The coaching staff
Next to the work of the closers, this might be the biggest letdown the Texas Rangers have seen this season. Sure, a lot of the blame does lay at the feet of the players, but the coaches have to put the players in the best positions to shine.
Overall grade: C-
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Now before I continue, let’s reiterate that manager Jeff Banister has proven himself worthy of the position in the past two seasons. Perhaps Rangers fans have been spoiled a bit by that, and he’s done so much in that time to raise the bar for himself. He’s essentially made his own job harder because he did so well those first two seasons.
But hitting coach Anthony Iapoce deserves a heap of the blame for this season’s massive strikeout totals. He may very well preach patience to the hitters, but he also needs to preach connecting with what you swing at or simply putting the ball in play.
On the flip-side, it’s been a rough season for pitching coach Doug Brocail as well. He’s tended to stick with starters a little longer than he should have on several occasions and yet has also pulled some too early and given the ball to the shaky bullpen before the timing worked better.
But second-guessing is also the nature of these positions. Perhaps the team numbers would look a lot better with some different approaches from the coaching staff. Or, after pushing so hard over the last two seasons, this year has been some backlash in the form of burnout for the team.
Coaching staff grade: D
Whatever the case, the team as a whole has underachieved and should be playing better than what they have proven they’re capable of before. It’s not too late to make some minor tweaks and turn things around. It’s ultimately on the coaching staff and front office to make that happen. Hopefully, the second half will look better than the first, and that final report card will blow this one away.