The Cubs finished fourth in batting average last season, but poor showings from Kyle Schwarber and Bryant paired with some of the players’ disdain for Davis led to his quick departure from the Cubs. The Mets are looking for a more extended stay out of Davis, which will count on him taking the team out of the offensive gutter that they were in last season.
Simply put, the 2018 Mets were in the basement of MLB offenses. They finished tied for last in the MLB in team batting average last season with the Philadelphia Phillies, and 24th in OPS. Both the Phillies and the Mets should be far and away better offensively than they were in 2018 thanks to some additions that they made. Robinson Cano, Jed Lowrie, and a more healthy usage of Jeff McNeil should help the Mets in their attempt to become more offensively adept in their everyday lineup. Where Davis could truly make an impact however is in the bench players on the Mets roster.
The Mets have made a commitment this offseason to creating depth on the roster, and they have done so with additions like Keon Broxton and J.D. Davis. Those are two players that have high potential, and still time to learn under their new hitting coach. If the Mets are able to have a deep, dangerous lineup, it could potentially separate them from rest of the NL East.