The New York Yankees have hired Rachel Balkovec to be the team’s first female full-time hitting coach, and one of the first in the MLB.
A search for data-consumed personnel has led the New York Yankees to a groundbreaking hire on Friday. Rachel Balkovec will join the team as it’s first female full-time minor-league hitting coach.
It’s not Balkovec’s first time working for an MLB team. She previously worked in strength and conditioning for the Chicago White Sox, the St. Lous Cardinals, and the Houston Astros.
Per a LinkedIn profile under Balkovec’s name, the 32-year-old also coached baseball for the Dutch national programs. Additionally, she holds degrees in kinesiology, sports administration, and biomechanics.
MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reported that “since August, Balkovec has been researching eye tracking for hitters and hip movement for pitchers at Driveline Baseball, a data-driven performance training center in Washington state.”
That resume is what attracted the Yankees to Balkovec. Bombers hitting coordinator Matt Lawson explained the hire to the Lindsay Berra of the New York Times on Friday:
“When you work with Rachel as a player or a coach, it’s clearly apparent that her investment in you and in her expertise in the field is only going to make you better. … She’s a good hitting coach, and a good coach, period.”
If you havin analyst problems I feel bad for you son, we got 99 problems but a nerd ain’t one. @DrivelineBB R&D team member @kylelindley_ getting markered up and jumping in the lab in the name of science #roadto90 #forthedatas pic.twitter.com/hIp8MHYphX
— Rachel Balkovec (@damselndadugout) November 6, 2019
Not to be outdone by the Yankees, the Chicago Cubs also hired a female minors coach named Rachel on Friday. Rachel Folden is now a lead hitting lab tech and fourth coach for its rookie-league team.
Reports indicate that Folden and Balkovec are the first female additions to MLB organization coaching staffs.