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.