According to reports the Pittsburgh Pirates have hired their new hitting coach by tabbing a hitting coach with experience in the NL Central
Late in the 2021 season the Pittsburgh Pirates made a change to their coaching staff. This came when manager Derek Shelton fired hitting coach Rick Eckstein. Now, it appears that Shelton has his replacement for Eckstein.
According to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pittsburgh Pirates are set to hire Andy Haines as their new hitting coach.
Haines brings five years of experience coaching in the NL Central to the Pirates. He was an assistant hitting coach for the Chicago Cubs during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. The Milwaukee Brewers then hired Haines as their hitting coach prior to the 2019 season.
The past three seasons Haines served as he hitting coach for the Brewers prior to being let go following the 2021 season. The 44-year-old Haines will look to help turnaround a Pirate offense that struggled in 2021, ranking last in the National League in both home runs (124) and runs scored (609), while finishing next to last in on-base percentage (.309).
While Haines may have a lot of work ahead of him when the 2022 season begins, there are plenty of young, talented hitters on their way. Haines, obviously, will have Bryan Reynolds and Ke’Bryan Hayes as his core hitters in 2022. Young hitters such as Travis Swaggerty, Diego Castillo, Oneil Cruz, Mason Martin, Jack Suwinski, Canaan Smith-Njigba and Nick Gonzales, among others, will start to become MLB regulars in the next two seasons.
With the amount of young hitters the Pirates have on the brink of becoming key contributors at the Major League level the hiring of Haines would appear to indicate they have faith in his ability to develop these hitters. This will also prove to be a good opportunity for Haines to cement himself as a hitting coach.