While we still do not know definitively what role A.J. Hinch played in the Houston Astros cheating scandal, what we do know is that the Astros only got better under his tenure there. Hinch took over for Bo Porter after a 70-92 season and immediately led them to the playoffs. During Hinch’s 5 seasons with the Astros, Houston won the division three times, won two American League Pennants, and won one World Series Championship. Over the five seasons in Houston, Hinch compiled a .594 win percentage and three 100 win seasons. While the hire will draw some negative feedback, Hinch is one of the top managers that were available.
One of the main talking points, besides the sign stealing scandal, is how the Astros seemed to rejuvenate pitchers by ramping up their spin rate. Former Tiger Justin Verlander was one of those pitchers that improved once being traded to the Astros. The Astros were able to use the spin rate philosophy to build one of the leagues top starting rotations and bullpens. With the majority of the young talent on the Tigers roster being pitchers, this had to be a factor in hiring A.J. Hinch.
A.J. Hinch was one of the few managers that have Playing, Front Office, Player Development, and Managerial experience. Hinch is regarded as one of the early adaptors to analytics and has used that to be very successful. The Front Office and Player Development roles that Hinch had with the Arizona Diamondbacks organizations, assures that the entire Tigers organization will be on the same page and trying to accomplish the same goals.
The A.J. Hinch hire has the chance to be as game changing as the Sparky Anderson and Jim Leyland hiring’s. Both Anderson and Leyland led the Tigers to postseason success and A.J. Hinch has all the makings to bring Detroit its first World Series Championship since 1984. Also, as a little added bonus, I’m looking forward to the Hinch vs. LaRussa matchups this season.