The Tigers announced a batch of additions to their coaching staff, including Michael Brdar as major league hitting coach, Keith Beauregard as major league hitting coach, James Rowson as assistant major league hitting coach, Robin Lund as assistant major league pitching coach and Ryne Eubanks as head athletic trainer.
Brdar, 28, has proven to be a popular name for coaching positions in his young career. As a player, he was drafted by the Cardinals in 2017 and got some action at rookie ball that year. That was the end of his playing days, with Brdar then joining the University of Michigan, where he played college ball, as a coach. He followed that up by getting hired as the Giants’ minor league hitting coordinator.
One year ago, he was hired away from the Giants by the Padres, who made him hitting coach at the major league level. After one season in San Diego, he’ll now head back to the state of his alma mater. The Tigers’ new president of baseball operations Scott Harris was general manager of the Giants until recently, meaning he presumably was aware of Brdar’s work in that organization. Joining Brdar as hitting coach for the Tigers will be Keith Beauregard, who had previously been coaching in the Dodgers’ system. Those two will be joined by James Rowson, who had been working as bench coach for the Marlins and has had some interest for managerial openings in recent years.
Hitting will likely be a key focus for the club after that was a huge weakness for them in 2022. Just about every player in the lineup underperformed at the plate, from veterans to prospects. As a collective, Detroit hitters produced a batting line of .231/.286/.346. The resulting 81 wRC+ indicates they were 19% below league average, the worst such mark in the majors. Their 110 home runs were also dead last by a significant margin, as the Guardians were 29th with 127. For a team that entered 2022 with aspirations of ending their rebuild and competing for a playoff spot, those results were disappointing to say the least.
The Padres will now have a vacancy in their own hitting coach position, though Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Ryan Flaherty is expected to take over the role. Flaherty played in the big leagues from 2012 to 2019 but has since transitioned into the coaching side of the game. The Padres hired him as quality control coach going into 2020 and he has remained with the club since then. The Mets tried to pry him away to be their bench coach a year ago, though the Padres denied their request to interview him.