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Pirates Expected to Stay Internal in Search For Hitting Coach

Ken Rosenthal reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates are expected to stay internal in their search for a new hitting coach. Meanwhile, Travis Sawchik says assistant hitting coach Jeff Branson is a candidate for the position.

Last night we heard that Jay Bell took a position with the Cincinnati Reds as their bench coach, which left the Pirates without a hitting coach for the 2014 season. Branson would make sense, since he was working at the major league level last year. As for the minor league coaches, it’s hard to quantify the value of a hitting coach, since you don’t know how much of a player’s production was due to the player, and how much was due to the coach. With that said, here are the minor league coaches from the full-season leagues last year, and some of the players they worked with.

AAA – Mike Pagliarulo: This was the first year for Pagliarulo with Indianapolis. The hitters with the most success were Andrew Lambo, Josh Harrison, and Jordy Mercer briefly before his call-up. As a major league hitter, he had 134 home runs in his career, with 32 in 1987 for the Yankees.

AA – Ryan Long: He’s been the hitting coach in the system for several years, working with guys like Jordy Mercer, Tony Sanchez, Josh Harrison, and any other hitter who has gone through Altoona to the majors the last few years.

A+ – Edgar Varela: He spent the 2012 season in West Virginia and 2013 in Bradenton. Those were also the stops for breakout prospects Gregory Polanco and Alen Hanson.

A – Orlando Merced: Pirates fans know Merced. The 2013 season was his first in the organization and he worked with Stetson Allie and Josh Bell, who both had good seasons in West Virginia.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • rohabi

    Should it worry the Pirates that their hitting coach has just moved over to a division rival?

  • piratemike

    I’ll be impressed with hitting coach if he can get Pedro to hit .250 and strike out “only” 28%.

  • Traco Bucco

    When I talked to Tony Sanchez early in the season, he spoke highly of his work with Pagliarulo.

  • CalipariFan506

    Our lefty hitters were for the most part attrocious with Bell this season. This is no loss at all.

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