The Yankees are back in the hitting coach search after the announced departure of Sean Casey on his podcast, and they could look to a familiar name to fill the role. According to Erik Boland of Newsday, the Yankees could be interested in former MiLB hitting coordinator James Rowson, who oversaw the development of the Baby Bomber core. He left for the Minnesota Twins hitting coach role following the 2016 season, where he then oversaw a record-breaking 2019 Twins lineup before spending time in Miami and Detroit this past season.
With familiarity with younger teams and player development, the Yankees could be getting a blend of former player experience and a modern-day approach
Yankees Could Have Found Their Hitting Coach
The Yankees have potentially made an offer to James Rowson according to Joel Sherman of the NY Post, and his familiarity with the Yankees in the previous decade could give him an in with the organization. Rowson was in consideration for the Red Sox’ managerial role after Alex Cora was fired prior to the 2020 season, and seems to have strong communication skills, especially when talking about his role as a hitting coach back in 2019, he emphasized the importance of terminology.
Rowson is a modern-thinking coach, and when he was with the organization from 2014-2016 it was his second stint with the organization. He was the MiLB hitting coordinator from 2008-2011, and he has a background as a former player with the organization as a Minor Leaguer. The prior experience as a player reveals that the Yankees are interested in acquiring a hitting coach who can better relate to the players, and the rapport with Aaron Judge should help get more Major League buy-in.
Some notable rookies who came onto the scene that came through the system while Rowson was in the organization for those six seasons were Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, and Greg Bird, and while there are varying results for these players, when healthy they all produced. What’s also notable is a lot of their young players came up and immediately impacted the team, whereas the prospects that came up recently failed to impact the team immediately.
Brendan Kuty of The Athletic reported earlier in the offseason that a disconnect between the MLB and MiLB hitting philosophy caused some issues for their prospects in the second half. Kuty also reported today that the Yankees are interested in Tim Laker as a potential hitting coach candidate, who was also a former player and is the current MiLB Hitting Coordinator for the Dodgers.
Backgrounds in player development and professional playing experience is a combination that fits the organization’s needs well, and it seems that they’re prioritizing the development of young internal talent and connecting with veterans in their job search.