JEFF BRANSON is in his fifth season as the Pirates Hitting Coach. Over the past four years, the Pirates have produced the third-highest on-base percentage (.326) among National League teams, trailing only the Rockies (.329) and Dodgers (.328). In 2015 the Pirates hit .260 as a team, the club's highest batting average since 2007 (.263). The Bucs also ranked fourth in the National League in runs scored (697), fourth in hits (1462) and fourth in total bases (2228) during the 2015 season. In his first full season as Pittsburgh's Hitting Coach in 2014, the Pirates ranked second in the National League with a .333 on-base percentage, the club's highest OBP since 2003 (.338), first in walks (520) and fourth with 682 runs scored. The Pirates also ranked fourth among N.L. teams with 461 extra-base hits in 2014 and had nine different players hit at least 10 home runs for the first time in franchise history. Branson officially joined the Major League coaching staff on December 13, 2012. He was promoted to Hitting Coach prior to the 2014 campaign after working as the assistant hitting coach under Jay Bell in 2013. Branson is in his 16th season with the Pirates organization and his 29th in professional baseball. Prior to joining the big league staff, he spent a total of four seasons (2009-2012) with the Pirates Triple-A affiliate in Indianapolis. Following a 14-year playing career, Branson joined the Pirates organization in 2003 as the Hitting Coach with Williamsport in the New York-Penn League. He then managed the Williamsport club in 2004 before serving as manager with Hickory (2005-06) and Lynchburg (2007-08). In his five seasons as a minor league manager, Branson posted a 269-350 (.435) record. An infielder during his playing days, Branson was selected by Cincinnati in the second round of the 1988 First-Year Player Draft and made his professional debut with Cedar Rapids in 1989. He made his Major League debut with the Reds on April 12, 1992 at Houston and collected his first hit in his fourth big league game on May 2, 1992 vs. Chicago - a double off Mike Morgan as a pinch hitter. Jeff's first Major League home run came on June 12, 1993; a two-run shot off John Smoltz at Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta. Branson played a total of nine seasons in the big leagues and produced a .246 batting average (383-for-1555), 34 home runs and 156 RBI in 694 games. He appeared in the National League Championship Series with the Reds in 1995 and stole home as part of a double-steal with Lenny Harris in Game Two vs. Atlanta - the first steal of home in N.L.C.S. history. The Cleveland Indians acquired Branson and left-handed pitcher John Smiley from the Reds in a deal for four players on July 31, 1997, and he played with the Indians in the 1997 World Series. Jeff played his final Major League game with the Dodgers on October 6, 2001, at San Francisco and finished his playing career with Triple-A Las Vegas in 2002.
PERSONAL: Jeffery Glenn Branson...Wife's name is Chastity...Has three children; sons Shelton (9/3/97) and Landon (6/2/06) and daughter Maclai (1/19/00)...Is a 1985 graduate of Southern Choctaw High School in Silas, AL, where he played baseball, basketball and football...Attended Livingston (AL) University and was named to the Converse Division II All-American Team as a junior in 1988...Was a member of the 1988 United States baseball team that won a Gold Medal at the Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea.