Kevin Seitzer deserves praise for his work with the Braves’ bats

MLB: MAY 14 Padres at Braves

The Braves returned eight of nine position players from a lineup that set multiple MLB records.

Atlanta became the first team to slug over .500 for an entire season, as well as tying the MLB single-season team home run record of 307. There were also individual accomplishments.

Matt Olson led the league in home runs and Ronald Acuña Jr. became the first player to hit 40 home runs and steal 70 bases, as the Braves captured the first-ever team Silver Slugger award.

It’s a testament to the work they put in every day, but it’s also a credit to the Braves’ hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, who was named Baseball America’s MLB coach of the year last season. Seitzer’s work with Atlanta’s bats has been nothing short of mesmerizing, particularly when it comes to reclamation projects.

Most recently, the best example is Jarred Kelenic. One of the biggest storylines of Spring Training was the former No. 6 overall pick’s struggles at the plate. He obviously made significant adjustments to his approach, dropping his hands, but he ended the spring well and that’s continued into the regular season.

Kelenic has started three of the Braves four games, racking up six hits in 11 at-bats (.545 batting average) with a 1.220 OPS. In Kelenic’s first two major-league seasons, he hit just .168 with 21 homers and a .589 OPS in 147 games.

Last season, Kelenic began the year on fire and boasted an OPS north of .800 until the middle of June, but he began to revert back to his old ways and then broke his foot by kicking a cooler in the dugout.

The Braves invested in his potential, and with Seitzer, it seems they’ve once again found a diamond in the rough, but he’s hardly the only case.

Jorge Soler had just 13 home runs and a .658 OPS in 94 games with the Royals before joining the Braves, where he went on to hit 14 home runs with an .882 OPS in 55 games with Atlanta.

For seven years with the Mets, Travis d’Arnaud was a below average offensive player, averaging a 94 OPS+. With the Braves, he’s brought that up to a 103 OPS+, thanks to him bringing his OPS up nearly 60 points.

Orlando Arcia was a similar case with the Brewers before joining the Braves, where he’s enjoyed the best years of his career. Matt Olson, Michael Harris, Adam Duvall, Dansby Swanson, Austin Riley, and pretty much every other player in the organization is tangible proof of how valuable Kevin Seitzer and the rest of Atlanta’s staff are to the Braves.

Hitting coaches don’t always get the credit they deserve. They often go unnoticed and are typically used as a scapegoat when times get tough. It’s a relatively thankless position, but without Kevin Seitzer, this Atlanta Braves offense would hardly look the same. I wouldn’t be surprised if clubs around the league begin tabbing him as a potential managerial candidate, simply because of his pristine track record when it comes to squeezing the most out of his offensive talent.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire
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