If I had to pick a Cardinal player with the sweetest swing that allowed him to hit for power and for average within the past 20 years, it would undoubtedly be John Mabry.
It's so good, so true that he could launch one into the stands with a powerful swing or hit bullets into gaps and to the wall for big base hits and game changing doubles.
And now he's the Cardinals' hitting coach.
I got to tell you, this is going to be awesome. Mabry is the kind of guy who could impact the team in such a way that you'll see more runs and extra bases produced on singles and doubles alone that I'm sure there'll be some sort of stat out there that puts the Cardinals at the top for accumulating the most runs by hitting the fewest home runs. Look for more lasers pulled into the corners, more shots up the middle, and ground balls hit so hard there's going to be close calls at first base if not plenty of beat out plays by Cardinal runners, because Mabry hit some pretty hard balls in his playing days and beat out many close plays. He certainly gave infielders tough stuff to handle and I have no doubt his teachings will cause current Cardinals to do the same.
You're going to see a nice stride in guys like Matt Carpenter, Daniel Descalso (who could use an offensive tune-up) and bench players like Adron Chambers. Mabry is going to be an extra kick this team is going to benefit from in 2013 to make the NL Central a close race and once again the Wild Card.
I really like what Mike Matheny and the Cardinals' front office is doing by using former players and promoting from the minor leagues to have this unique, and clearly, effective staff to produce a contending team. I'm still not keen on the pitching coach situation, who knows if Derek Lilliquist will accept the team's offer to come back, and I think he deserves a second shot at working with the pitchers for a full season so his coaching skills and impact can be analyzed. But I won't be sad if it's Andy Benes, Cal Eldred, or if I really had to choose, Ken Hill (that's right from back in the '90s).
Is it 2013 yet? Because I'm ready for the new baseball season to start.
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