If I had asked you during the 2022 season, “Who’s the Cubs’ hitting coach?” I’ll bet you wouldn’t have been able to tell me.
Greg Brown, who had been hired from the Rays organization last November and had been the minor-league hitting coordinator for Tampa Bay for two seasons, and a college baseball coach before that, is the answer to that question. He’s so anonymous that the only decent photo I have available to me is the one above, posing for a selfie with Franmil Reyes and Christopher Morel at the Field of Dreams in August.
Anyway, Brown WAS the answer to that question, because as of today he’s reportedly been let go:
NEWS w/@sahadevsharma: Greg Brown is out as Cubs hitting coach, continuing a revolving door at that position. Between the 2012 and 2022 seasons, the Cubs employed 14 hitting coaches. Brown was a successful college coach and area scout who signed J.D. Martinez and Kiké Hernandez.— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) October 28, 2022
Fourteen hitting coaches in an 11-year span! Let’s see if we can name them all. Here are the primary hitting coaches for the Cubs since 2012:
2012: Rudy Jaramillo, James Rowson
2014: Bill Mueller
2015: John Mallee
2018: Chili Davis
2019: Anthony Iapoce
2022; Greg Brown
That’s only seven. In the overall count of 14, there are also seven others who served as assistant hitting coaches: Rob Deer (2013), Mike Brumley (2014), Eric Hinske (2015-17), Andy Haines (2018-19), Terrmel Sledge (2020), Chris Valaika (2021) and Johnny Washington (2022).
Chili Davis... perhaps best to not revisit that.
The Cubs’ best years in that stretch were 2015-17. Is that partly because of Mallee’s presence, or was he just along for the ride? Often, hitting coaches get too much blame when things go wrong and not enough credit when they go right.
There’s obviously a philosophical difference here, or perhaps Brown, who had worked only with college players and minor leaguers before, didn’t adjust to the major league grind.
There will obviously be a replacement for next year. Will it matter? Only time will tell. Per Sahadev Sharma, Brown has been offered another role in the organization but will likely leave for a different job.
As noted above, Johnny Washington was the Cubs’ assistant hitting coach in 2022. Washington previously served as a top hitting coach (Padres, 2019-20), so perhaps he’ll be considered for the job.
As always, we await developments.
UPDATE: Here is the development!
Greg Brown will not return as Cubs' hitting coach, less than one year after being hired.— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) October 28, 2022
Minor-league hitting coordinator Dustin Kelly has been promoted to #Cubs hitting coach.
Cubs offered Brown a position elsewhere in org, however, he has chosen to seek other opportunities.
Per Kelly’s LinkedIn profile, he previously worked as a minor league hitting coach for the Dodgers.