Skip to main content

Yankees’ Dillon Lawson Explains His 3-Word Approach to Hitting

Lawson shared his hitting philosophy on Wednesday. Simply put, he wants the Yankees to “hit strikes hard.”

Like a pretty swing, Dillon Lawson’s approach to hitting is short and sweet: “Hit strikes hard.”

Those three simple words summarize the philosophy Lawson has shared with Yankees farmhands over the last three years while working as the organization’s minor league hitting coordinator. Now he is applying that succinct mantra to the majors as New York’s new hitting coach.

“We chose that because we feel that it’s accurate to what really good baseball players do,” Lawson said of the motto during a Wednesday Zoom call. “It’s also very easy for players to remember.”

Lawson explained that the Yankees wanted players to have a response when people outside the organization asked what the club believes in. And so the concise quip was born.

“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,” Lawson said, expanding on his one-liner. “When we make hard contact, if we can, we would like to hit it over the infield. Sometimes we would like to hit it over the outfield, over the outfield fence. All of that works.”

READ: Yankees' Hitting Coach Dillon Lawson Eager to Start Working With 'Outstanding' Roster

One hope for this approach is that it leads to fewer ground balls for the Yankees in 2022. With Marcus Thames in Lawson’s current position, New York hit the ball on the ground 43.4% of the time last season, the 12th-highest mark in the majors. The Yankees also grounded into 154 double plays, by far the most in the American League.

Scroll to Continue

RECOMMENDED ARTICLES

Lawson said that the team will focus on improving its ground ball rate, and thus its line drive and fly ball rates, this coming season. He also shared other hitting insights, such as his distaste for expanding the plate with two strikes and saving one’s best swing or approach for a certain count. “Hitters should use their best swing at all times,” the analytically-driven Lawson said.

“I feel really confident in our ability to be successful if a pitcher has to throw pitches over the white of home plate,” he continued.

One reason Lawson is so confident after the Yankees’ offensive inconstancies in 2021? The new coach believes he’s inheriting a star-studded lineup. He’s just looking to make minor advances.

“We have an outstanding roster. As a hitting coach, we’ve got monsters all up and down the lineup,” Lawson said. “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 when we get onto the field considering the talent that we already have.”

MORE:

Follow Gary Phillips on Twitter (@GaryHPhillips). Be sure to bookmark Inside The Pinstripes and check back daily for news, analysis and more.