As the Philadelphia Phillies coaches prepare the club for the 2016 season, we have been introducing them to the fans in a series here at TBOH.
In this piece, a TBOH series that Ryan Gerstel and I have been presenting over the last couple of weeks will continue with my look at Mickey Morandini, who enters his first year on the Major League staff as the Phillies’ first base coach.
As most fans of the Phillies’ already knows well, Morandini is a former 2nd baseman for the Fightins, having played with the club from 1990-1997. The Kittaning, Pennsylvania native was drafted by the Phils in the 5th round of the 1988 MLB Amateur Draft out of Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.
Morandini played 120 games for the National League pennant-winning “Macho Row” team in 1993, but spent much of the postseason on the bench in favor of Mariano Duncan. He had his best season in red pinstripes in 1995, when he was named a National League All-Star. For that season, he batted .283 with 34 doubles and a .350 On-Base Percentage. After the 1997 season, Morandini was traded to the Cubs in exchange for center fielder Doug Glanville.
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Morandini’s 1998 campaign with the Cubbies turned out to be the best season of his big league career. He posted career-highs in batting average (.296), home runs (8), RBI (53), OBP (.380), slugging percentage (.385) and games played (154) on the South Side. He would finish tied for 24th in the NL MVP voting that season. Following a disappointing 1999 season in which Morandini batted just .241, he left the Cubs in free agency to go to the Montreal Expos.
Morandini would never wear the colorful Expos jersey in an official MLB game. The Phillies reacquired him just prior to the start of the 2000 season and made him their starting 2nd baseman once again.
He played in 91 games with the team before being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for outfielder Rob Ducey. He retired after that 2000 season, finishing his 11-year MLB career with a slash line of .268/.338/.359, as well as 32 home runs, 351 RBI, and 123 steals in 1,298 games.
Morandini started coaching baseball at Valparaiso High School in Chesterton, Indiana in 2007 and remained at the school until 2010. He than took a job with the Phillies as manager of their Rookie League Williamsport affiliate for the 2011 season. He had also served as a guest instructor for the Phillies during spring training in 2009 and 2010.
During the 2012 and 2013 seasons, Morandini moved up the organizational ladder to manage the single-A Lakewood BlueClaws, guiding that club to a 62-76 record in his first season, and a 56-80 record in the second. He has spent the last two seasons coaching with both AA Reading and AAA Lehigh Valley.
In his new role, the now 49-year-old Morandini will help coach baserunners, clock opposing pitcher times from the mound to home plate, as well as opposing catcher throws around the diamond.
He will also help the baserunners make a decision when trying to go for an extra base. Aggressive and successful base running were major components to the Phillies offense from 2007-2011, so the Phillies hope Morandini can restore some of that success.
He will certainly have the players to do it. Odubel Herrera, Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis, Tyler Goeddel, and Peter Bourjos all have the ability to steal double-digit bases and could improve with Morandini’s guidance.