LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — I’ve posted a column posted on Kevin Seitzer, who I’m resisting the temptation to call the Braves’ next ex-hitting coach. That’s not meant to be a statement on Seitzer, who actually did a terrific job in Toronto last season (USA Today named him their hitting coach of the year), as much as it is the instability of the position and the Braves’ possible offensively challenged lineup in 2015.
Here’s a link to the column on MyAJC.com.
I spoke at length Tuesday with Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman for a column later this week. He likes Seitzer a lot but he doesn’t understand why his predecessor, Greg Walker, came under such criticism, amid poor offensive production by the team’s flawed lineup. (For the record, Walker phoned Braves executive John Hart with a week remaining in the season last year to say he was resigning.)
Freeman on Walker, Seitzer and hitting coaches in general: “It seems no one wants to blame the players as much as the hitting coach. I mean, it wasn’t Walker’s fault. We had the same hitting coaches in 2013 and absolutely killed it. We did strike out a lot but in 2014 we weren’t hitting the home runs that we were in 2013 so the strikeouts were magnified.
“Every hitting coach has close to the same philosophy, they just say it a little differently and are able to relate (to players) differently, with how it’s worded. Some people just need the words coming from a different mouth.”
Freeman also had strong comments that reflected what was so often written and said in the media, and by fans, last season — but usually denied publicly by the Braves.
“Having Jason Heyward hitting leadoff for you is not a well-constructed lineup,” said Freeman, and he was referring more to the personnel on the roster, not the lineup decisions of manager Fredi Gonzalez.
“We didn’t have a guy in the first or second hole to get on base to set the table. It was me and Justin (Upton) trying to get on base and set the table with two outs, and then hope for the best. Now I think we’re more built like the Royals. Maybe we won’t hit as many home runs, but we have guys who are going to fight for every at-bat.”
Good stuff from Freeman. For more on Seitzer, go to the column on MyAJC.com.
•Some recent ramblings from the digital jukebox
— MyAJC: By any name, Braves need a different Upton — AJC: How long should Braves give Upton to show improvement? — MyAJC: Braves have issues but McDowell not one of them — AJC: I still can’t talk to Roger McDowell without thinking of ‘The Second Spitter’ — AJC: Poll: Are expectations for Braves too low, high or about right? — MyAJC: Will Gonzalez be given some latitude during Braves’ rebuilding? — MyAJC: Falcons’ roster gutting could have big names — AJC: Data show Falcons got least (10-22) from most ($279.3 million) — MyAJC: Georgia shows why we still can’t assume success — AJC: Are Hawks getting Ray Allen? Odds site makes them favorite — MyAJC: Private agendas still at play in Hawks’ offices — AJC: Tiger Woods seems in danger of missing Masters (again) — AJC: Trade likely means Hawks are planning for something — MyAJC: Kyle Shanahan, the coach’s son, has absorbed a lot of jabs — AJC: Greg Hardy skates (and is he worth the risk for Falcons)? — MyAJC: Hawks’ deadline move wouldn’t hurt chemistry — AJC: Tech doing just fine, recruiting rankings notwithstanding — MyAJC: Dan Quinn’s ascent to top job was years in making — AJC: Forget trade talk — Dan Quinn wants Julio Jones on his team — AJC: Falcons need players but Dan Quinn is a good start — MyAJC: Tom Brady takes the air out of critics in Super Bowl — AJC: Short takes: Brady rallies Pats but Seahawks bungle ending — AJC: Another possible embarrassment for Falcons: Fake crowd noise — MyAJC: There’s no confusion about pecking order on Super Bowl teams — AJC: Dan Quinn could have final day on 53-man roster — MyAJC: Blank speaks but remains vague on Falcons’ restructuring — MyAJC: Tiger Woods’ problems aren’t just physical anymore