It's been a busy offseason for Dillon Lawson.
Not only did Lawson welcome his third son into the world a few months ago, but he was recently hired to work as the newest hitting coach for the Yankees.
Lawson spent the last three years as New York’s minor league hitting coordinator, leading the organization's farm system to new heights. Now, he's eager to work with what he called an "outstanding roster," bringing his "hit strikes hard" philosophy to the Bronx.
"Plenty of things to be excited and optimistic about," Lawson told reporters on Wednesday. "As a hitting coach, we've got monsters all up and down the lineup. And so I'm extremely excited. It's amazing to be able to work with these guys. In reality, we're trying to keep their strengths, their strengths and then any areas where we can just improve even just about 1%, that's going to it's going to make a big difference when we get onto the field considering the talent that we already have."
Since 2019, minor leaguers within the Yankees organization have ranked fourth among all 30 MLB clubs in slugging percentage (.404) and OPS (.743) and sixth in on-base percentage (.339) and runs per game (5.12).
In 2021 alone, New York's minor league ballplayers were first in baseball in slugging percentage (.435) and OPS (.792), second in OBP (.358), third in runs per game (5.80) and seventh in batting average (.253).
Although MLB's lockout prevented Lawson from specifically referencing any of the big leaguers he'll be working with this season and beyond, the hitting coach did give a sneak peek into his day-to-day responsibilities and how he's preparing for the beginning of spring training.
"It's been a lot of video," he said. "Video on our own players, video on our opponents and getting ahead of things there."
That also includes laying the groundwork for how he'll interact with members of New York's big-league roster when the lockout ends. Lawson explained that he's working on an extensive menu of material for those players to utilize when everything goes back to normal, making sure he's putting this roster in the best possible position to excel and improve each day.
As much as the lockout is challenging for everyone, especially a first-year coach, Lawson revealed that he was able to convene with some Yankees players prior to the lockout, getting to know those in pinstripes both on and off the field.
It'll be a tight window for everyone to get ready once the lockout ends, but Lawson feels that he's ready to hit the ground running thanks to his experience at different levels within the organization.
"I feel very lucky that I've been in the organization for the last three years," Lawson explained. "One of the small benefits that came out of the 2020 season was the fact that it put me face to face with these players, whether it was at the alternate site or in the bubble. So there is experience with guys. I've had lunch, I've been in the cage, I've been in the dugout with players. So the relationship building has begun already, we were able to actually spend time with a handful of players before the lockout started. So that was awesome, a great experience, being able to just be in the cage and go out to dinner and do things like that with a handful of players before the lockout began. And when it ends, it's going to be business as usual, spring training, let's get here, let's see where everybody's at and then just get to work."
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