The Blue Jays continued to move toward finalizing their coaching staff, hiring Dave Hudgens as their bench coach for next season.
The Blue Jays have continued to work on their offseason checklist, adding to their coaching staff on Wednesday.
The team announced that they had hired Dave Hudgens as the new bench coach, who had spent last season as the hitting coach for the Houston Astros. The 61 year old has plenty of coaching experience dating back as far as 1985, and continues the trend of experience on the new staff.
Hudgens has worked for the Oakland A’s early in his coaching career as a minor league and winter ball manager, and more recently has been known as a hitting coach. He obviously found success recently with the Astros as well, as many stars like Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, George Springer, Carlos Correa, and more have flourished under his watch when they’ve been healthy. They also won a World Series ring in 2017, and are known as one of the more advanced clubs when it comes to deeper statistical analysis.
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Prior to working with the Astros, Hudgens had been the hitting coach with the Mets from 2011-2014, and there were more successful hitters in New York back then than you may remember. He’s not going to be the hitting coach in Toronto, but there’s nothing wrong with having another successful hitting eye on the coaching staff, as long as everyone is on the same page. In fact, notable writer and blogger Ian Hunter even pointed out that the Astros had the highest wRC+ over the four years he was their hitting coach.
Hudgens’ hiring also means that DeMarlo Hale will not be back in 2019, as he had served as the bench coach under John Gibbons. At one time Hale was thought to be a serious candidate for future managing consideration, but it’s unclear if he was ever seriously considered this time around.
In the coming days and maybe weeks, it’s expected the Blue Jays will finalize the rest of their coaching staff. We do know that Brook Jacoby won’t be back as the hitting coach in 2019, so hopefully whomever is hired will agree with Hudgen’s hitting philosophies as well. It looks like the man knows what he’s talking about. The numbers speak for themselves.