The Detroit Tigers have finally hired their next hitting coach (or coaches, as it turns out)
The Detroit Tigers have just announced the hiring of a two hitting coaches at the Major League level. Michael Brdar and Keith Beauregard have both been given the title of hitting coach, and James Rowson will serve as an assistant hitting coach. The team also confirmed the hiring of former Iowa pitching coach Robin Lund as an assistant pitching coach.
Brdar is a heck of a story. First of all, he's only 28 years old. Just a few years ago, he was the starting shortstop for the University of Michigan baseball team, where he crossed paths with now-Tigers pitching coach Chris Fetter. He majored in economics while he was at Michigan.
He was the hitting coordinator in the Giants' organization from 2020-21, where he crossed paths with Scott Harris, who was the Giants' GM at the time. That makes two connections to the Detroit Tigers.
He was hired by the Padres to be Bob Melvin's hitting coach last year. Under his watch, the Padres were 15th in the league with a team OPS of .700. They were 21st in the league in home runs and 22nd in slugging percentage. They were also 13th in wRC+ and sixth in walk rate. For context, the Tigers were last in all of these categories except OPS, where they were 29th.
Padres fans react
Padres fans seem to be cheering the fact that Brdar is gone, which doesn't exactly bode well for this hire. Here are a few examples:
The Padres' numbers last year weren't exactly great, but they were better than the Tigers. Then again, they also have a much better roster than the Tigers. They also reached the NLCS while having an offense that was middle of the pack at best. Time will tell if this hire pays dividends for the Detroit Tigers.
Not much is available on Bearegard. He played indepedent ball for a few years as an outfielder. He had previously been a hitting instructor in the Dodgers minor league system according to Evan Petzold of The Detroit Free Press.
Rowson, 46, has spent the last three years as the bench coach for the Miami Marlins. He was the hitting coach for the Twins from 2017-19. In 2019, the Twins hit a big-league record 307 homers.
He has also crossed paths with Scott Harris before. He got his coaching career started in 2011 with the Cubs, and became their major league hitting coach in 2012— the same year Harris joined the Cubs' front office.
I'm not sure how to react to these hires. Based on the numbers, I'd rather see Rowson as the big league hitting coach. I suppose that's why they brought in two other coaches to work alongside Brdar. That, and again, he's 28. On the other hand, nobody can be worse than Scott Coolbaugh.
The Padres' numbers under Brdar last year weren't great, and Padres fans celebrating this hire isn't the greatest look. But maybe a new organization and being surrounded by people he's familiar with will help Brdar and this will turn out to be a great hire. But again, only time will tell.