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Edgar's way

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Let me count the ways

He watches over us.
He watches over us.
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

I am not sure if you heard the news, but the Seattle Mariners are currently in first place in the American League West. Yes, that is a real sentence on Lookout Landing and this is not some sort of sick dream or season preview. The Seattle Mariners are good. Their offense is scoring at the third-best rate in the entire AL behind the Boston Red Sox and the Texas Rangers (soon, you shall fall). As such, the national stories are beginning to heat up regarding this rag-tag bunch of upstarts who are deciding to put Seattle back on the baseballing map. With big bats like Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano, and Kyle Seager, there's plenty of stories behind the high-scoring offense. But there's one guy who won't show up in the box score who maybe matters more.

We've all perceived, real or not, the offensive shift since Edgar Martinez was implanted as the hitting coach for the M's midway through the 2015 season. It turns out, not everyone else in the nation knew. So, today, in a piece full of great insight and wonderful quotations, Jim Caple gave us a beautiful piece on Edgar, the man behind the offensive brain trust. There's a lot to digest in this piece, and a deep dive on Edgar and his pedagogy is certainly warranted when we have time to really mine that rich earth, but absolutely give this a read.

What really sticks out is sorta something we all already knew. Edgar is absolutely meticulous in his preparation, for all his hitters. Every series there is a meeting going through the upcoming staff, and every game begins with a breakdown of the starting pitcher the squad is about to face. Cano, while coy in his quotations not wanting to reveal his personal "secrets", claims that what Edgar has helped him with most is reminding him of what he's done, who Robbie's been. This seems to indicate a very custom approach to his hitters. Edgar clearly isn't instructing Ketel Marte by reminding him of his body of work, yet Robbie's speaks for itself. It was a means of keeping him from chasing balls out of the zone.

This custom approach is evident in Seth Smith claiming that Edgar gives them as much information as they "want or need." We have all seen the camera pan to the dugout with one of the upcoming hitters just perched right next to Edgar as they prepare to go on-deck. Clearly there is a wealth of knowledge at the disposal of the hitters, whenever they want.

The article goes on to discuss Edgar weighing out bats, making sure his players actually know if their bat is a true 31 ounces, making sure they understand the tools of their craft. This all checks out with what we've heard of Edgar as a player. I was personally lucky enough to have a lengthy discussion with him only a few years after his retirement where he described to me one of his drills for seeing the spin on a ball. He would place a tennis ball machine a pitcher's distance from him, and with numbers written on each tennis ball in sharpie, turn the machine up to its maximum speed (well above 100mph) and call the number on each ball aloud. He focused a ton on keeping his eyes in shape, which the article also discusses relative to eye dominance and a batter's ideal stance. The thought level here is deep.

A final though, is towards the end of the piece. Edgar, discussing Safeco's dimensions, says they never talk about it as a hitting staff. The focus is only on positive aspects of the players and their approaches. I cannot express how important keeping a positive mind is for a hitter. This is the most difficult task in all of sport, a starter is asked to do it 600-plus times, and any sort of negative emotion regarding an AB has a non-quantified, negative impact. We've seen this team fight back more than ever at the plate, it seems. Maybe it's because Justin Smoak isn't wondering when they're moving the fences in again.

Go 'Gar