Upon his arrival in Boston, Tim Hyers has made it clear that there will be a change.
The Red Sox offensive philosophy over the past few seasons under former hitting coach Chili Davis taught hitters to control the strike zone, be selective, and drive up the pitch count. This led to the Sox swinging at only 43.9 percent of pitches, the second-lowest rate in the majors.
While advisable to wait for a meatball over the heart of the plate, the possibility to be too passive also exists. Last season, the Sox swung at fewer pitches in the strike zone than any team in baseball, posting a 62.3% clip. However, they were middle of the pack in swinging at pitches out of the strike zone, at 29.5%. In layman’s terms, they were laying off some hangers, but fishing for hooks in the dirt.
Enter Tim Hyers.
Hyers is the former assistant hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Under Hyers, the Dodgers saw the team score 725 and 770 runs the past two seasons, an increase from 667 runs in 2015.
The new Red Sox hitting coach was at the forefront of leading a new revolution of using launch angle, which is the measurement of a ball’s vertical trajectory off a bat.
Hyers has been tasked with instituting the offensive philosophy that made the Dodgers so productive over the past few seasons, into a Red Sox lineup which struggled offensively a season ago.
When asked to explain his offensive philosophy Hyers had this to say,
“We’ve always wanted, as hitters, to hit the ball hard and get on base and slug to drive in runs. But now, with all the technology, we can start to put a number on it,” Hyers says. “If you hit a ball 15 to 30 degrees in the air and you hit it 95 to 100 mph, it’s going to be a productive swing. That’s what they were shooting for [in Los Angeles], and it worked out really well.” – via Scott Lauber / ESPN
Hyers is returning to the Red Sox organization with a lineup infused with youth – headlined by Mookie, JBJ, Xander and most recently with Benintendi and Rafael Devers.
The hope is also that Dombrowski will be able to bring in a power-hitter (J.D. Martinez) to infuse a lineup devoid of power a season ago. With Tim spending time in the Nation League West, he had a front-row seat watching Martinez blast four home runs in a single game against his Dodgers.
After being hired, the Red Sox sent Hyers video of several hitters. He has begun watching, making notes and sharing some of his observations with various players via phone calls and text messages.
There is little doubt that between the work ethic of Alex Cora and Tim Hyers, the Red Sox will be ready to rock in 2018 and send more balls over the Green Monster.