The Chicago Cubs on Monday hired former Texas Rangers coach Anthony Iapoce to replace Chili Davis as their hitting coach.
Iapoce, 45, comes on board with built-in connections with the Cubs. He was a special assistant to Chicago's general manager from 2013-15 before he was hired as the Rangers hitting coach. Part of his duties with the Cubs involved working with players such as Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Albert Almora Jr., Willson Contreras and Ian Happ when they were in the minors.
"Working with the (front office), the major league staff and minor league staff before helps ease you into your job," Iapoce said on Monday. "But you're still trying to make the players better and find that team ego that develops over time. That involves everything -- not just one thing. It comes down to the situation. It's important to provide an atmosphere where they can improve."
Iapoce is the third hitting coach in three seasons for the Cubs, who kept Davis for one season on the job that was previously held by John Mallee. Iapoce also worked previously under Mallee with several major league organizations, including the Miami Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays. Mallee recommended Iapoce to take over the Cubs minor league hitting program.
"We all believe in the same things," Iapoce said. "We just present it differently."
Mallee's "launch angle" term was a constant teaching method he used with the Cubs, and it's expected that Iapoce might adopt that after the team hit 57 fewer home runs this season than it did in 2017.
Iapoce's status with the Rangers, along with the team's other coaches, was in jeopardy after Texas fired manager Jeff Banister. More coaching moves by the Cubs for 2019 have yet to be announced, but bench coach Brandon Hyde has interviewed for managerial openings with the Rangers and Los Angeles Angels.