The New York Yankees announced on Monday that former big-league outfielder Brad Wilkerson had joined the coaching staff as an assistant hitting coach. It’s worth noting that New York’s staff already included Dillon Lawson as the team’s primary hitting coach, as well as Casey Dykes as an assistant hitting coach. (These days, it’s not unusual for teams to have multiple assistant hitting coaches as a means of dividing workload and assuring that the club’s hitters can receive the requisite amount of attention and instruction.)
As with both Lawson and Dykes, Wilkerson was hired directly from a collegiate program. He had spent the last three years serving as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for Jacksonville University. Wilkerson’s past includes a stint as the head coach at The King’s Academy, a Florida high school.
Wilkerson, now 45 years old, appeared in parts of eight big-league seasons as a player. He amassed a career slash line of .247/.350/.440 while homering 122 times and swiping 53 bases. His contributions were worth an estimated 11 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference’s calculations.
Wilkerson never earned a trip to the All-Star Game or a piece of hardware, though he finished second in National League Rookie of the Year Award voting in 2002. He batted .266/.370/.469 (117 OPS+) with 20 home runs in 153 games for the Expos. Nevertheless, voters opted for right-hander Jason Jennings, a member of the Colorado Rockies who managed a 4.52 ERA (106 ERA+) and a 1.81 strikeout-to-walk ratio across 32 starts and 185 innings pitched.
Wilkerson spent most of his career with the Montreal Expos, though he also enjoyed stints with the Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, and Seattle Mariners. He was originally drafted by the Expos with the 33rd pick in 1998. He played his collegiate ball at the University of Florida.