David Bell is in search of a new hitting coach after dismissing Alan Zinter following the end of the 2022 season. This will be the third time in five seasons that the Cincinnati Reds' manager will be looking for a new hitting coach.
The Reds were near the bottom of the barrel in several categories last season. Cincinnati ranked 10th in batting average, 11th in home runs, 13th in OPS, and 14th in doubles.
The Cleveland Guardians, on the other hand, were one of the biggest surprises in the American League last season. Cleveland ranked 4th in batting average, 6th in doubles, 7th in OPS, and 14th in home runs.
Could Guardians' assistant replace Reds hitting coach Alan Zinter?
The Cincinnati Reds do not have any sort of identity in the batters' box. In 2021, the Reds were swinging for the fences, and because of the presence of players like Jesse Winker, Nick Castellanos, Joey Votto, and Eugenio Suarez, the team was able to have success with that strategy.
Three of those four bats were absent from the team's 2022 roster, but the philosophy remained the same. Cincinnati does not have the type of players who can clear the fences with every swing of the bat, and Cleveland showed this past year that that type of approach is not necessary to have success.
Maybe Cincinnati should take a page out of Cleveland's playbook and hire the Guardians' assistant hitting coach to replace Alan Zinter. Victor Rodiguez has been alongside Terry Francona in Cleveland since 2018.
Prior to Rodriguez's stint with the Guardians, Rodriguez was the assistant hitting coach for then-Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell. Farrell just happens to be a special scouts for the Cincinnati Reds.
The Cleveland Guardians were the youngest team in Major League Baseball last season, and with prospects like Elly De La Cruz, Allan Cerda, and Matt McLain coming up through the farm system, the Cincinnati Reds' roster will be much younger heading into 2023 than it was last season.
Reds fans may have to wait until after the World Series to know who will succeed Alan Zinter as Cincinnati's hitting coach. The selection will be an interesting one, as it will likely dictate the hitting approach that the team will take heading into the 2023 season.