Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Freeman on '14 roster: Heyward leading off 'not well-constructed lineup'


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- I've posted a column posted on Kevin Seitzer, who I'm resisting the temptation to call the Braves' next ex-hitting coach. That's not meant to be a statement on Seitzer, who actually did a terrific job in Toronto last season ( USA Today named him their hitting coach of the year), as much as it is the instability of the position and the Braves' possible offensively challenged lineup in 2015.

Here's a link to the column on MyAJC.com.

I spoke at length Tuesday with Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman for a column later this week. He likes Seitzer a lot but he doesn't understand why his predecessor, Greg Walker, came under such criticism, amid poor offensive production by the team's flawed lineup. (For the record, Walker phoned Braves executive John Hart with a week remaining in the season last year to say he was resigning.)

Freeman on Walker, Seitzer and hitting coaches in general: "It seems no one wants to blame the players as much as the hitting coach. I mean, it wasn’t Walker’s fault. We had the same hitting coaches in 2013 and absolutely killed it. We did strike out a lot but in 2014 we weren’t hitting the home runs that we were in 2013 so the strikeouts were magnified.

"Every hitting coach has close to the same philosophy, they just say it a little differently and are able to relate (to players) differently, with how it’s worded. Some people just need the words coming from a different mouth."

Freeman also had strong comments that reflected what was so often written and said in the media, and by fans, last season -- but usually denied publicly by the Braves.

"Having Jason Heyward hitting leadoff for you is not a well-constructed lineup," said Freeman, and he was referring more to the personnel on the roster, not the lineup decisions of manager Fredi Gonzalez.

"We didn't have a guy in the first or second hole to get on base to set the table. It was me and Justin (Upton) trying to get on base and set the table with two outs, and then hope for the best. Now I think we're more built like the Royals. Maybe we won't hit as many home runs, but we have guys who are going to fight for every at-bat."

Good stuff from Freeman. For more on Seitzer, go to the column on MyAJC.com.


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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.