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 position 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 everyday respect for the Yankee franchise that almost all new hires do.
“It is such an honor to be thought-about for this chance,” he mentioned, “now it is beginning to sink in a little bit 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 major position as “being there for the hitters,” with an emphasis on situational hitting and swing choices. He acknowledged his need to get the Yankees proper mentally and bodily, ensuring they confirmed as much as each sport with a transparent however ready thoughts. He might be within the dugout through the matches.
When Wilkerson initially acquired 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 an enormous 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 have been transferring in a short time.
“The chance to get again within the massive leagues and work with these guys and have all of the assets on this 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 dwelling 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 children for the on-base share 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 better wins above alternative In a season earlier than the franchise moved to DC, 4 of the opposite members of that record (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 a great pitch to hit, whether or not it is the primary pitch or the eighth pitch of a batter. I am massive on the psychological method. Get an awesome pitch to hit and hit exhausting.” Dillon [Lawson] He got here up with a philosophy Hit the blows exhausting. Resonated with me rather a lot. That is actually what it is about.”
He additionally shared that in his interview course of, he highlighted among 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 exhausting, however it’s important to maintain it easy,” Wilkerson defined. methodology [Robinson] I talked about hitting and taking part in the sport, which made me really feel quite simple and relaxed. That was enormous.”
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 among the finest single seasons in sports activities historical past. Do not count on the brand new man to do a lot messing round with a participant who hits 62 dwelling runs.
“Initially, I do not suppose I will mess an excessive amount of with Aaron Choose. They have a great plan, and what he did final yr was superb.” “Clearly I am going to give some behind-the-scenes enter, however I really feel very ready for this. I have not been in a significant league shortly, however I really feel very assured in my abilities to get these guys to calm down, be themselves and profit from their skills.”
Born from Owensboro, Kentucky and a former school 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 america crew win a gold medal. He’s the proud proprietor of the final dwelling 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.