We have only a vague idea about who the players on the 2022 Marlins major league roster will be, but the coaching staff responsible for bringing out the best in them was officially set on Wednesday.
The Miami Marlins today announced that Marcus Thames will join the club as Major League Hitting Coach. Additionally, Al Pedrique will serve as Third Base and Infield Coach, Edwar González will be Assistant Hitting Coach and Eric Duncan has been named Quality Assurance Coach. pic.twitter.com/OzlcRelDXi— Marlins Communications (@MarlinsComms) November 17, 2021
Thames and Edwar González fill the shoes of Eric Duncan and Robert Rodríguez, respectively, though Duncan was still retained as quality assurance coach. Pedrique takes over for Trey Hillman.
The role of quality assurance coach is relatively new in baseball. The Cubs, Dodgers and Angels are among the MLB teams who have used one over the last decade.
I speculated last month that Thames was a potential candidate given his relationship with Derek Jeter—they were teammates on the 2010 Yankees. Lindsey Adler of The Athletic notes that his connections to Gary Denbo and James Rowson likely factored into this, too:
Marcus Thames has a lot of connections in Miami, aka Yankees South. Particularly with Marlins VP of Scouting and PD, Gary Denbo, who was one of Marcus’ first hitting coaches in pro ball. And James Rowson, the Marlins’ bench coach, is a close friend. https://t.co/GmadbTDSFI— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) November 17, 2021
This season, under the guidance of Rowson, Duncan and Rodríguez, Marlins batters had the second-highest chase rate among MLB teams and the worst weighted run value against fastballs, according to FanGraphs. Unsurprisingly, they struggled to score.
Thames is at least the 11th ex-Yankees coach to come to Miami in the four-plus years since the franchise’s ownership change (h/t Eli Fishman).
Although Pedrique worked for Triple-A Jacksonville in 2021, he is undoubtedly qualified for this role change. The 61-year-old previously coached third base in the majors for the Royals and Athletics. While managing the Jumbo Shrimp to a 75-55 record—.577 winning percentage was tops among Marlins affiliates—he got well-acquainted with Lewin Díaz and other young infielders who could impact the 2022 team.