Driveline Hitting Guru May Pioneer New Hybrid Role
Nothing is changing faster around baseball than hitting instruction. As we wrote last spring, new technology has changed the role of the hitting coach significantly in recent years. It’s much more than just a fly-ball revolution. New technology allows hitters and hitting coaches to get near instant feedback on what’s working and what isn’t.
As a result, Major League Baseball’s organizations are responding by hiring a new wave of younger hitting coaches who are well-versed in using the new technology.
Teams have plumbed the college levels and elsewhere to hire numerous new minor league hitting coaches. And some of those coaches are starting to filter up to the major league level as well. But it appears that this offseason may bring an entirely new never-seen-before role--the hitting coordinator consultant.
According to a source, Driveline Baseball’s Jason Ochart is likely to be the next hitting instructor to join a Major League organization, but unlike other recent hires, Ochart isn’t looking to leave his current job. Instead, teams looking to add him as a hitting coordinator know they will be doing so by hiring him to a consulting contract while he continues to work at Driveline in Seattle.
Ochart would work with the team in spring training and instructional league and potentially occasionally during the season.
The Twins and Phillies are among the teams considering bringing Ochart onboard. Ochart had turned down multiple offers to leave Driveline to be a hitting coordinator, but now it appears that he will likely end up doing both.
Ochart was coaching at Menlo (Calif.) in 2016 when Driveline hired him to be its Director of Hitting. In the two years since, Ochart has developed a program at Driveline that uses modern technology to measure the gains (or setbacks) that come from every tweak and training program their instructors use. In addition to working on shaping a hitters' swing to his strengths, the Driveline program also uses overloading and underloading to help improve and then maintain bat speed while keeping swings mechanically clean.