The Phillies, after scoring a major-league worst 610 runs in 2016, have fired hitting coach Steve Henderson.
Henderson, 63, had been the team’s hitting coach for four seasons. The Phillies ranked 29th in batting average (.240), 29th in on-base percentage (.301), and 29th in slugging percentage (.385) this season. They scored 39 fewer runs than the next worst team, Atlanta.
That, of course, is not all on the hitting coach. The Phillies will improve with better players. But they decided a different voice guiding those hitters is best.
“I look at the team statistics,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said last week. “When you’re 13th, 14th, and 15th in 10 of those categories, that tells you all you need to know. We’re down at the bottom in hitting.
“Numbers matter. They tell you the story.”
The Phillies were outscored by 186 runs, the worst run differential in baseball. It was the Phillies’ worst differential since 1961. They were outscored by 183 runs in 2015.
The Phillies could promote from within; Sal Rende is regarded as a strong presence at triple-A Lehigh Valley. He was instrumental in Maikel Franco’s development, among others. Rende has been in the organization for 13 seasons.
But the Phillies could conduct a search outside the organization with baseball's hiring practices never before scrutinized at a higher level. Henderson was the only black man on the coaching staff; now the only minority on staff is third-base coach Juan Samuel.
Henderson played 12 seasons in the majors. He spent three years in the Phillies minor-league system as a coordinator before ascending to the major-league staff.
Hector Neris recorded his second save of the season. He appeared in 79 games; only Kent Tekulve, Rheal Cormier, J.C. Romero, and Geoff Geary had Phillies seasons in which they pitched in more games than Neris. … Maikel Franco rapped four hits Sunday to finish with a .255 batting average and .733 OPS. … The Phillies will pick eighth in next June’s draft. … The team finished the 2016 season with a total attendance of 1,915,144, an average of 23,644 per game. That was a tick better than last season’s 22,606 average.