So the idea that Greg Walker and crew are at least partially to blame for the horrific Braves slumps, inconsistency and general horrid offensive performance has been tossed about but mostly refuted. Instead the blame is placed on the signings of high strikeout players without plate discipline and with low obp but specifically on the players. My question is, if Greg Walker and crew arn't making the offense worse, how are they making the offense better? Is there some type of way to gauge this? You can pull team stats as some people have. Is Greg Walker replacement level?
Lets say he isn't to blame. Well, is he helping? If he is just average then could he simply be replaced that somebody could at least match his average performance. I know the Braves won't change hitting coaches, however he doesn't seem to be doing much good. I'd at least like to give someone else the chance. I think that Fredi's management and Wren's signings are a major cause of the lack of offensive performance as well as the culture that Fredi creates. BJ Upton was signed in a pre-contract year with an obp below .300. Simmons and Gattis don't have a lot of plate discipline as expected. And the lineup in general is full of high strikeout hitters.
Heyward's problems are largely on him, as are Uptons. However, they are still performing far below where they should be. Justin Upton's strikeouts seem to be increasing and he is becoming more inconsistent. Freeman was doing great but now has the same inconsistency as the rest of the lineup. Now, even Johnson is struggling and has the same inconsistency. Its one thing to struggle but these guy's struggles appear to be amplified. The fact is, the Braves were simply unable to help BJ Upton last year. BJ has seen some improvement but he is still a shell of his former self. Does Heyward really have a hole in his swing? Simmons has performed somewhat better than expected offensively. Johnson did well last year. BJ's improvement came after talking to Chipper this year.
We have three hitters with MVP caliber potential, Heyward, Freeman and J-Upton. Theres a lot of talent on the team but we are performing at an almost league worst offensively, worse than bottom dweller teams in "rebuilding" mode. The sheer inconsistency is maddening. We are more likely to blame the hitting coach during bad times than praise him in good times but it really doesn't seem like there is a mass of evidence showing that the hitting coaching staff is doing a good job and theres no reason to think things are going to improve or change. They've had their chance to help Heyward and BJ Upton. If the Braves hope to go far in the playoffs they can't keep jumping back into horrific slumps and they need clutch hitting. We need to be able to develop our younger players. Even McCann regressed during Walker's tenure, though much of that was injury related.
One of Walker's main missions was "fixing" Heyward. He has failed miserably at that. However, Walker and Fletcher are a duo, so he doesn't bear all the blame. Does Walker help players get out of slumps? I think there are clear patterns of problems the offense has and its clearly moving in one (negative) direction. There is some type of influence coming from the organization that is the cause of that.