Brewers: 4 Internal Hitting Coach Candidates To Consider
By David Gasper
The Milwaukee Brewers have a vacancy with their major league hitting coach position after the dismissal of Andy Haines.
Speaking on the removal of Haines, Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns said the organization would be looking at both external and internal candidates to fill the role. With Reviewing the Brew having already looked at some potential external candidates, now let’s look at potential internal candidates.
Here are four potential internal candidates to be the next Brewers hitting coach.
1. Al LeBoeuf, Nashville Sounds hitting coach
When someone from the major league group is no longer there, it’s typical for the team to bring someone up from Triple-A. That goes for players, but could it also go for hitting coaches?
Al LeBoeuf, 61, has been in the Brewers organization for 12 years as a coach, most often as a hitting coach, throughout various levels, including Low-A, Double-A, and Triple-A. He’s been coaching since the late 1980s and has seen just about as much in baseball as anyone can see.
While LeBoeuf is on the older side, the Brewers could reward Leboeuf for his years of service to the organization and to the game with a promotion to the big league coaching staff. The Nashville Sounds had a good offense this year, despite dealing with continual changes in personnel.
He was able to get good seasons out of guys like Cooper Hummel, Jamie Westbrook, Weston Wilson, Matt Libka, Dustin Peterson, David Dahl, and Pablo Reyes this year, guys that weren’t necessarily top prospects, but put themselves on the radar for the big league club.
2. Eric Theisen, Carolina Mudcats Hitting Coach
It was a banner season for the offense in Zebulon, North Carolina. Working with prospects such as Joe Gray Jr, Joey Wiemer, Freddy Zamora, Zavier Warren, Sal Frelick, Hedbert Perez, Ernesto Martinez, Gabe Holt, Alex Binelas, Felix Valerio, and so many others, there were fantastic seasons all around in Carolina.
12 different players had an OPS over .795 this season, including some players who weren’t big-time prospects, such as Noah Campbell, Ashton McGee, and Darrien Miller.
Because of their seasons this year, players like Wiemer, Valerio, and Holt were put on the prospect map.
Theisen, 36, is regarded as a rising star within the industry, although a move up to the big league hitting coach role after just one season in professional baseball may be a little aggressive. Prior to his role with the Mudcats this season, Theisen was the head coach at Hillsdale College in Michigan, a Division 2 school.
He’s young, and analytically inclined, and led a very good offense in Carolina this year. He could merit consideration.
3. Sara Goodrum, Brewers minor league hitting coordinator
In Goodrum’s first season as the Brewers minor league hitting coordinator, the Brewers saw numerous hitting prospects put up strong seasons. Players such as the ones in Carolina previously mentioned, as well as Korry Howell, David Hamilton, Brice Turang, LG Castillo, Carlos Rodriguez, and others also had great 2021 seasons.
For the past few years, the Brewers farm system has been light on hitting prospects and the ones they did have never really had great seasons. But under Goodrum this year, that changed.
Joey Wiemer was the type of the prospect the Brewers typically struggled to get much out of. He was someone that needed mechanical changes and needed to work on his swing, and the Brewers just hadn’t had success with guys like that. They clearly found success with him this year, and whether that was the work of Goodrum, Theisen, or a combination of both is unknown to us, but Brewers brass knows.
When the Brewers pitching coach vacancy opened a few years ago, Chris Hook was promoted from being the minor league pitching coordinator to take the job. They could look to do something similar with Goodrum and the hitting coach vacancy this year.
4. Ned Yost IV, Nashville Sounds coach
Why don’t we put another Ned Yost in the Brewers dugout? The former Brewers manager’s son has been in the Brewers organization since 2005, when he signed as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
Yost IV, 38, played for a few years and then transitioned to becoming a minor league coach in the organization in 2008. He worked his way through the ranks, starting in Rookie ball in Helena, then to A-ball, and then has been a coach in Triple-A since 2017.
He was an infielder in his playing days and has been a hitting coach with Brewers affiliates in the past, although he doesn’t hold that specific title in Nashville, that is among his duties.
If the Brewers are going to promote from within and hire an internal option to fill the hitting coach vacancy, odds are good that it would be one of these four candidates.
Leboeuf is the oldest of the four candidates, and would likely be more of an old school candidate rather than the new school type of coaches that Theisen, Goodrum, and even Yost would bring.