Yankees not worried about coaching staff’s lack of experience

Aaron Boone’s revamped coaching staff is trending more toward new industry standards — in both its size and the fact major league playing experience is not required.

The Yankees’ staff for 2022 grew to 11 last week when they announced the hiring of six new coaches to replace the four that were fired from or departed last year’s staff. Aside from assistant hitting coach Eric Chavez, whose 17-season big league career made him the most well-known name of the group, the new hires combined for one MLB game during their playing careers.

While Boone brings a wealth of major league playing experience, in addition to his four seasons as Yankees manager, his staff largely took other avenues to end up in the Bronx Bombers’ dugout.

“We’re trying to find the best coaches and the best people to impact our guys,” Boone said last week on a Zoom call. “Probably for a long time, we were a little pigeonholed with it having to be a guy with big league service time and has this career. That is absolutely of value and part of a checklist that checks the box for a lot of people. Experience matters, what they’ve done matters,… but we were also probably closing ourselves off to a lot of really great coaches, because in a lot of ways, that was a prerequisite.

Aaron Boone
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg

“I think now we’re starting to probably follow more of an NBA/NFL model, where you have coaches that are really good at impacting players.”

Of the six new hires, only Chavez (1,615 games) and first base and infield coach Travis Chapman (one game) played in the big leagues before beginning their coaching careers.

Third-base coach and former Mets manager Luis Rojas played in the minor leagues, but the other three hires — hitting coach Dillon Lawson, assistant hitting coach Casey Dykes and assistant pitching coach Desi Druschel — ended their playing careers at the college level.

More importantly, Lawson, Dykes, Druschel and Chapman are all products of the Yankees’ player development system. Aligned with the organization’s philosophy of analytics and data-driven coaching, they proved that what they were teaching was working in the minor leagues, which earned them promotions to Boone’s staff.

“Ultimately, players want to [know], ‘Can you help me?’ And, ‘Are you helping me?’ ” Boone said. “That ultimately is the biggest litmus test and the biggest factor. A guy that doesn’t have a big league résumé from a playing standpoint may have to earn his way a little bit more, perhaps, but once you demonstrate and show that you’re helping a player, that’s all you want. You got a short window to have a major league career. If somebody from a coaching standpoint I know is helping me and impacting me, in the end I don’t really care how I get it.”

That was on full display last season for the Giants, who had a 13-person staff under manager Gabe Kapler. The majority of the coaches had no major league experience. The result was an NL West crown, with San Francisco playing well beyond preseason expectations and racking up 107 wins.

Boone said the number of coaches on his staff was not as important as making sure the Yankees hired the right people. But having Chapman take on infield coaching duties will free up bench coach Carlos Mendoza to further assist Boone and his staff. And adding an assistant pitching coach and an extra assistant hitting coach will allow the Yankees to best support their players in an age in which there are plenty of numbers and information to digest before each game.

“There’s obviously more things readily available that guys have to sift through,” Boone said. “But that’s not to say when a coaching staff was smaller 20, 30, 40 years ago that there weren’t tremendous responsibilities then. It all just kind of changes and evolves.”