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Kevin Long

Batting Coach Kevin Long Takes the Hits

It’s no secret that the Mets are struggling to score runs again this year. They have a slugger heavy lineup that can produce runs suddenly, but not consistently. We wrote about our concern for the Mets run scoring ability back in February. For hitting coach Kevin Long, the all or nothing offense is a familiar sight.
He became the hitting coach for the Yankees’ Triple-A team, the Columbus Clippers, in 2004. In 2007 he was promoted to the big league club. The 50-year-old spent 7 years as the Yankees’ hitting coach, leading high-powered offenses to a 2009 World Series. But after 2 years of under performance in 2013 and 2014, Long was let go. The Mets signed him as hitting coach a week later that winter. Many think that he was hired to help his former disciple Curtis Granderson, who had struggled mightily in his first year with the Mets.

Kevin Long’s Record as Hitting Coach

Let’s look at how Long’s teams have ranked in some batting stats compared to the other teams in their respective leagues.

YearTeamRunsHROBP
2007NYY968(1)201(1).366(1)
2008NYY789(7)180(4).342(3)
2009NYY915(1)244(1).362(1)
2010NYY859(1)201(3).350(1)
2011NYY867(2)222(1).343(2)
2012NYY804(2)245(1).336(1)
2013NYY650(10)144(14).307(12)
2014NYY633(13)147(7).307(14)
2015NYM683(7)177(3).312(10)
2016NYM671(11)218(2).316(12)

Despite all the home runs, in the last 4 years his teams have trailed in total runs scored and on base percentage. Is it Kevin Long’s fault that the Mets have struggled to consistently score runs? A lot of the fault lay in the construction of the roster. Sandy Alderson has always been a proponent of the home run. But he has also preached high OBP, which the current lineup is largely weak in. A lack of team speed also costs the Mets. It’s not that stolen bases are critical, but the ability to advance from first to third or score from second on a single is important.
Long is well aware of the blame that a hitting coach takes. As he said in an interview with NJ.com in 2015:

It’s easy to point fingers at hitting coaches or pitching coaches or managers. Baseball is such a streaky game. You’re going to to through ups and downs. There is always going to be a time where you can point to the offense or point to the pitching or point to the manager for maybe not pushing the right buttons. So, yeah, there’s some volatility involved in this game and you just kind of have to fight through it.

Long’s contract ends after this season. With it also possibly being Terry Collins last season, it could be a “Long” goodbye as well.