After getting rid of their hitting coaches following a season where several players took steps back with the bat, the Phillies have, according to one report, settled on a new coach.
News: Kevin Long is going to join Joe Girardi's staff as a hitting coach, sources tell me and @MattGelb.— Britt Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) October 11, 2021
The former Nationals hitting coach will be reunited with Girardi and Rob Thomson, who he coached with in New York. Will also be reunited with Bryce Harper.
Long should be plenty familiar with Phillies fans since he has been with the Nationals for a few years now. He was part of the hitting staff that has taken Juan Soto to another level, helped Trea Turner and Anthony Rendon become feared with the lumber and also has a previous history with Joe Girardi in New York. He also worked with Bryce Harper when Harper was a member of the Nationals, so the team’s biggest star gets to work with someone who he is familiar with.
Of course, with the success stories come the failures, as it is with any hitting coach, and the Nationals have had some failures in the past few years. Victor Robles and Carter Kieboom are two of the higher profile prospects that have struggled to establish themselves. There also has to be the question of is Long, or any hitting coach for that matter, deserving of the credit of taking already good hitters like Soto and Turner and turning them into something great, or does most of the success belong to the players and their natural gifts?
That’s a question for a more philosophical piece, but for now, we have someone who has had a track record of helping players coming to a Phillies team that has several projects for him to work with coughalecbohmcough. Time will tell what Long is able to do.