Dillon Lawson boils his philosophy down to three simple words: “Hit strikes hard.” It is a mantra that the Yankees’ new hitting coach believes will yield immediate results this season.
“We chose that because we feel that it’s accurate to what really good baseball players do, but that it’s also very easy for players to remember,” Lawson said on Wednesday. “If you peel that back just one layer, it’s not that complicated. When we swing, we want to swing at strikes.
“When we swing at strikes, we’re likely to make more contact. When we make more contact, we’re likely to hit the ball harder. When we make hard contact, we would like to hit it over the infield. Sometimes we would like to hit it over the outfield fence. All of that works.”
Having served as the Yankees’ Minor League hitting coordinator for the last three years, Lawson will inherit a Yankees lineup that ranked 19th in the Majors and 10th in the American League with 711 runs scored last season.
“There’s plenty of things to be excited and optimistic about,” Lawson said. “We have an outstanding roster. As a hitting coach, we’ve got monsters all up and down the lineup. It’s amazing to be able to work with these guys. In reality, we’re trying to keep their strengths, and then any areas where we can improve — even just about 1% — that’s going to make a big difference.”
The 36-year-old Lawson is replacing hitting coaches Marcus Thames and P.J. Pilittere, whose contracts were not renewed in October. Lawson will work alongside assistant hitting coach Casey Dykes, 31, who spent last year as the hitting coach for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.