In a conference call introducing Chili Davis as the new Red Sox hitting coach, the former A’s instructor talked about how he viewed one of his former player’s in Oakland, Yoenis Cespedes.
Cespedes and Davis were together since the outfielder’s arrival with the A’s up until his trade to the Red Sox at the non-waiver trade deadline this past season.
“Cespy is a special player, just a very special player with a lot of talent,” Davis said. “We saw that in Oakland and I’m sure that’s why they brought him here from Cuba and put him right into the big leagues. Big game guy, loves the noise, loves the lights. I feel like we formed a relationship but we weren’t quite finished building that relationship from the relationship we formed it wont be that difficult to pick up where we left off. As far as I’m concerned and I told him this to his face, he has greatness written all over him. He does. He does everything, he can run, throw, hit for power.
“It took him a while to get comfortable in Oakland as well but once he gets comfortable there there’s no telling what he might put up in a season as a player. He’s just, to me, I think he can be a great player. It’s all up to him, whether or not he wants to be there. But I think he has the ability to be a great player.”
Here are some of the other topics discussed on the call:
- John Farrell cited the organization’s (and his own) familiarity with Davis and being a key in bringing him on board: “It goes back to the person Chili is. You all will get to know him firsthand. This is someone that, setting aside a great playing career, it’s someone that cares about the individuals that he’s working with ultimately to make them better and to make us better. You’re talking about an incredible playing career, an incredible message, the person and the genuineness that Chili is, our players will feel that immediately. Some have already from their time in Pawtucket. It was the person that drew us to him, the experience we had with him back in 2011. We were teammates a number of years ago. Knowing him personally, knowing what our needs are here, this is an ideal fit with Chili joining our staff here in the organization.”
- Farrell discussed the reason for bringing back assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez: “When Chili was here, Victor as the hitting coordinator at the time. There are relationships already established with guys on our roster, even as that roster has turned over. What’s most important about a two-man hitting system is that there’s a similar approach to hitting that’s talked about. There’s a working relationship that both guys will be able to tap into and reference from previously. So Victor’s return was as much a natural fit as Chili’s return to the organization.”
- Davis explained his approach toward his hitters’ approach: “I think it all starts in spring training with us, how we approach our at-bats. Every at-bat is somewhat of a different at-bat. Whether or not you’re facing a different pitcher, whether or not you’re in a different situation, as far as I’m concerned, if we focus properly on the process at hand, what we need to do, in any situation, whether it’s getting on base, moving the runner, driving the runner in, if we’re focused the correct way on it, and our approach is to do that job at hand, the numbers are going to control themselves. The numbers will be what they’re going to be. I know it’s a numbers-oriented game. It’s even more so now. But I believe that if we create the right atmosphere from day one, we stay focused and stay disciplined with those habits, the situations that come up, we want to be prepared for them before we get in the batter’s box. As far as the numbers are concerned, I didn’t go to Oakland to better numbers. I think John said it well. I’m more about the player improving and becoming more of a better player, day-in, day-out, week-in, week-out, year-in, year-out. Sometimes it’s a short-term thing. Most of the time it’s a long-term thing. I just think the numbers will be what they’re going to be. We’re going to try to improve those numbers, but not by thinking about those numbers — more by thinking about the process the correct way.”
- Davis discussed his time as hitting coach with the Pawtucket Red Sox, in 2011: ‘I don’t think I ever really get comfortable. I had a great group of guys in Pawtucket. When I interviewed for the job, mike hazen and ben cherington, and at the time, theo said that’s where are prospects are going to be. it was a challenge and every year and every day is a challenge because you’re dealing with all these different personalities but the one thing I want to say is as much as I am here to help and to teach, I’m learning from these guys every day. Pawtucket was a learning experience for me and I carried that into Oakland and that helped me a lot in adjusting to the job I had to do in Oakland. I’m learning as much from the hitters and the players as I hope they’re learning from me.’