Cubs Hire Rob Deer as Assistant Hitting Coach

The Chicago Cubs have hired Rob Deer as their assistant hitting coach (a new position), serving under manager Dale Sveum, and, presumably, hitting coach James Rowson. Deer was a teammate of Sveum’s in Milwaukee from 1986 to 1990, so there’s obviously a history there.

Now, as I’ve said before, you can’t always look to a coach’s playing career to determine what kind of hitting coach he’ll be. But, as it is one of the few data points we have, it’s worth exploring.

Rob Deer was Adam Dunn before Adam Dunn was Adam Dunn – he was the classic three outcome hitter: he struck out, he walked, or he homered. A career .220 hitter, Deer made his bones with a .324 career OBP and a .442 SLG. That’s an incredible .114 IsoD (12.7% career walk rate!) and an excellent .222 IsoP, the kinds of things you’d love to see your hitters incorporate into their game. More patience, more power. More runs.

So, Deer was Dunn before Dunn, and he was a sabermetric darling before such a thing was even remotely mainstream.

Deer has worked as a hitting instructor around baseball for a while now in his post-playing career, and has also been developing his proprietary “Vizubat,” a device designed to help hitters.

I like not only Deer’s background, as a different kind of hitter (diversity is often good), but I like that the Cubs are bringing yet another voice/mind into the equation at the plate. Lord knows they can use all the help they can get, and if Deer and Sveum already have a quality history of working well together, this could be a nice mix for the Cubs.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

59 responses to “Cubs Hire Rob Deer as Assistant Hitting Coach”

  1. Tommy

    I’ll take a guy that has an OBP 100 points higher than his BA any day. That’s incredible, and something our current roster is sorely lacking in.

    Didn’t Deer kill the Cubs as a player, as well, or is my memory clouded on that?

    1. TWC

      Didn’t Deer kill the Cubs as a player…?

      Totally. He has a lifetime .500/.500/.750 line against the Cubs…

      in four at bats.

      1. Cubbie Blues

        The real problem with saying someone is a Cubs killer is that everyone has killed the Cubs. If you haven’t noticed they haven’t always been a very dominant team.

  2. Terry

    no wondi’m going bald! let’s hire an assistant to th assistant next. hey anytime they need an assistent to the assistant bat boy, i’m ready. let’s not try to sign any good players. and yes they could sign some FA’s. their are some good one’s out there. everyone says they want to go young. well good for them there are soom good young free agents. but they would rather spend the money on things like this. like we have two GM’s. i know some of you will say theo is baseball operations guy. ok, thats just a fansy name for #1 Gm. Im diehard. i just hope they someday will win before i pass on. my dad was a lifelong cubs fan, and never got to see them win it all before he passed away. i pray i don’t face the same fate.

  3. Terry

    *no wonder*

    1. dw8

      best troll ever.

      1. AB

        I love how there are about 15 mispelled words in there and he makes the effort to point out one.

        1. fromthemitten

          you fansy huh?

    2. fromthemitten

      DIEHARD!!!!!

  4. hansman1982

    how much longer until there is the LH Hitting Coach, RH Hitting Coach, Power Coach, OBP Coach, etc…

  5. Frank F

    Rob Deer was Adam Dunn minus 15-20 home runs per year. Rob Deer was Russell Branyan.

  6. kranzman54

    Everyone breathe, no one is saying this is a huge move or even going to win us a single game. However, as Brett said in his podcast, the little moves are necessary and important. Let’s not rip Theo for signing a coach.

    1. Rich

      Yep that argument really stood out with STL and McGwire as their hitting coach. He only had them towards the top of the league in hitting and got them a ring.

      I remember Deer as a player. He was dangerous. Loved him for power off the bench in APBA (I know that shows my age).

  7. DarthHater

    Hiring a guy who once struck out 186 times in a season to coach your hitters. That’s the kind of outside-the-box thinking that could move the Cubs up to 4th place in the Central next year.

    1. MightyBear

      I know I shouldn’t encourage him but that one made me laugh.

      1. DarthHater

        Shame on you for encouraging humor at this site. :-P

  8. fromthemitten

    what’s next? are they gonna sign Jack Cust to play RF?

  9. baseballet

    I clicked on the Vizubat link and watched the first youtube video. It’s unintentionally hilarious, as it looks like Deer and Yount are hawking an aluminum bat with a baseball glued to it for $300.

    1. DarthHater

      Wow. Vizubat looks like it might even be able to help Brett Jackson put the bat on the ball!

      1. Cubbie Blues

        How do you think Soriano improved as much as he did this year? He started using the Vizubat! Guaranteed to improve your hand-eye coordination in 45 minutes or your money back. Order now while supplies last. Only 5 easy payments of $49.95.

    2. Mike

      I wondered that myself. What’s to stop anyone from just gluing a ball onto a bat they already have and save the $300?

  10. cubsin

    If I were being sarcastic, I’d say something about Deer being hired to help Brett Jackson. But I actually think hiring an assistant hitting coach is a good idea. Several other teams already have them, and I was surprised Theo and Company were behind the curve on this one.

  11. Seamhead

    Here’s an Astros perspective on potential picks in the upcoming Rule V Draft…

    http://www.crawfishboxes.com/2012/11/26/3680328/a-look-at-the-top-names-in-the-rule-5-draft

    1. Kyle

      Back off my Josh Shields, Astros! Want want want on him.

      1. Myles

        I’m more into Josh Fields, myself.

