Baseball’s Winter Meetings start tomorrow in Nashville. Last year’s haul from the Winter Meetings were Ross Detwiler, Delino DeShields and Scott Barnes (who the Rangers turned around and released a few days later).
So in celebration of the beginning of potential game-changing deals, and this being the last day of Elvis week, and this being the possible last week of Elvis as a Ranger, here is an article about how Elvis found some potential career-saving offense.
I could not bring myself to end Elvis week by reprinting the recap from Game 5 in which Elvis ended the Rangers season. So here is an article from September 1 that talked about Elvis’s turnaround at the plate. Hopefully he can take this into next season.
Rangers’ hitting coach Dave Magadan has to feel pretty good about the offensive turnarounds he has seen from three of his key players.
Shin-Soo Choo was left for dead the first half of the season, really the entire year and a half he has been a Texas Ranger. He wasn’t getting at-bats against left-handed pitchers, and wasn’t getting hits against right-handers. Then he got great advice from his hitting coach, and turned around his season.
Elvis Andrus’s offensive slide was entering its third full season. At an age when most players see improvement, Andrus was seeing his career slip away. Then he got great advice from his hitting coach, and turned around his season.
Everyone has been waiting for the wheels to fall off of the Delino DeShields train all season long. DeShields has exceeded everyone’s expectations. But once he hit his first major league home run, he pretty much stopped hitting. Then he got advice from his hitting coach, and turned around his slump.
All three players, Shoo, Andrus and DeShields, salvaged their seasons by turning to their hitting coach to pull them out of their funks.
For Choo, it was his wife.
For Andrus, it was Josh Hamilton.
For DeShields, his dad.
Choo’s wife, Won Mi Ha, told him a fable in which everybody’s life is like a building, it needs a solid foundation. She told Choo that he built his building on solid ground and when it gets shaken it will stand up sturdy. The advice sank in. Before the talk at the All-Star break, Choo was hitting .221 with an on base percentage of .305. He is hitting .314 with an incredible .424 on base percentate after the break after the advice.
Elvis Andrus had developed into the poster child for everything that is wrong with the Rangers offense. Then one day, while hitting in the cage with Josh Hamilton, Hamilton challenged him to just go for it. Air it out. Swing hard and see what happens. Hamilton gave him his leg kick and his heavier bat. That was two weeks ago. Since then, Andrus is hitting .325 with an OPS of .882. He has three doubles, a triple, a home run and five RBIs.
Delino DeShields has been in a slump ever since he hit his first major league home run. He didn’t notice what was happening, but his hitting coach did. His dad called him and told him he didn’t look right. He wasn’t relaxed, he was trying too hard, and swinging for the fences. His swing was getting big. The last seven days, after his average fell to a season low .252, he’s hitting .435 with an on base percentage of .500 and an OPS that is a crazy 1,239.
Prince Fielder is struggling for the first time this season. Dave Magadan is trying to figure out whether Prince should call his wife, his dad, or another player to get out of his slump.
Magadan is earning his salary.