Pittsburgh Pirates: Jacob Cruz Hired as Assistant Hitting Coach


The Pittsburgh Pirates let go of their hitting coach and assistant hitting coach at the end of the season.  They now have replacements.

At the end of last season, the main point of frustration for fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates was the team’s inconsistent offense.  It seemed that the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization was frustrated as well because the team let go of both Jeff Branson and Jeff Livesey, the team’s hitting coach, and assistant hitting coach.

The team quickly hired a new hitting coach when they brought in Rick Eckstein from the Minnesota Twins organization.  Now it is being reported that the team has found their new assistant hitting coach.  According to the Chicago Tribune, the Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Jacob Cruz:

"“A source confirmed the departure of Cruz, 45, who joined the Cubs in 2017 as the hitting coach at Double-A Tennessee before he was elevated to coordinator duties in 2018. Cruz joins new hitting coach Rick Eckstein, as the Pirates revamped their hitting department “"

Cruz, of course, represents a coach who the Pittsburgh Pirates must be somewhat familiar due to belonging in the same division as the Cubs.  He was the Cubs’ minor league hitting coordinator, the same position that Rick Eckstein served in with the Twins. In recent years the Chicago Cubs have produced a lot of young talented hitters and Cruz gets plenty of credit for doing so.  However, according to the Chicago Tribune, there is one player who he specifically gets credit for when he spent years in Arizona:

"“Cruz spent six seasons as a hitting coach in the Diamondbacks organization, where he helped retool the swing of Mariners All-Star outfielder Mitch Haniger.”"

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So maybe Cruz can help diagnose Josh Bell‘s struggles last season and turn him into the power hitter fans had hoped along with other young players on the team.  It is hard to say if the team made a great hire as of now.  No one will really be able to judge the new hitting staff until the games start to get played.  However, both seem like very intriguing hires who have had a lot of success working with younger hitters, something that the team has plenty of.