Ready sees immediate results in box
Padres hitting .305 since promoting new hitting coach
ST. LOUIS -- On the day Randy Ready became San Diego's new hitting coach, the Padres went out and scored 11 runs on 17 hits in a lopsided victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.
How's that for instant results?
The reality is that one night, and, really, even 15 games -- the duration that Ready has been in charge of the Padres' hitters -- hardly qualifies as a fair sample size. But to be sure, it's been so far, so good.
In the 15 games since replacing Jim Lefebvre on July 31, the Padres are hitting .305 as a team and are scoring a shade over five runs a game with a .377 on-base percentage, and have cut down on their strikeouts by nearly one a game.
Under Lefebvre, who was hired in the offseason, the Padres hit .232 in 103 games with a .309 on-base percentage and 3.67 runs per game. They had a .371 slugging percentage under Lefebvre. Under Ready, it's .468.
What's to make out of all of this?
The Padres made the change on July 31 because of what general manager Kevin Towers called a "disconnect" between Lefebvre and his hitters. That's not the case with Ready, who managed several young players on the roster -- Will Venable, Nick Hundley, Chase Headley and Kyle Blanks -- in the Minor Leagues.
"I think what Randy brings is familiarity with a number of guys on our team," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He brings a history with these guys. He has seen Chase at his best and at his worst.
"I think Randy has a nice way of communicating what he wants to see accomplished from the hitters. He's brought a little different dialog with the players."
More than that, Venable said, is a simplified approach to hitting that relied much more on feel instead of loading up on statistical analysis.
"He's talks a lot about having a free thought, and that frees up your body, and just keeping things simple," said Venable, who has raised his average from .233 to .270 with Ready in charge. "It's recognizing what a [pitcher is] trying to do to you and not trying to do too much. Approach an at-bat with a simple plan.
"It's not that he doesn't pay attention to [statistics], because that's helpful, but it's more getting in there, getting a good feeling and he's doing whatever he needs to do to help you."
As for Ready, who was managing the Padres' Triple-A affiliate in Portland, he's spent the first two weeks on the job with his "estimating shoes on, so to speak," watching his hitters, analyzing and talking about hitting and the approach to it.
"The first thing that comes to mind is pitch recognition. To buy us a little more time in the batter's box so we get a better look at the baseball," Ready said. "Emphasizing being a tough out at the plate with not so much our sluggers but more our table-setters, putting the ball in play and minimizing our strikeouts."
One of the hitters who has benefited from better pitch recognition is Kevin Kouzmanoff, who has raised his average from .248 to .264 since July 31 with 11 RBIs.
"Kouz is so strong, all we're talking about is having him wait a tick longer," Ready said. "He has great power to all fields and we want to have him utilize that. Sometimes we forget about the whole field. That's one of his strengths."
The dialog Ready has had with the hitters has been good lately. The results -- again, it's a very small sample size -- have been better than in the first half, when the Padres ranked last in the Major Leagues in runs scored and average.
"I think they've responded well and the results have been good to date. That's all subject to change, but I think we've made some nice adjustments," said Ready, who hasn't been told yet what his status is for 2010.
"With routine comes consistency, comes success. They're all finding their own routine that works for them."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.