What to expect from Cardinals new hitting coach Turner Ward

St. Louis Cardinals new hitting coach Turner Ward Mandatory Credit: MLB photos via USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis Cardinals new hitting coach Turner Ward Mandatory Credit: MLB photos via USA TODAY Sports /

The St. Louis Cardinals have promoted Turner Warner to hitting coach. He replaces the controversial Jeff Albert, who decided not to come back after criticism from outside sources. 

Turner Ward joined the Cardinals in 2021 as an assistant hitting coach.  Known as a hitting guru, Ward is a favorite of Paul Goldschmidt. The two know each other from their days on the Mobile BayBears, the Arizona Diamondbacks AA affiliate. He led the BayBears to two consecutive Southern League championships in 2011 and 2012.

Ward was promoted to assistant hitting coach with the D’backs in 2013. He became the primary hitting coach in 2014. In 2016, he became the hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was the hitting coach for the Cincinnati Reds during the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

Cardinals manager Oli Marmol is a fan of Ward too. Here’s what Marmol had to tell MLB.com’s John Denton about Ward.

"““He’s living and dying with every pitch and he’s experiencing it as if he’s in the box. And when they get back to the dugout — good or bad [result] — they know he’s got their back. When you think about that position of the hitting coach, that’s the trust that matters. Those hitters knowing you are living it with them, he does that better than anybody.”"

That’s pretty high praise from Marmol. Ward appears to grasp better how to explain analytics so the hitter can better apply the information. This is probably why fans saw Goldschmidt go straight to Ward in the dugout after at-bats later in the season.

This mindset is a stark contrast to what hitters received from Albert, who was more focused on analytics than explaining how to apply the information.  “When the lights come on, Turner makes them feel that they can take on the world,” Marmol said.

With many talented young prospects making their way to St. Louis, combined with some talented Major Leaguers, it will be great to see this change in the approach from the hitting coach.

It has been frustrating to see hitters like Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Paul DeJong, Tommy Edman, and Tyler O’Neill fall into poor patterns that a high-level hitting coach should be able to help remediate.

Brandon Allen, who has been hitting coach at the Cardinals AAA affiliate in Memphis, has been promoted to assistant hitting coach for the Cardinals. He has been credited with helping Brendan Donovan, Nolan Gorman, and Juan Yepez reach St. Louis. Remember, DeJong, O’Neill, and Dylan Carlson had stints with Memphis to improve their swings with Allen.

Ward and Allen’s promotions seem like good steps in the right direction to help the team’s hitting woes.

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