Pittsburgh Pirates Wake Up Call – Complacency in coaching?

In our daily Wake-Up Call, we get you ready for the day with a complete look at all things Pittsburgh Pirates.

Yesterday, MLB.com’s Adam Berry reported that the Pittsburgh Pirates will bring back the entirety of their coaching staff in 2018 and beyond.

With the club already having extended manager Clint Hurdle and general manager Neal Huntington, many felt that the coaching staff might see the most turnover. That will not be the case. By extending this group for two years, Huntington and Hurdle have sent a clear message that continuity is being held in higher esteem than any perceived need to “shake things up.”

While few Pittsburgh Pirates fans would be ready to part ways with Ray Searage or even Tom Prince or Dave Jauss, many feel that a change was needed with the team’s hitting coach, Jeff Branson.

Despite presiding over a club that carried a solid level of talent — even considering the absences of Starling Marte and Jung Ho Kang — that some clubs would envy, Branson was not able to wring the most out of his charges in 2017. A quick look at some selected team rates and rankings supports this:

Pirates hitter ranks - 2017

Batting StatFigure2017 NL Rank (15 teams)
wRC+8513th
fWAR1113th
ISO.14214th
wOBA.30413th

Perhaps it was the Marte and Kang absences that helped Branson keep his job. Afterall, if we look at the entirety of his time as the team’s hitting coach — 2013 through 2017 — we see that the Pittsburgh Pirates hitters posted the third highest wRC+ (97) in the National League.

Whether earned or not, the Pirates’ coaching staff will have another crack at getting this right.

Does this amount to staying the course, or settling into complacency after two disappointing seasons?

We’ll have to wait and see. Much like the Pittsburgh Pirates have decided to do by extending this group.

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Jason Rollison

Jason Rollison has been analyzing baseball and the Pirates in one way or another for 4+ years. Jason's previous stops include rumbunter.com, Pittsburgh Sporting News, Call To The Pen and several print publications. He also covers the State College Spikes for the Centre County Gazette (State College, PA) When it comes to analyzing baseball, he likes to take a middle-of-the-road approach, with one foot on the analytics side of the fence and the other on the old-school side. Having said that, he is a sucker for pitchf/x. Jason has appeared as a phone-in and in-studio guests in numerous outlets, including Trib Live Radio and 93.7 The Fan (CBS Sports Radio)