Former Cubs hitting coach Anthony Iapoce joins the Red Sox
Anthony Iapoce, who spent the last three seasons as the Cubs hitting coach, has found a new home. According to the Boston Red Sox, he’ll be joining the organization as a senior hitting coordinator after Chicago opted not to renew his contract at the end of the 2021 campaign.
We all know the story when it comes to Cubs hitting coaches over the last decade or so. We’ve seen a number of hitting coaches and assistant hitting coaches and coordinators shown the door including the likes of Rudy Jaramillo, James Rowson, Rob Deer, Mike Brumley, John Mallee, Chili Davis, Andy Haines, Terrmel Sledge and, most recently, Iapoce.
During his tenure, the Cubs were, well, pretty pedestrian offensively speaking. His first year on the job, 2019, the big picture didn’t look all that bat – Chicago ranked eighth in the league in OPS, 10th in runs and 12th in strikeouts. But a late-season collapse kept the team out of the postseason for the first time since 2015 and cost Joe Maddon his job as manager.
Since that point, it was all downhill for the Cubs offense under Iapoce. The team struck out more than all but four other teams in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, ranking 21st in OPS and 20th in runs. Maybe you can write that off to the extenuating circumstances that surrounded that campaign, but then last year, Chicago led baseball with 1,596 strikeouts as a team, narrowly improving in the OPS department – checking in 18th in the league.
Cubs hoping another new hitting coach can, at last, be the answer
Of course, the team’s 2021 performance wasn’t aided by the midseason fire sale that saw longstanding fixtures such as Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javier Baez traded. But the writing was on the wall – Hoyer was cleaning house when it came to the roster and the time for change in the hitting coach role was, once again, at hand.
At the end of the year, the Cubs parted ways with Iapoce – and brought in Greg Brown from the Rays organization. He spent the last two years as Tampa Bay’s minor league hitting coordinator – and has never served on a big league coaching staff. Still, grabbing someone from one of the most forward-thinking clubs in all of baseball can hardly be frowned upon.
Post-2016, nobody seemed to have the answers to a consistent Cubs offense. Of course, that didn’t stop Epstein and Hoyer from taking a plug-and-play approach to the coaching staff – as you can see from the lengthy list of names above. Hopefully, Brown proves to be a long-term answer on the North Side as Iapoce opens a new chapter of his career with the Red Sox.