Why Joe Mather was a Brilliant Coaching hire by the Diamondbacks
By Jake Oliver
Joe Mather is the Diamondbacks’ Newest Hitting Coach, why it was a GREAT MOVE by Torey and Mike Hazen
The Diamondbacks entered this off-season with a multitude of goals from hiring a new pitching coach, bench coach, bullpen makeover, and so much more, but perhaps none was as important as hiring a hitting coach that could finally unlock the potential of consistency from this lineup. This lineup that Torey and Hazen have constructed would far too often display a week of excellence followed by a month-long slump by near everyone in the lineup. It was so aggravating how they would tease fans of the lineup’s potential more than a “will-they, will-they not crime detective series”. Thus, that is why the Diamondbacks jumped the market in making sure that they got the hitting coach that they wanted. This coach was going to have an enormous influence on the organization since he would be determining the hitting strategy for the entire organization. So, a week or so ago, the team announced that they were hiring Joe Mather to be their new Hitting Coach and Director so to say.
Joe Mather’s new duties will not just be fixing the MLB team’s lineup, but to run a coaching staff of his own. Joe and Torey will hire three assistant coaches to serve under Mather. The head assistant will be the team’s assistant hitting coach that mainly stays with the MLB team. The other two will be responsible for the minor leagues’ teams too.
What does that mean exactly? Well, the organization determined that our young hitters coming to the bigs were struggling due to a mixture of methods that were being taught/coached from the lower levels to the bigs. With Mather and his team being put in place eventually, the two assistants for the Minor Leagues will team up with the hitting coach of each Minor League team to ensure that the same hitting philosophy and coaching is being taught from the lowest levels of the Minors through to the Majors. They’ll rotate through each level preaching the same information that Joe is.
This way, the entire organization is moving in one formation from a hitting perspective. It makes sense as you want your minor leaguers to be taught the same thing as our big leaguers so that when they reach the Show, they are already prepared. I honestly don’t know why this wasn’t being done already. However, supposedly this is the first format in the MLB to be doing this. The Dbacks are scientists and Joe Mather is their guinea pig.
Why Joe Mather was a home run hire
Reportedly, Torey wanted 3 things in his next hitting coach that he was searching for. They were how does the coach respond above the neck, or how good of a teacher is he, does he understand bat planes, or how the bat enters/leaves the strike zone, and how to position batters for the most success. Joe showcased that he was great in each of these three factors.
Additionally, Joe has experience playing in the Majors recently, with the Dbacks, and came well regarded by his former employer and the players he coached. He played in the MLB at various times over the 2008-12 years with the Cubs, Braves, and Cardinals. After he retired, he took a coaching job with the Diamondbacks organization. He ended up coaching for the Dbacks from 2015 to 2019 under a variety of roles. The most recent was as the Dbacks’ MILB Field/Hitting Coordinator in 2019.
At the beginning of 2020, he agreed to become the Reds’ assistant hitting coach. A role that many Reds players believe helped them have the best seasons of their career in 2021. Tucker Barnhart, Nick Castellanos, Jesse Winker, Taylor Stephenson, and others each had their best career offensive years. Joey Votto re-established himself as a power hitter in the Majors after multiple seasons with a dwindling slugging percentage. Mather was credited as being a key part of helping raise the Cinncinnati Reds’ batting average from .212 in 2020 to .249 in 2021. That went from being the worst to the 6th best.
Obviously the Dbacks, and I, think that he can find similar success in Arizona. Of course, I think it’s a smash hire because Mather doesn’t just believe in fly balls or home runs. I’m tired of the strikeout or home run, all-or-nothing approach. It’s boring. Joe believes the same as he lives by the line-drive creed.
Joe believes that line drives are better than flyballs. I agree too. Plus, he has some coaching philosophies that I completely agree with. One is that he’ll pair a hitter that’s doing well in their system with a hitter that’s struggling as players can often help each other understand the system better sometimes and give another voice. Another factor that I agree with is that he pushes players rather than lets them relax. I agree. You can’t get better if you’re not constantly pushing to be better. As such, he’ll raise the velocity/intensity of pitches during their hitting practice so batters can keep getting adjusted to faster and faster pitching. This will help our batters catch up to the fastballs they would often swing through last season.
All in all, I’m impressed by this hire by Torey and Mike. I think Joe’s got tremendous potential and will help improve this team a ton! It’s not like the team could get much worse anyway. Only one way to go and that’s up! Let’s go, Mather, welcome back to Arizona. Oh, one more fun tidbit about Mather is that the 39-year old is from Ahwatukee, Arizona, and was drafted out of Mountain Pointe High School. Got to love those Valley connections!
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May the Force be with You…