ANAHEIM, Calif. — Marcus Thames is the Los Angeles Angels’ new hitting coach, and Phil Plantier will be his assistant next season.
Bill Hezel, the director of pitching at the Driveline Baseball development program, will be the assistant pitching coach to Matt Wise, who is returning to the Angels for the 2023 season on manager Phil Nevin’s staff.
The Angels also announced Monday that third base coach Mike Gallego, assistant pitching coach Dom Chiti and assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento will be reassigned within the organization.
Thames, who played a decade in the majors as an outfielder, was the Miami Marlins’ hitting coach last year after spending the previous four seasons in the same job with the New York Yankees. Nevin was the Yankees’ third base coach during that stretch before joining the Angels’ staff last season and being promoted to manager after Joe Maddon’s firing.
Plantier was a hitting coach in the Marlins’ system last season. The former big league outfielder was the San Diego Padres’ hitting coach from 2012-14.
Thames and Plantier will supervise a batting lineup that ranked in the bottom half of the sport in most statistical categories last season despite the presence of former AL MVPs Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. The top-heavy lineup led the majors with 1,539 strikeouts and ranked 22nd in hits, 23rd in OPS, 25th in runs and 26th with a .297 on-base percentage.
Hitting coach Jeremy Reed and assistant John Mallee were dismissed after the Angels completed their seventh straight losing season and eighth straight non-playoff campaign. Both are the longest active skids in the majors.
Hezel is a former college baseball coach who later served as a consultant to the Phillies while working at Driveline, the development training complex where dozens of major leaguers – including Ohtani – work in the offseason.
Nevin is on a one-year contract as the Angels’ permanent manager. The entire organization is in transition with owner Arte Moreno actively exploring a sale of the team.