by Steve Mancuso

Reds name their #GetTheHitting Coaches

The Reds have announced their new major league coaching staff for hitting.

Alan Zinter (51) worked as Assistant Director of Player Development for the San Francisco Giants the last two years, which means he worked with Reds manager David Bell during 2018. Zinter was the Padres hitting coach in 2016-2017 and the assistant hitting coach for Houston in 2015.

The Reds also promoted Donnie Ecker to Assistant Hitting Coach and Director of Hitting. Ecker (33) will create and implement the organization’s hitting practices and align those protocols throughout the Reds minor league affiliates. Ecker’s job title is similar to the recently hired Kyle Boddy, who was named Director of Pitching. Ecker was Bell’s assistant hitting coach in 2019.

Here’s an interview done with Zinter by Derek Togerson of NBC News back when Zinter was in San Diego. One excerpt:

“I’m not a cookie cutter coach,” said Zinter. “What do they do best? I want to get them to understand that and get them to understand their mechanics and how to get them to repeat those mechanics. That’s where consistency lies. Obviously there are some points in hitting you want to get to. We stress those and teach those but everybody gets to those points differently and it’s OK. If you stand on your head and can get to the launch position on time I’m fine with that.”

Update: Here’s another interview with Alan Zinter done at Fangraphs by David Laurila. It goes into great detail about Zinter’s approach and thoughts about new hitting theories.

“He’s anything but old-fashioned in his understanding of the craft. Zinter is well-versed in launch angles and exit velocities, and as a result, he’s not interested in seeing his hitters — not even the speedy ones — slap balls on the ground and run. He wants them driving through the baseball with a swing plane that opens up a window and results in gap shots. From his perspective, it all starts from the launch position.”

You’ll appreciate the entire article.

Steve Mancuso is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up during the Big Red Machine era. He’s been writing about the Reds for more than ten years. Steve’s fondest memories about the Reds include attending a couple 1975 World Series games, being at Homer Bailey’s second no-hitter and going nuts for Jay Bruce at Clinchmas. Steve was also at all three games of the 2012 NLDS, but it’s too soon to talk about that.

6 Comments

  • Jim Conley

    What’s your initial reaction to this hire, Steve? I don’t know anything about Zinter beyond what I’ve read the last half hour. Though, I’m confident Williams and Bell made this move for the betterment of the philosophy being sought and not simply from familiarity.

    • Steve Mancuso

      I haven’t had a chance to read much on Zinter yet, either. A couple comments down from here, I added a link to an interview he did at Fangraphs. It’s encouraging. Williams and Bell haven’t hired based on familiarity before. They’ve earned the benefit of the doubt here. Nepotism can be crippling to an organization. But sometimes having worked at a number of places like Bell has helps you meet people who are talented but below the radar of other teams.

  • R Smith

    I like the no cookie cutter approach. Zinter is linked to coaching some great hitters when they were young. – Goldschmidt, Carlos Correa , Lindor .

    Ironically, he was the hitting coach for AA Dbacks in 2011 with Goldschmidt. The manager was Turner Ward.

    • Jefferson Green

      Very interesting article(s). I learned a lot – and his approach sounds great, as if he really can teach it. Thanks, Steve.