In two seasons under Jim Skaalen the A’s offense ranked ninth and 11th among AL teams in runs scored and yesterday they fired him and hired Gerald Perry as their new hitting coach.
Perry was previously Oakland’s hitting coach in 2006, which is the last time the A’s made the playoffs, but even while winning 93 games they ranked just ninth among AL teams in runs that season. Perry left the A’s for the Cubs, where he served as hitting coach for two-and-half seasons before being fired in mid-2009. He’s also previously served as hitting coach for the Mariners and Pirates.
In addition to replacing Skaalen with Perry the A’s also added Joel Skinner to the Bob Geren’s staff as a bench coach, with Tye Waller moving from bench coach to first base coach. Skinner spent two decades in the Indians organization, first as a player and then coaching at various levels, including a half-season stint as the interim manager when Charlie Manuel was fired in 2002.
Rookie first baseman Pete Alonso has launched what appears to be the beginning of an auspicious career, made all the more notable by the 50 home runs he’s produced for the Mets so far this season. The All-Star slugger pushed his home run streak to four straight games on Friday, collecting no. 50 on an eighth-inning fastball from the Reds’ Sal Romano.
It’s just the latest of a long line of accomplishments for the 24-year-old infielder. Entering Friday’s series opener against Cincinnati, the first-time All-Star carried a .266/.366/.590 batting line with a league-leading 49 homers, 113 RBI, a .956 OPS and 4.9 fWAR through 648 plate appearances. Among those who are still rounding out their rookie seasons in 2019, he ranks first in home runs and fWAR by a long shot: the White Sox’ Eloy Jiménez is second in home runs with 28 dingers, while the Astros’ Yordan Álvarez plays second fiddle in fWAR with 3.7 Wins Above Replacement.
Even more remarkable: Alonso is the second rookie in MLB history to deliver at least 50 home runs in a single season. The first? Aaron Judge, who clubbed a jaw-dropping 52 homers for the Yankees in 2017.