The Yankees are making two in-house promotions to their big league coaching ranks, The Athletic’s Lindsey Adler reports. Dillon Lawson will become the team’s new hitting coach, after previously working as a minor league hitting coordinator. In addition, Desi Druschel will go from being the team’s minor league manager of pitch development to an assistant pitching coach role on Aaron Boone’s staff.
New York GM Brian Cashman said earlier this offseason that the club was planning to have three pitching and hitting coaches each in place for 2022, in order to better reflect how other teams have expanded and broadened coaching responsibilities beyond the traditional duties. Druschel joins Matt Blake and Mike Harkey on the pitching side, while Lawson will have two assistant hitting coaches that have yet to be hired. After the season, the Yankees didn’t retain former hitting coaches Marcus Thames or P.J. Pilittere.
Lawson worked as a hitting coach at the University Of Missouri and in the Astros’ farm system before he joined the Yankees three years ago. Since Lawson’s initial contract was up this winter, the promotion could be a way of keeping him in the fold, as Adler noted that there was some feeling other teams would try and hire Lawson away.
Despite all of the big names in New York’s lineup, the Bronx Bombers lacked some of their usual pop in 2021, finishing 17th of 30 teams in slugging percentage, 19th in runs scored, and 23rd in batting average. Only five teams had a worse collective strikeout rate than the Yankees’ collective 24.5% mark, as the team was often criticized for relying too much on a “three true outcomes” style. New York’s lineup also was, and still is, heavy on right-handed bats, making it somewhat easier for rival teams to construct gameplans. Aside from Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, pretty much the entire Yankee lineup underachieved last year, so Lawson and his assistants will have plenty of work to do in getting those hitters back on track.
Druschel joined the Yankees in 2019 after a long stint at the University Of Iowa. Druschel worked as Iowa’s director of baseball operations, and also worked three years as the team’s pitching coach.