Blue Jays promote Triple-A Bisons hitting coach Matt Hague to Major League coaching staff
1 month ago
The Blue Jays have promoted their heir-apparent hitting coach.
It was announced during Ross Atkins’ press conference that former Buffalo Bisons hitting coach Matt Hague has been promoted to the Jays as an assistant hitting coach.
For how much vitriol Toronto’s hitting coach, Guillermo Martínez, receives from Blue Jays fans, Hague is the complete opposite. He oversaw many breakout years for Blue Jays prospects in Triple-A this past season, including ones like Davis Schneider and Specer Horwitz who broke through at the big-league level.
Look no further than super utility player, Rafael Lantigua. In 2022 with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Latnigua slashed .268/.345/.402 with five homers in 368 plate appearances, along with a 10.1 BB% and a 19 K%. After a late-season promotion to Triple-A in 2022, he slashed .286/.346/.373 with two homers in 179 plate appearances, along with an 8.9 BB% and a 19.6 K%.
Compare those numbers to the ones that he posted after working with Hauge, as Lantigua slashed .305/.425/.469 with 12 homers in 578 plate appearances for a career-high 131 wRC+, along with a bonkers 17 BB% and an 18.5 K% in 2023.
The Bisons as a whole slashed .274/.377/.417, with the .274 batting average ranking third in the International League and the on-base percentage ranking first in the league. The slugging percentage was towards the bottom of the league, but it’s important to remember that the Blue Jays just don’t have a lot of power-hitting prospects.
Moreover, the prospects that hit home runs (such as Orelvis Martinez and Damiano Palmegaini) spent most of the season in Double-A, or were on the injured list (Addison Barger). It’s also worth noting that while they hit the fewest home runs in the International League (125), their 312 doubles were the most in the league.
The Blue Jays’ philosophy has always been hit over power, and the Buffalo Bisons were a perfect example of this in 2023. Hague was a big reason why they had success and let’s hope that carries on for the Blue Jays in 2024.
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