It will take two hitting coaches, the Royals believe, to get a youthful lineup to realize its full potential; two former big-league hitting coaches who already have a working relationship with nearly all of the club’s cornerstone players.
The Royals raided their minor-league staff Wednesday morning in hiring Jack Maloof and Andre David to fill the duties held over the previous four seasons by Kevin Seitzer. The Royals fired Seitzer one day after the 2012 season ended.
“Jack and Andre have done a tremendous job developing young hitters throughout their careers,” general manager Dayton Moore said, “and are highly respected among both the players and their peers.”
Maloof, 63, will serve as the primary hitting coach and be on the bench during games. David, 54, will be an assistant whose game-time duties must, by rules, be restricted. They will be determined at a later time.
“Certainly, Andre is part of this transition,” said Maloof, who just completed his fifth season with the organization. “He can throw (batting practice), and he throws left-handed. I don’t throw. He’ll do a lot of cage work underneath, a lot of early work.
“He’ll be an asset for me, another pair of eyes. We’ve worked well together for the last five years. We’re going to complement each other really well and to the benefit of our players.”
Maloof was the Marlins’ hitting coach from 1999-2001, while David served as the Royals’ hitting coach from May 30, 2005 to May 1, 2006.
“Jack and I are on the same page,” said David, who has spent 14 years with the Royals in various roles. “We know the ins and outs of these kids. It’s a relationship that works. I’m looking forward to it, and we’re preparing already.”
Maloof served the last three seasons as the Royals’ minor-league hitting instructor – a position that David held until shifting to become the hitting coach for Surprise in the Arizona Rookie League.
“We had a lot of these players in the minor leagues,” Maloof said, “and watched them develop and make it to the big leagues. I know there are expectations, and that’s fine, but I’m looking at their potential more than their expectations.
“If we can get them to reach their potential, certainly on a consistent basis, the expectations will take care of themselves.”
The concept of employing two hitting coaches is growing. The Phillies hired ex-Royals first baseman Wally Joyner earlier this month to serve as Steve Henderson’s assistant. St. Louis, Atlanta and San Diego employed two hitting coaches this season.
“It’s been that way with the pitching for a number of years,” Maloof said. “Obviously, there’s a major-league pitching coach, but there’s a bullpen coach who is around those pitchers a lot.
“With video and (the need for) an eye in the sky behind home plate, you get a (perspective) that you can’t see from the dugout.”