Rachel Balkovec made Major League Baseball (MLB) history in November 2019 when she became the first woman to be hired as a full-time minor league hitting coach for a professional baseball team after being employed by the New York Yankees. She will start working in Tampa, Florida on February 1. She is currently working at a pitching and hitting training facility in Kent as a baseball research and development fellow.
Sources: Yankees make sweeping changes to training staff after record-setting season of injuries https://t.co/rcDeyYbfuO— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) January 4, 2020
The Yankees hired Rachel Balkovec clearly on her qualifications and not her gender. The two master’s degrees achieved by Balkovec in the science of human movement and involvement at several minor league clubs made the Yankees feel that her skill set was a natural fit with the coaching crew being assembled for next term. When quizzed about her appointment, Yankees’ hitting coordinator Dillon Lawson had said that Balkovec is a good hitting coach which sums up why they signed her. Lawson and Balkovec enjoyed an excellent working relationship at the Houston Astros in 2016, where the latter served as the Latin American strength and conditioning coach while the former was the minor league hitting coach. She later became the strength and conditioning coach for the Astros’ Class AA Corpus Christi Hooks.
Rachel Balkovec has worked hard to stay on top of the quick changes in the game, precisely using figures to build a team and maximise player performances. To remain up-to-date, Balkovec enrolled in Vrije University in the Netherlands to complete a master’s degree in human movement sciences. There, she mastered in eye tracking for hitters and the hip movements of pitchers. The Yankees’ latest recruit seeks to train batters to focus on a pitcher’s centre, the fringe vision of the pitcher’s body and to look forward of the ball to predict its flight better. Lawson says that the combination of skills is invaluable, making her one of the top coaches to have in the Yankees franchise.