Gabe Kapler has been busy ever since he was named the new Phillies manager a few short weeks ago. He was given the tough task of finding the right staff that will create a strong balance of progressive and traditional baseball coaches. One name that really stands out thus far is the newly announced hitting coach, John Mallee.
John Mallee, interestingly enough, started his baseball career as a Phillie. He played two seasons for the Phillies in the minor leagues in 1991 and 1992 before deciding to focus on coaching. So, you could say he has a little bit of history with the franchise.
His resumé as a hitting coach isn’t lengthy, but he has been one of the best hitting coaches in the league since 2010. John has a track record of being around amazing players during their formative years. He started his hitting coach career serving the Marlins in two seasons from 2010-2011. Spending important years with a guy named Giancarlo Stanton, John helped the power hitter gain footing at the Major League level.
From the Marlins, Mallee moved on to the Astros where he served as hitting coach for three years from 2012-2014. Those weren’t particularly great seasons for the Astros but they were important growing years that molded the team into what they are today. And what they are today is something worth emulating. John spent time with an up and coming player in Jose Altuvé and watched him ascend to stardom. Under Mallee, Jose lead the league in hits and batting average in 2014. The Astros collectively led the league in home runs that year, too.
This then led to his most recent former employer, under which he commanded one of the most stellar offenses in baseball and won a World Series. That’s right, from 2015-2017 John Mallee was the hitting coach for the Cubs. Once again, he oversaw the rise of an MVP superstar in Kris Bryant. Molding Kris during his Rookie of the Year and MVP seasons, Mallee orchestrated a stellar offense and helped bring a championship to Chicago.
Now in the hands of a young club at, what hopes to be, the waning end of a tenuous rebuild, John Mallee has a new batch of young potential stars to mold. The Phillies are at the right stage for the Mallee midas touch and are chock-full of thirsty learners. Will he help Rhys Hoskins get to an MVP level? Could he boost J.P. Crawford to Rookie of the Year contention in 2018? Could he fix MaikelFranco? With Mallee’s resumé, all of that seems possible.
John Mallee has worked with superstars. More importantly, he has worked with players with superstar potential when they were young and developing. That is the exact kind of leadership that this young Phillies offense needs. This was an amazing get by the Phillies and, to me, an awesome move by Gabe Kapler.
While I’m sad to see Matt Stairs go, this hire softens the blow.