We’ve been wondering how the Yankees will shake up the coaching staff or front office team after an 82 win season that saw them miss the playoffs, and now we know the first change that will need to be made. On his own podcast, hitting coach Sean Casey announced that he would not return for the 2024 season, citing family reasons.
Right off the bat, whatever is going on with his family (he alluded to wanting to see his daughters more), we hope that Casey’s able to resolve it. Some things are more important than baseball, and having a healthy, cohesive family unit is definitely one of them. Best of luck to Sean as he takes care of the primary concern in his life.
Turning to the baseball side of things, it was hard to tell what exactly Casey’s strengths were as a hitting coach. Hired on July 11th, the day after Dillon Lawson was dismissed, Casey didn’t seem able to unlock whatever potential was in the Yankee lineup. Leading up to Lawson’s firing, the Yankees as a club posted a 23.9-percent strikeout rate, 9.3-percent walk rate, and .171 ISO.
None of those numbers are great, but after Casey took over, only the walk rate improved — to 10.5 percent. Strikeouts rose to 26.2 percent and ISO dropped to .160, so the Yankees were striking out more often without the gains in power than in theory come with sacrificing contact. Check out John’s article yesterday for a deeper dive into the possible veteran/youth divide that cropped up.
Now, how much of the 2023 struggles boil down to a single hitting coach — one with only three months of work in particular — has influence over is up for debate, but there’s been a prevailing feeling that outside of pitching coach Matt Blake the coaching staff of this team just doesn’t have it. We know that manager Aaron Boone will be returning as manager in 2024, but perhaps this can be an opportunity for the Yankees to be a little progressive on the hitting side and see if there’s an equivalent to Blake for the now-vacant hitting coach role.