Reggie Gene Willits (born May 30, 1981) is a former Major League outfielder. Willits was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 2003. He played for the Angels for five seasons from 2006 through 2011. After the 2011 campaign, Willits was Designated for Assignment (DFA’d).
In 2013, after his Major League career had come to an end Willits became the head baseball coach for the Binger-Oney High School baseball team.
In 2015, Reggie Willits joined the New York Yankees‘ organization as their outfield and base-running coordinator. This season after the hiring of Aaron Boone as Manager, Willits was promoted to first base coach for the 2018 season.
First Base Coach ? What Does He Do ?
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According to the MLB.com Glossary the definition of what the First Base Coach is:
“The first-base coach stands in foul ground, just behind the first-base bag, and helps relay signals from the dugout to both batters and baserunners. First-base coaches often assist baserunners in picking the appropriate time to steal a base and alert baserunners as pitchers attempt to retire them via a pickoff throw. By rule, the first-base coach must stay within the designated coach’s box on the first-base side of home plate prior to each pitch. The coach may leave said box to signal a player once a ball is in play, provided the coach does not interfere with the play.”
What to Expect ?
Just prior to the Winter Meetings, the yankees acquired the reigning National League MVP in Giancarlo Stanton, adding another power hitter to an outfield that already had Aaron Judge. Willits was called upon as outfield coach to work with both Stanton and Judge on potentially playing Left Field in the Bronx. Left Field at Yankee Stadium is not an easy position no matter how easy Brett Gardner makes it look.
As the First Base coach, Willits will help players when they get on first base in regards to taking leads on the base paths. He also guides them as to who to steal a base on and when to get back on a pickoff attempt. In Willits’ only full season as a player he had 27 steals in 35 attempts. The Yankees have a wealth of power but also some guys like Brett Gardner and Tyler Wade among others who will be called upon to swipe a base or two throughout the season. Willits is the man who they will turn to.