The Royals announced today they have fired hitting coach Terry Bradshaw and replaced him with Alec Zumwalt. Zumwalt had been serving as Senior Director for Player Development and Hitting Performance. The Royals added Mike Tosar, who had been serving as a Special Assignment Hitting Coach, to the Major League coaching staff. Keoni DeRenna will continue to serve as an Assistant Hitting Coach.
“Baseball is constantly shifting and we have to continue to self-evaluate to make sure we’re giving our players everything they need to be successful at the highest levels of baseball,” Royals General Manager JJ Picollo said. “Our results so far haven’t matched what we’re capable of, and we all share accountability in that. We look forward to Alec, Keoni and Mike helping us provide the best possible processes for our players.”
Zumwalt joined the Royals in 2011 and was promoted to director of hitting performance in 2019. He has been credited with some of the improvements by prospects like Bobby Witt Jr., MJ Melendez, and Nick Pratto at the alternate site in 2020. Alec Lewis wrote a bit about his work last summer.
“When our hitters come into the organization and see how it runs,” Zumwalt said from Surprise, Ariz., where the Royals staff has been working with recently drafted hitters, “they should feel like they’re walking into the biggest store with all the custom options for them as opposed to just a place that has one option. We have to come in and understand every guy is going to come in with different things, and they might teach us something. … You can’t teach a cookie-cutter swing. You may be able to teach a nice swing, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to hit. That’s what I care about. Let’s shore up their process to get ready to hit, and then let’s evaluate the hit tool, not the swing tool. There are a million people coaching swings. It’s less available where you can teach someone how to hit.”
Tosar joined the Royals in 2020 after a career with the Mariners, Twins, Marlins, Rays, and Dodgers organizations. Tosar has been credited with helping Jorge Soler and Salvador Perez improve their power-hitting performances.
Bradshaw has been in the Royals organization since 2000, and has served as the Major League hitting coach since 2018. The Royals have scored the fifth-fewest runs-per-game in the American League and have the third-worst OPS in baseball.
The new coaches join first base coach Damon Hollins, third base coach Vance Wilson, pitching coach Cal Eldred, bench coach Pedro Grifol, coach John Mabry, and bullpen coach Larry Carter under manager Mike Matheny.