Minor league hitting coaches play a major role in developing young hitters. In part two of our look at the minor league coaching staffs throughout the Phillies organization, we take a look at the hitting coaches.
Darryl Robinson has 24 seasons under his belt as either a player or coach in professional baseball. Robinson took over the hitting coach duties from Sal Rende in 2019 and returns for his second season with the team in 2020. Robinson, 52, was drafted by the Royals in the second round of the 1986 Draft, but never reached the majors. In seven minor league seasons, Robinson reached as high as Double-A with Kansas City and then played another four seasons in independent baseball. Being in Lehigh Valley is somewhat of a homecoming for Robinson who played six games with the defunct Allentown Ambassadors of the Northeast League in 1998.
Tyler Henson enters his second season as the Reading hitting coach. Henson finished his playing career in the Phillies minor league system, playing in 115 games with Lehigh Valley in 2015. After his playing career, he joined the player development staff as a hitting instructor.
Chris Heintz is the only coach returning from last year’s staff in Clearwater. Heintz spent five seasons as a coach at the University of South Florida, his alma mater, prior to joining the Twins organization for two seasons serving as a manager in both the Gulf Coast League and at Single-A Beloit. In 2018, Heintz was a coach for the Phillies in the Gulf Coast League prior to joining the Threshers last season.
Hitting coach Chris Marrero returns to Lakewood for a second season and his third as a minor league coach. He played with four different organizations, including the Phillies, over 12 minor league seasons before coaching with Williamsport for the 2018 season.
Joel McKeithan starts his second season as the Crosscutters hitting coach. He played college ball at Vanderbilt and was an instructor with Driveline Baseball prior to joining the Phillies organization last season.