The Los Angeles Dodgers made wholesale changes to their coaching staff this offseason, most notably hiring former Arizona Diamondbacks hitting strategist Robert Van Scoyoc to replace previous hitting coach Turner Ward, who assumed the same position with the Cincinnati Reds.
Moreover, Brant Brown was promoted to hitting strategist while Aaron Bates joined the organization as an assistant hitting coach.
With the moves come an anticipated change in hitting philosophy for the Dodgers. Van Scoyoc, 32, has been credited with elevating the careers of Boston Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez and Chris Taylor despite his unorthodox coaching methods.
Van Scoyoc preaches the importance of launch angle, which has become mainstream throughout Major League Baseball in recent seasons. It’s a shift from the more conventional teachings of Ward, who nevertheless enjoyed success during his three-year stint as Dodgers hitting coach.
One player looking to make changes at the plate is Cody Bellinger, and he evidently wants to get a head start on the matter as he’s expected to meet with Dodgers hitting coaches, via Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:
Cody Bellinger is meeting with the Dodgers hitting gurus this week to work on refurbishing his approach for 2019, Andrew Friedman said.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) December 11, 2018
Bellinger burst onto the scene as a rookie in 2017, earning unanimous National League Rookie of the Year honors after setting a plethora of records during the regular season.
He looked to replicate that success in his sophomore campaign, but saw his power numbers decline over his first full season of Major League action. In 162 games, Bellinger hit .260/.343/.470 with 28 doubles, seven triples, 25 home runs and 76 RBI over 632 plate appearances.
While those numbers equated to above-league average production, Bellinger is clearly looking for a more consistent approach in 2019.