TAMPA — For most of Dillon Lawson’s tenure as Yankees batting coach, he’s been unable to do perhaps the most important aspect of his job: talk to the batters he’ll be coaching this season.
That will remain the case as long as the MLB lockout persists, but when it ends, Lawson — the Yankees’ former minor league batting coordinator who was officially promoted in December — knows that one of his main challenges will be to introduce some of his modern teaching techniques. major league veterans.
“We already have a good team in the major leagues, so I have to meet them where they are,” Lawson recently told the team’s player development complex. “We don’t have to throw everything at them. It’s more, ‘What did you do? Well, here are some things that might make you 1% better. It is important for us not to reinvent the wheel. It is not like that.”
Lawson built his reputation as a varsity and minors coach using pitch recognition technology and other methods that were just being introduced at the majors.
The Yankees have already redone their pitching methodologies with pitching manager Sam Briend and pitching coach Matt Blake.
And manager Aaron Boone told the Post’s Joel Sherman there was no turning back.
“You miss the boat if you don’t quite agree and understand the importance of all of this,” Boone said of the technology and analytics insights. “I try to bring that back here all the time.”
“It may not be a perfect analogy, but as soon as the telescope was invented, if you were an astronomer, you had to use it,” Lawson said. “Otherwise, you weren’t really an astronomer anymore. You could still look up into the sky and see some things, but if other people saw through a telescope, they saw a lot more.
And in his view that he doesn’t want to do away with all the old ways of doing things, Lawson emphasized what longtime scouts are capable of, even if the game has changed.
“If you get a scout that’s behind the plate with a radar gun all the time, I guarantee they can guess the pitch speed at one or two mph every time,” Lawson said. “We can do things in different ways. If a player doesn’t want to use technology, that’s fine. If anyone is curious and wants to do more, great and hopefully we can ease some of the anxiety they might be having.
He said he has received positive responses in the short time since he learned he had the new job before the December 2 lockout.
“When we’ve worked with guys before, it’s been great,” Lawson said. “Hopefully this will continue. You have to be able to meet the players where they are.
For now, he’s working with some of the minor leaguers not on the 40-player roster who are allowed at team facilities, including top prospects such as Anthony Volpe, Trey Sweeney and Austin Wells. .
Everyone on the 40 men has to practice on their own, and hitters such as Aaron Judge, Luke Voit, Gio Urshela and Gleyber Torres, who live in the Tampa area, did what they could on local pitches until until they are able to return to the Yankees facility.