Something about Frank Menechino stood out to Marlins Manager Mike Redmond. Heading into a season in which he seeks a drastic offensive turnaround, Redmond was very selective when choosing a new hitting coach. Menechino's attributes and history earned him the job.
"What impressed all of us is his energy," manager Mike Redmond said of Menechino in an interview with MLB.com."Obviously you need energy with a lot of young guys."
Miami's youthful team consistently struggled offensively throughout the 2013 campaign. They finished last in the majors in runs scored, home runs, batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage.
Part of the inconsistencies are a result of constant changes. Tino Martinez resigned in June, and the Marlins over the past couple of seasons have had a difficult time finding one permanent hitting instructor. Redmond hopes that changes with Menechino.
Having been an infielder at the major league level, Menechino opposed Redmond on several occasions, explaining that he "admired the way [Menechino] played because he was a grinder and a guy who earned everything he got in the game as a player."
With five years of experience coming within the Yankees organization, Menechino is familiar with the offensive mindset necessary to win games. Both Redmond and Menechino are expecting hitters to take a stereotypical "small ball" approach at the plate, as playoff teams such as the St. Louis Cardinals and Red Sox had done throughout the regular season.
"You talk about winning baseball," Redmond said. "You talk about playoff teams. You talk about what do these guys do that the other teams don't? It is the little things. It is unselfish baseball. It's getting the guy over from second with less than two outs. It's driving the run in with less than two outs and the infield back. It could be a ground ball to short or a ground ball to first, whatever it takes to get that run in."
In addition to being last in MLB with poor numbers in several key offensive categories, the Marlins were also 24-35 in one-run games, according to MLB.com. Miami's strong pitching staff, led by Jose Fernandez, frequently kept them in games. The team was also shut out 18 times.
"You look at our record over the course of the year and how many one-run games we played in," Redmond said. "You look back at the offense, and you ask, 'Where could we have driven that run in, where could we have moved that guy over that could have maybe won us 10 more ballgames or whatever?'"
Miami's youth contributed significantly to the team's struggles at the plate. Because of several injuries and inconsistent rookie performances, the Marlins' lineup wasn't typically the same on a daily basis.
In the coming weeks, Menechino will spend time watching game tapes and studying hitters' approaches. The real challenge will come when Spring Training starts in March.
"There is a process," Redmond said. "He's got to see the guys play. You can watch all the video you want, but he's going to go into Spring Training and get a feel for the guys, and learn and evaluate as he goes. I think he brings a lot to the table. He's coached in the Yankees' system for a few years. We're excited to have him."
Miami Marlins Manager Mike Redmond, hoping to see an offensive improvement, believes his hitters will adopt an approach similar to that of recently hired hitting coach Frank Menechino, who was previously in the Yankees organization.