‘Connector’ Sean Casey’s entry may force Yankees to do a rejig


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Sean Casey’s entry into the New York Yankees organization is likely to impact the power dynamic within the Yankees organization. An advocate of the old school of baseball, the new hitting coach may change the Yankees’ analytics-based approach.

As Casey emphasized during his recent Zoom call with reporters, he brings a unique quality as a “connector” to the Yankees. His warm personality and firsthand experience in a major league batter’s box allow him to establish a strong rapport with the team’s veteran hitters.

However, it should be noted that Casey does not possess specific knowledge of the Yankees’ organizational hitting philosophy. While his qualities as a connector and his experience as a player are highly valuable, he will need to familiarize himself with the team’s approach and adapt accordingly.

Is the coaching change a step toward the Yankees’ transformation

The recent coaching change, the first of its kind during Brian Cashman’s tenure, shed light on the robust power dynamics present within the Yankees organization.

Cashman and manager Aaron Boone are aligned in their pursuit of striking the perfect balance between analytics and on-field expertise. They value the integration of advanced data and technology but recognize the importance of human elements such as empathy and effective execution to make these tools meaningful for the Yankees.

Cashman’s successful persuasion of Hal Steinbrenner to dismiss hitting instructor Dillon Lawson, along with Boone’s endorsement of Sean Casey as the replacement, underscored the trust and confidence that both have earned from the Yankees owner. This demonstrated their alignment in valuing a balanced approach that goes beyond a data-only mindset, as highlighted by the presence of Yankees assistant GM Michael Fishman, who advocates for intellectual diversity within the organization.

When questioned about his plans to familiarize himself with the Yankees’ homegrown hitters and their teachings, Casey emphasized that the transition from the minor leagues to the big leagues brings a different level of expertise. He believes that once players reach the major leagues, they already possess a solid understanding of their craft and approach at the plate.

Undoubtedly, Yankees players like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Anthony Rizzo will value the acknowledgment and respect that comes with such a statement. However, if we consider a different perspective for a moment, the Yankees have dedicated significant time and effort to establish consistency throughout Kevin Reese’s player development system, focusing on areas such as hitting, pitching, strength, and conditioning.

Yankees new hitting coach Sean Casey
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Prior to assuming the role of major league hitting coach, Dillon Lawson served as the Yankees’ hitting coordinator for three years. His promotion played a crucial role in establishing a connection throughout the entire system, enabling the team to cultivate a shared language and shared values in regard to hitting.

Similar to successful organizations, the Yankees have always emphasized the importance of unity and coherence across different levels. This commitment to cohesion can be traced back to the ’80s when Billy Martin, the team’s manager at the time, would invite all minor league managers to spring training. He would ensure that they learned and implemented the same drills used by the major league team, fostering a sense of consistency and shared practices throughout the organization.

But Casey’s hiring is seen as someone from outside the Cashman-Boone era entering the Yankees. Though Caset and Boone are good friends, the former has never been a part of the Yankees organization.

However, Cashman believes Casey’s primary responsibility is to concentrate on preparing the hitters for each game. The Yankees’ hitting coach should be focused on the importance of game planning and finding strategies to secure victories on a daily basis. His role does not extend to overseeing the development of players in minor leagues such as Triple-A, Double-A, or the Florida Complex League. Currently, Casey’s focus is solely on assisting the team in their pursuit of reaching and succeeding in the World Series.

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner with GM Brian Cashman at spring training center in Tampa in 2023.
Kim Klement/USA Today Sports

No hope for change in Yankees’ dynamics

Cashman has already clarified that despite the decision to remove Lawson from his position, the Yankees have no intentions of altering their organizational or player development strategies in relation to hitting. He acknowledged Lawson’s significant contributions in designing those approaches but emphasized that the team’s overall philosophy and methodologies will remain intact.

The team’s current hitting coordinator, Joe Migliaccio, learned his craft from Lawson. Migliaccio has a stellar reputation as a coach who can connect with young players inside the team. Lawson’s assistant until this past Sunday, Casey Dykes, is still with the major league team.

According to a team official, it was mentioned that Dillon was responsible for the recruitment and hiring process of most of the Yankees’ hitting staff. The Yankees’ hitting approach is frequently misinterpreted as solely prioritizing launch angle and exit velocity, disregarding other essential skills and attributes. However, the truth is much more intricate and multifaceted.

Hitters within the Yankees’ system are instructed to focus on hitting the ball in the air, particularly to the side of the field they naturally pull the ball towards. They are educated on the areas of the field where batted balls can result in higher impact and where hitting for power may be less effective, often avoiding the center field. To help refine their skills, they utilize bat sensors and engage in weighted ball programs.

The core principles and teachings of the Yankees’ hitting philosophy will remain intact. However, the specific reinforcement and guidance provided by the major league hitting coach will be different for the rest of the season.

Cashman indicated that a reassessment of the team’s strategies and personnel would take place after the season concludes to evaluate the current state and make necessary adjustments. But with a dominating presence of Casey, it is difficult to rule out changes.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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2 thoughts on “‘Connector’ Sean Casey’s entry may force Yankees to do a rejig

  1. This is pure BS. Did Cashman dictate this column? After 25 yrs he fires a coach in season for 1st time? Then hires a coach that goes against the organizational philosophy? Come on now.
    This came from the top. Fredo Steinbrenner now has other voices to listen to. Sabian and Minaya, ex GMs who are old school, are new voices in organization.
    History has shown Cashman is inflexible. How else do you explain 13 yrs without getting to a Series without changing philosophy? The elevate, pull the ball approach has killed Yanks against playoff pitching for 13 yrs.

  2. So it was made clear that the Yankees would replace their hitting coach with someone from “outside” the organization. Well why? Usually that means a breath of fresh air to the position. But according to this article, Casey is going to have to “get up to speed” with the Yankees methods and approach. Isn’t a complete pivot what’s indicated? Every hitter is different so if you try to overlay a canned “approach” to hitting on them all, that’s a recipe for disaster. That’s why we can’t score. If every other team knows our approach (and they do because we’ve traded so many of our guys to them for big ticket items and they certainly clued in their new clubs about the “approach”), that’s the biggest tell you can offer a one-on-one opponent. I trust The Mayor’s Office is watching hours of video of our guys and writing individual prescriptions for everybody to reflect the tweaks he will offer them. Just like he and DeRo do when they skybox hitters on MLB Central.

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