Reds new hitting coach will have his work cut out for him

Cincinnati Reds hitting coach Joel McKeithan
Cincinnati Reds hitting coach Joel McKeithan / Sam Wasson/GettyImages

After several weeks of waiting, the Cincinnati Reds finally found their new hitting coach. Apparently, he was in the building the entire time.

The Reds will turn to 31-year-old Joel McKeithan to lead the way for Cincinnati's hitters in 2023. McKeithan, who was the Reds assistant hitting coach last year, will be replacing Alan Zinter who was let go shortly after the conclusion of the 2022 season.

McKeithan has a bit of experience outside the Reds organization as he had previously served as the Detroit Tigers minor league hitting coordinator before joining Cincinnati last year. McKeithan will have his work cut out for him in 2023.

Reds hitting coach Joel McKeithan will have his work cut out for him.

Let's face it, the Cincinnati Reds were bad at almost everything in 2022. You don't lose 100 games without having a variety of glaring weaknesses.

Some folks will point to the defense, and that was certainly disastrous in 2022. The Reds ranked 28th in defensive runs saved, and had it not been for Aristides Aquino's 20 DRS, Cincinnati would've finished in last place.

Cincinnati's pitching staff performed poorly as well. The hurlers, as a whole, ranked 28th ERA with only the Washington Nationals and Colorado Rockies finishing below them. The Reds piled up the strikeouts (1414), but also led the league in walks (612).

But one of the biggest weaknesses on last year's team was the hitting. While injuries played a part, that's no excuse for some of the numbers the Redlegs up in 2022. Cincinnati ranked 21st in batting average, 24th in on-base percentage, and 26th in slugging.

Reds batters posted a 23.9% strikeout-rate, which was seventh-highest in the league. The team also put up a paltry wRC+ of 84, meaning Cincinnati hitters were 16% below league average. That puts them in the same camp as the Pittsburgh Pirates, Detroit Tigers, and Oakland Athletics.

Now you can see why new hitting coach Joel McKeithan has such a tough task ahead of him. Cincinnati Reds GM Nick Krall praised McKeithan's work with Brandon Drury who had a breakout performance last season.

If McKeithan can find a way to transform the Cincinnati hitters from a bunch of below-average, free-swinging, strikeout-prone hackers, then this is a home run hire by the Reds.

Dream starting lineup for the 2023 Cincinnati Reds. dark. Next