The Yankees launched Brad Wilkerson as their new assistant hitting coach on Monday afternoon.
An outfielder and first baseman on 4 completely different Main League Baseball groups from 2001-2008, Wilkerson has spent the previous three years as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Jacksonville College within the Atlantic Solar Convention. He takes over the function that Hensley Mullins served final season. The Rockies employed Mullins in November to be their hitting coach.
Connecting over Zoom, the 45-year-old Wilkerson expressed the standard respect for the Yankee franchise that the majority new hires do.
“It is such an honor to be thought of for this chance,” he mentioned, “now it is beginning to sink in a bit of bit.” “I’m simply honored to be part of this group. It speaks for itself.”
Wilkerson described his work at Jacksonville College as the top of recruiting, working primarily with hitters. With the Yankees, he envisions his main function as “being there for the hitters,” with an emphasis on situational hitting and swing selections. He acknowledged his want to get the Yankees proper mentally and bodily, ensuring they confirmed as much as each recreation with a transparent however ready thoughts. He shall be within the dugout in the course of the matches.
When Wilkerson initially obtained a name from the Yankees—he estimated it was about ten days in the past—he informed them he wasn’t leaving Jacksonville for something however a giant league place. As soon as he spoke with Aaron Boone, hitting coach Dillon Lawson and went by means of the interview course of, he mentioned issues had been shifting in a short time.
“The chance to get again within the huge leagues and work with these guys and have all of the sources on the planet to try to win was very thrilling for me,” mentioned Wilkerson. “It was a no brainer.”
Throughout his profession with the Expos/Nationals, Rangers, Mariners, and Blue Jays, left-handed batter Wilkerson has put up a .247/.350/.440 slash (.790 OPS). He hit 32 residence runs in 2004, the ultimate yr the Expo was held in Montreal, and within the membership’s first yr in Washington, he hit 42 doubles. Wilkerson was additionally a affected person hitter and quietly one of many poster youngsters for the on-base proportion motion within the early 2000s.
In every of his eight years within the majors, he has made greater than 10% of his plate appearances. Throughout that 2004 marketing campaign, he walked 106 instances and have become solely the ninth participant in an Expo 5.0 or higher wins above substitute In a season earlier than the franchise moved to DC, 4 of the opposite members of that listing (Andre Dawson, Tim Raines, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Larry Walker) are within the Corridor of Fame.
Maybe unsurprisingly, then, the Yankees, who led the league in walks common final yr, had their eye on Wilkerson. When discussing his hitting philosophy, he appeared like a man who slot in properly with the present Yankees system.
“I used to be at all times a man who was a really affected person hitter,” he started. “The primary factor is you get an excellent pitch to hit, whether or not it is the primary pitch or the eighth pitch of a batter. I am huge on the psychological strategy. Get an important pitch to hit and hit laborious.” Dillon [Lawson] He got here up with a philosophy Hit the blows laborious. Resonated with me rather a lot. That is actually what it is about.”
He additionally shared that in his interview course of, he highlighted a few of the knowledge he gained taking part in with Frank Robinson in Montreal and Washington. The younger baseball icon helped Wilkerson perceive and respect the simplicity of the sport.
“It is laborious, however you need to hold it easy,” Wilkerson defined. technique [Robinson] I talked about hitting and taking part in the sport, which made me really feel quite simple and relaxed. That was large.”
Wilkerson turned the Yankees’ third head coach, becoming a member of Lawson and fellow hitting assistant coach Casey Dykes. He additionally turned a part of the equation on offense that led the American League in runs final yr and loved probably the greatest single seasons in sports activities historical past. Do not anticipate the brand new man to do a lot messing round with a participant who hits 62 residence runs.
“To begin with, I do not suppose I will mess an excessive amount of with Aaron Choose. They have an excellent plan, and what he did final yr was excellent.” “Clearly I will give some behind-the-scenes enter, however I really feel very ready for this. I have not been in a serious league shortly, however I really feel very assured in my expertise to get these guys to calm down, be themselves and profit from their talents.”
Born from Owensboro, Kentucky and a former faculty star on the College of Florida, Wilkerson was drafted by the Expos within the first spherical of the 1998 draft. In 2012, he turned the primary Gator to be inducted into the Collegiate Baseball Corridor of Fame. On the 2000 Olympic Video games in Sydney, he additionally helped the USA staff win a gold medal. He’s the proud proprietor of the final residence run in Expos historical past, and was The primary native to bat on the courseIn 2006 he was made a Kentucky Colonel, the very best honor bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky.