The Rangers' staff for 2022 is one step closer to being complete after the club hired Tim Hyers as its new hitting coach on Wednesday.
Hyers spent the last four years as the Red Sox's hitting coach, including Boston's World Series-winning team in 2018. He had an offer from the organization to return in 2022, which he ultimately declined. Hyers was also the Dodgers' assistant hitting coach from 2016-17, when Rangers manager Chris Woodward was the third-base coach for Los Angeles.
Hyers headed an offense in Boston that led the big leagues in runs per game (5.31), average (.266), slugging (.455) and OPS (.790) from 2018-21. During that time, the Red Sox also ranked third in on-base percentage (.335).
Hyers was in high demand across the league after declining to return to Boston in 2022. Woodward said it couldn't have worked out any better for the Rangers, and the relationship between the two definitely played a role in Hyers' ultimate hire.
Hyers added that being able to work with Woodward again was a big pull to Texas for him.
"I know who Woody is, and I know the type of man he is, and he loves players," Hyers said. "He knows the game, and that's big for me. Number two is just getting to know [president of baseball operations] Jon Daniels and [general manager] Chris Young, painting the vision of the upcoming future. I know that all arrows are pointing up with young prospects. That's kind of my passion. I love to work with the young guys, I like to build systems and processes, so that was very attractive to have a young team."
Hyers will work closely with newly hired bench coach and offensive coordinator Donnie Ecker, who will ultimately have oversight of the Rangers' hitting programs at the Major League and Minor League levels.
Woodward said that with Ecker and Hyers, the Rangers now have two of the best hitting minds in all of baseball.
"[Ecker and the hitting coach] are going to work together and collaborate and give our hitters the best chance possible to succeed,” Woodward said. “And I think in today's game, it's so difficult to hit. We felt we hired the two best in the game, in my opinion, in being able to get hitters to understand not only how they move, as far as a swing goes, but in game planning, and how to construct a game plan to attack opposing pitchers.”
Young emphasized that no Rangers player met the club's expectations at the plate in 2021 and the main goal for the offseason hires was to improve the big league offense from top to bottom. The biggest priority was creating a unifying force across the entire organization as well.
In 2021, the Rangers ranked last in MLB in OPS (.670) and on-base percentage (.294) and 29th in batting average (.232). No player who began and ended the season with Texas had more than 20 home runs except Adolis García, who finished with 31.
"I think that what we've done is identify the right people to come in and help where we have the biggest needs," Young said. "With Donnie Ecker overseeing our entire offense and then Tim Hyers being our hitting coach, with the collective approach that they're going to have and the umbrella that they will have overseeing organizationally in our hitting departments, creating a philosophy top to bottom, it's aligned. It's going to be great.
"Especially with our young players, they need that. We saw a number of players come up from Triple-A who struggled, who didn't seem like they were really able to make the adjustments that were necessary. I think this is going to help align that and get the best out of our players."
Hyers is also in a similar boat to Ecker, in that they both come from teams with heavy veteran presences who are coming off playoff appearances to the Rangers, who are currently at the back end of a rebuild with a five-year playoff drought.
Hyers noted that it's going to be a challenge, but one that he fully embraces. Whether a player is a veteran or a rookie, it's still a difficult task to hit on the big league level every day. The challenges are there, and Hyers' main goal is to help each player succeed.
"When you're talking about young players, it's settling the expectations of being a big leaguer," Hyers explained. "I think first and foremost [that] when the young players come up, they're trying to conquer the world. They feel they have to fit and have to perform probably at a level that's not realistic. It takes time. There's going to be some lumps, good and bad times. ... I enjoy helping players to see who they are, helping them to be the best hitter they can be."