It didn’t take the Chicago Cubs’ organization long to replace Chili Davis as hitting coach.
Just a few days after the Cubs announced that Davis would not return at the position, they made the move to hire Anthony Iapoce. The club officially made the announcement Monday afternoon, bringing Iapoce back to the organization.
They released this statement:
The Chicago Cubs have named Anthony Iapoce as major league hitting coach, replacing Chili Davis. An announcement on the entire 2019 Cubs coaching staff will come at a later date.
Iapoce, 45, was the major league hitting coach for the Texas Rangers for the last three seasons after spending the previous three years in the Cubs organization, guiding the development of many members of today’s major league club as a Special Assistant to the GM while overseeing the club’s minor league hitting program from 2013-15. During Iapoce’s three years in Texas, the Rangers ranked fifth in the American League in runs and fourth in home runs in that span. The 2017 Rangers became the first team in big league history to see nine players reach 17 homers in the same season.
Prior to joining the Cubs, Iapoce spent the previous three seasons as the roving hitting coordinator for the Toronto Blue Jays (2010-12). Iapoce also served as the hitting coach for the Marlins Single-A Jupiter affiliate for two seasons from 2008-09.
A former outfielder, Iapoce played 11 seasons in the minor leagues in the Brewers and Marlins organizations, as well as independent ball, after being selected by Milwaukee in the 33rd round of the 1994 Draft. He reached the Triple-A level four different times and was a career .273 hitter with a .342 on-base percentage in 845 professional games.
Davis was Chicago’s major league hitting coach for the 2018 campaign after serving as hitting coach in Oakland (2012-14) and Boston (2015-17).
The Cubs took a big step back in 2018 with the bats, struggling to produce on offense at key moments in the season. The most recognizable example came in Game 163 to decide the NL Central Division by scoring just 1 run against the Milwaukee Brewers.
They followed that up by scoring only 1 run against the Colorado Rockies in the NL Wild Card game the next night.
Following those losses, Theo Epstein mentioned that launch angles were not just a fad and that there’s data to back that balls hit in the air are more productive as you can read here via Bleacher Nation.
Davis was brought in last offseason following the firing of John Mallee, leaving the Red Sox organization.