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Why Cubs see Greg Brown as more than just a hitting coach

4 weeks agoAndy Martinez

CARLSBAD, Calif. — As major league front offices and coaching staffs have evolved, so has the responsibility of traditional coaching positions.

Take, for example, the role of a hitting coach. The Cubs announced Tuesday that they had named Greg Brown as their hitting coach, but that only begins to scratch the surface of what the Cubs hope he can provide to their offense.

“Being a really good collaborator is really important,” Hoyer said during the first full day of the General Manager meetings. “We look at this as like a kind of hitting department and a pitching department more than just like a one-man show.”

With more and more data and information available, it’s imperative to have the right set of people that can dissect that knowledge and provide it to hitters in a way that’s easily digestible.

It’s not just about looking at a player’s swing. There’s creating a game plan for the opposing starter and any bullpen arms. There’s data about tendencies and plenty of numbers and information that could stress a player out.

“When we think about what does player development look like in big leagues, I think it’s a lot of coaches collaborating to get the most out of a player,” Hoyer said.

In Brown, they found someone who was part of an organization that was thriving in that environment. Brown spent the last two seasons as the minor league hitting coordinator for the Rays, overseeing the hitting infrastructure that would produce future major leaguers.

At a small market team like the Rays, that job is crucial, because they don’t have the resources to spend to fix offensive issues. Instead, they rely on their prospects and players ascending through their minor leagues and thriving at the big-league level and the Rays have done that.

“In order to do really good player development at the big-league level, you have to be willing to have a lot of conversations with the minor league coaches,” Hoyer said.

That’s because the Cubs want the message a player receives to be presented in the same manner, whether he’s in rookie ball or playing every day at the major league level. Creating that symbiose will start with Brown.

“We were really excited to bring him on,” Hoyer said. “[His] background is fascinating — with being a really good area scout, to a really good college coach to being a coordinator of an organization that really does a great job developing hitting.”

The Cubs will look outside of the organization to fill the assistant hitting coach job that was vacated when Chris Valaika left to become the Cleveland Guardians’ hitting coach.

“We were sad to lose Chris Valaika,” Hoyer said. “He was a guy that we had hired and watched him grow and you’re always bummed to lose him.”

 

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