        Actually, I’m into Galvez. He could totally draw starts at 3B (though he hasn’t in the minors) and doesn’t strike out a ton. He walks (.366 OBP in AA) and, let’s be honest, we can afford to stash a 22-year old on the roster for the year.

        Don’t get me wrong – Fields will be a better contributor and is the better pick. I just don’t think the Astros won’t take him, so I’d be very comfortable with Galvez next year (or Sulbaran, who might just need a bullpen conversion to be MLB-ready).

    2. ssckelley

      Are the Cubs picking 2nd in this draft? Josh Fields looks like a good target if the Astros do not take him.

      If you read into the comments Strucks name is getting a few mentions.

    3. Alex

      I was happy that Nick Struck’s name wasn’t included in the post, but was bummed to see his name come up several times in the comments. I was hoping he would go unnoticed.

      1. Chris

        His name is being mentioned on other fan sites too. If anyone is getting picked, it seems like Struck could be the guy.

  12. fromthemitten

    Vizubat is apparently specifically designed for pokemon https://pbs.twimg.com/media/A8pqsOQCQAAe6A9.png:large

  13. Mick

    Do Assistant Hitting Coaches even travel with the team or sit on the bench? Or are they just around the team during Spring Training?

  14. cubsin

    They’re with the team all year, but aren’t allowed to sit on the bench during games due to archaic baseball rules that limit the number of coaches in uniform. If the NFL was this backward, their coaching staffs at games would be limited to about a quarter of the number they actually have.

  15. cheryl

    So, they hire another hitting coach, Will anybody listen or is this another cog in the administrative hirings? Maybe its a good idea, but let’s see if it helps.

  16. Leroy

    well now I feel old.

  17. terencemann

    Dingers, baby!

  18. Curt

    is there anyone the cubs haven’t hired yet.

    1. MichiganGoat

      Dick Tidrow is still not in the Cubs front office so we do have goals!

  19. Josh

    Hey Brett this is off topic but I don’t think anyone mentioned sending MARMOL and Barney plus prospects in the Stanton fantasy trade. Thoughts?

  20. Fastball

    They haven’t hired DeJesus’s wife to be Executive Admin. Now if I was Theo I would have made that my first priority. Get her in my office everyday just so I felt like my special purpose in life was fulfilled. Also she could have distracted Dempster long enough to get the damned trade done. I say hire DeJesus’s wife for the Executive Admin and lets get this thing turned around fast.

  21. Fastball

    Rob Deer had a cool baseball mullet. Does he still have a mullet? If so we could be onto something hiring a hitting coach with a mullet seems like a Brilliant Idea.

  22. terry

    First off I’m not a troll, I never started anything with anyone on here. Second of all I’m not perfect, I’m on a phone it auto spells words changing a lot of them. I never spell checked. So there will probably be messed up words in here as well. Brent you have a nice sight here. I hardly ever post on here. And this is why. People with great eye sight, know it all’s, etc. I will continue to read your sight, cause it’s one of the best if not the best for cubs news. I left a sight called passports daily, because about 5 people post, and anyone else’s post is stupid because it,s not their’s. So I will no longer comment on here. Cause i’d hate to think of this as another prosports daily sight. I love your sight. Keep up the good work.

  23. terry

    You see it changed prosports daily to passport, and Brett to Brent, sorry Brett, I can’t get my arrow on there to correct it.

  24. Fastball

    Nobody thinks the addition of Dejesus wife as Executive Admin for the Front Office is a good idea. They hire everybody but baseball players. Hopefully that changes soon.

  25. Randall

    I remember Deer hitting a bunch of homers. Striking out a ton. With a horrible batting average. Where is Tony Gwynn. If your gonna get a hitting instructor. Make it a hitting genius. Is he a homer pickup. Being an ex-brewer and all.

  26. Timmy

    Rob Deer was a terrible hitter!! Strikeouts and a few homers. Why is every decision made by Epstein either cheap or poorly conceived?

    1. AB

      how many great hitting coaches have been great hitters can you name??

      Actually, how many actual hitting coaches can you name (outside the Cubs)???

    2. DarthHater

      Why is every decision made by Epstein either cheap or poorly conceived?

      Why is everything you post both uninformed and absurdly exaggerated?

      1. Timmy

        Why are you named after an outdated fantasy character?

        1. Richard Nose

          Someone asks you a legitimate question and you answer it with something irrelevant. Well played.

        2. DarthHater

          Why are you named after an outdated fantasy character?

          Why are you named after Lassie’s boyfriend?

  27. cheryl

    Brett, I know teams have to work together but sometimes I wonder if there’s a lot of rubber-stamping of things here. Do you ever get the impression that Theo & Company consider ideas beyond their niche? Sometimes the best offices are those where different ideas are encouraged and where something not thought of is considered.

  28. Rob Deer Doesn’t Want the Cubs to Be Rob Deer and Other Bullets | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    [...] the Rob Deer hiring (as assistant hitting coach), Bruce Miles found an older Hardball Times interview in which Deer talks about the .220 batting [...]

  29. The Playing Surface at Wrigley, At Least, Gets a Renovation and Other Bullets | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    [...] GM Jed Hoyer says that criticisms of the Rob Deer hiring – to be the assistant hitting coach- because of his high strikeout totals and low batting average as a player are ridiculous. “I [...]

  30. Tahoedirt

    Who cares about Rob Deer- Sorry, but I want to hear if he’s still married to that smokin hot Liza girl from the 90th St Grill in Scottsdale- God, she was really outstanding !!