Seitzer seeing results with first-place Blue Jays

Toronto Blue Jays hitting coach Kevin Seitzer usually stands right behind the cage during batting practice while the players take their cuts. From time to time, he’ll move over to the side and will weigh in with a quick tip or two.

TORONTO — Toronto Blue Jays hitting coach Kevin Seitzer usually stands right behind the cage during batting practice while the players take their cuts.

From time to time, he’ll move over to the side and will weigh in with a quick tip or two.

It’s a comfortable approach that has paid dividends for the American League East division leaders, who boast an offence that is among the best in Major League Baseball.

“I think he’s hands on when he needs to and he sits back and he watches when he needs to too,” said Blue Jays catcher Erik Kratz.

“We have a lot of good hitters here and with good hitters comes success and some streakiness.

“He does a good job of limiting the bad streaks and extending the good streaks.”

The team’s offensive statistics over the first two months of the campaign have been eye-opening.

Entering Wednesday’s games, the Blue Jays led the major leagues in home runs (83) and were second in runs scored (296), RBIs (281), slugging percentage (.451), hits (534) and OPS (on-base plus slugging — .784). Toronto was also tied for second in on-base percentage (.333) and sat fifth in team batting average (.264).

Seitzer keeps a close eye on all the numbers but values some statistical categories more than others.

“Runs scored is the one I’m most concerned about,” he said. “If you’re scoring runs, whether you do it by home runs, situational hitting, you’ve got to be able to get on base, draw walks, be able to move runners and get big hits when guys are in scoring position.

“It kind of encompasses everything really.”

The 52-year-old native of Springfield, Ill., was hired by the Blue Jays last fall after spending parts of five seasons as a hitting coach with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Kansas City Royals. He succeeded Chad Mottola, who spent one year in the position.

Seitzer, a two-time all-star as a player, had a .295 career average over 12 seasons with the Royals, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics and Cleveland Indians.

As a coach, he has preached the importance of preparation and making hard, consistent contact in the box.

“Have an idea of what the pitcher has got and what he’s going to try to do, and then what each guy needs to do in order to have the best chance to succeed,” he said of his approach. “I like to keep things simple. I don’t like it complicated, they don’t want it complicated.

“They’ve made really good adjustments so far.”

The power portion of the Toronto lineup has delivered so far with sluggers Edwin Encarnacion (.272 average, 19 homers, 50 RBIs) and Jose Bautista (.310, 14 homers, 41 RBIs) on pace for big seasons.

Among the other notable performances, first baseman Adam Lind is batting .347 while Melky Cabrera has a .303 average.

Juan Francisco is hitting .276 with nine homers and 24 RBIs in just 36 games.

As for that important runs scored category, three Toronto players are in the top 15 in the major leagues: Bautista (44 – tied for fourth), Encarnacion (41 – tied for seventh) and Cabrera (37 – tied for 14th).

Those numbers are a big reason why Toronto took a 35-24 record — the second-best mark in the American League — into Wednesday’s game at Detroit.

It’s a big step up from this time last year, when the Blue Jays were last in the East at 24-34.

“It’s been phenomenal,” Seitzer said of the team’s effort. “If you’re in first place after the first third, then the second third and the third one, then you’re right where you need to be. So I couldn’t ask for more right now.”

The 2013 Blue Jays posted decent offensive numbers despite their poor 74-88 record. The team was ninth in runs scored (712), fourth in homers (185), 11th in RBIs (669), eighth in slugging percentage (.411) and 15th in batting average (.252).

While Seitzer deserves his share of the credit for the improvement, he’s quick to praise the players for their professional approach and effort.

He has been very impressed with what he’s seen so far.

Just Posted

Shanna Lydiard is upset to have had mail delivery cut off last month to her West Park street because of water main reconstruction. Delivery is to resume by May 19 at the latest, according to the City of Red Deer. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).
West Park woman frustrated by mail delivery suspension due to construction

Shanna Lydiard said residents shouldn’t have to drive across the city for their mail

Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA Devin Dreeshen received his COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday at Jackson’s Pharmacy in Innisfail. (Devin Creeshen Twitter photo)
COVID-19: Most local MLAs have received their first vaccine shot

Alberta’s NDP is encouraging all MLAs to get vaccinated and publicly promote… Continue reading

Alberta continues to wrestle with high COVID-19 case numbers. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer up to 858 active cases of COVID-19

Province reports additional 1,799 cases of the virus

Bo's Bar and Grill owner Brennen Wowk said the hospitality industry is looking for more clarity from the province around what conditions must be met to allow for restaurants reopening.
(Advocate file photo)
Frustated restaurant owners want to know government’s reopening plan

Restaurant owners feel they are in lockdown limbo

The Bowden Institution medium security facility near Bowden has 15 active COVID-19 cases. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh)
15 active COVID-19 cases at Bowden prison

Bowden Institution has had 36 positive cases this year with 21 recovered and no deaths

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer and several members of city council helped kick off the spring Green Deer cleanup campaign on Wednesday. Veer said city workers do their best to keep the city looking good, but need volunteer help to get rid of litter that has blown into bushes onto road sides over the winter. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff)
Red Deer city councillors launch spring Green Deer campaign

Volunteers are needed to keep the city looking good

Hassan Diab holds a news conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa Friday, February 7 , 2020.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Canada must not extradite Diab regardless of coming French court decision: lawyer

Canada must not extradite Diab regardless of coming French court decision: lawyer

Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. Vancouver's mayor says he understands that some drug users aren't happy with the city's proposed model for decriminalization but time is of the essence and the details can be worked out later. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time for drug decriminalization redo

Vancouver mayor says there’s no time for drug decriminalization redo

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police "E" Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on Friday, April 13, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Saskatchewan Mountie charged with first-degree murder after man found dead in woods

Saskatchewan Mountie charged with first-degree murder after man found dead in woods

Garneau quarantine travel to Iceland raises government confusion over rules

Garneau quarantine travel to Iceland raises government confusion over rules

Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. After repeatedly voting non-confidence in the minority Liberal government, the Bloc Quebecois is now calling on the government to do everything possible to avoid an election during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
BQ calls on Liberals to avoid pandemic election, despite voting non-confidence

BQ calls on Liberals to avoid pandemic election, despite voting non-confidence

U.K. study says expect more reactions from mixing Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines

U.K. study says expect more reactions from mixing Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines

In this Monday, March 15, 2021 file photo a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, outside Paris. Questions remained Wednesday about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada, as Manitoba limited use of the shot and Ontario announced it planned to save an incoming shipment to use as second doses.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Christophe Ena, File
Questions remain about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot in Canada

Questions remain about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot in Canada

Singer Celine Dion performs during her first World Tour show called Courage Wednesday, September 18, 2019 at the Videotron Centre in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Songbird Uncaged: Celine Dion readies return to Las Vegas stage for 10-date run

Songbird Uncaged: Celine Dion readies return to Las Vegas stage for 10-date run

Most Read