Rick Eckstein On Coaching During The Pandemic, Player Development

The Pirates Hitting Coach joined Dan Zangrilli Saturday morning to weigh in on how he has coached the past few months, minor league player cuts across the league and more.

Matt Harkins
May 30, 2020 - 10:50 am
Pittsburgh Pirates

© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) - Pittsburgh Pirates Hitting Coach Rick Eckstein joined Dan Zangrilli Saturday morning on Bucco Talk and they begin the conversation discussing what it is like to coach players during this pandemic.

"It's a challenging time for sure," said Eckstein. "The conversations that we've had, the back and forth, the one on one conversations and the video shooting back and forth. It's been a fun challenge though." 

The players have actually had to take upon themselves to improve their game on their own because there is no coach there to keep on them everyday.

Any players stand out over the past few months?

"I really feel strongly about what Josh Bell has gone through," said Eckstein. "This young man has pushed himself in every way that you could imagine during this time period. Not only physically, but also mentally."

With the player cuts across minor league baseball and a shorter draft, the path to the big leagues is going to look a lot different for years to come.

"I came up through a system where more is better, more teams, more players, more coaches and now we are starting to see a different phase in baseball where everythings getting scaled back," said Eckstein. "To see guys not have opportunities and all that comes with scaling back, yeah it's tough to look at and understand. But, my father gave my brother and I words of wisdom growing up, just be better."

Baseball players coming out of High School and College are going to have a greater challenge to achieve the goal of getting to the big leagues, but Rick believes that the competition will just improve because of it.

Changes to the minor leagues and the MLB Draft could even strengthen the independent leagues and create another path for players to get to the big leagues.

Listen to Dan Zangrilli's entire conversation with Pirates Hitting Coach Rick Eckstein below: