The White Sox are parting ways with hitting coach Todd Steverson and assistant hitting coach Greg Sparks, the team announced Wednesday.
All other coaches from manager Rick Renteria’s staff, including pitching coach Don Cooper for his 18th season, will return in 2020. Steverson’s and Sparks’ contracts were up after 2019, which saw the Sox (72-89) rank last in walks, fourth in strikeouts, 13th in runs, fifth in batting average and 11th in on-base percentage in the American League.
Steverson, 45, held the position for six seasons. In 2019, Tim Anderson won the American League batting title with a .335 average and Jose Abreu led the AL with 123 RBI. Yoan Moncada made significant strides, batting .315/.367/.548 with 25 homers and a team-high .918 OPS. Moncada was third in the AL in batting average, and rookie Eloy Jimenez hit 31 homers and had a strong finish that netted him AL Rookie of the Month honors.
But the Sox ranked 23rd in the major leagues with a .314 on-base percentage, the area general manager Rick Hahn cited as the biggest need for offensive change at his end-of-year press conference.
“I’m guessing most every team will tell you they want to get on base more,” Hahn said. “That’s something we need to improve upon. It’s been a priority. This isn’t news, guys know that.”
The Sox said they will announce a replacements for Steverson and Sparks at a later date. Candidates for both positions include Class AAA Charlotte hitting coach Frank Menechino, who spent last season with the Knights after the previous five seasons on the Marlins’ major league staff. Menechino, who was with the Sox for parts of September after the Knights’ season concluded, was the Marlins’ hitting coach for two seasons and assistant hitting coach for three years.
Renteria’s staff was in place when he was promoted from bench coach to manager to replace Robin Ventura before the 2017 season. He was not pushing for changes for next year but will undoubtedly want a say in who takes over for Steverson and Sparks, both of whom came from the A’s system.
Cooper, bullpen coach Curt Hasler, bench coach Joe McEwing, third base coach Nick Capra and first base coach Daryl Boston all will return next season.