Friday, January 4, 2013

2013 Minor League Staffs

The biggest change to the Astros minor league staffing for 2013 is the assignment of what the Astros are calling "development specialists" at each of the top four minor league levels. According to the press release, these individuals "will be with their assigned club on homestands, coaching pregame and scouting each contest. When their clubs go on road trips, the development specialists will scout their respective league or serve as a roving instructor in the Astros system on a case-by-case basis."

Mark Bailey, who will be assigned to Corpus Christi and has been designated a Catching Coach, and Tom Lawless, who will be assigned to Oklahoma City as an Infield Coach, have both spent time coaching in the Astros system. Most recently, Bailey was the Hitting Coach for Tri-City in 2012 and Lawless was a Roving Infield Instructor until he took over for Tony DeFrancesco as Manager for Oklahoma City when DeFrancesco became the Astros Interim Manager. As far as I can tell, this is the first coaching experience for Vince Coleman, who will be assigned to Quad Cities as the Outfield/Baserunning Coach. Coleman, of course, was an All-Star leftfielder who stole 100+ bases three times for the Cardinals in the 1980's. And last, but certainly not least, Morgan Ensberg will be another Infield Coach and he will be assigned to Lancaster. Ensberg was drafted by the Astros in 1998 and was an All-Star third baseman for the club in 2005, the same year that he earned the Silver Slugger award.

Another newcomer to coaching is Infield Instructor Adam Everett. According to the release, "He will work with both the Major League team as well as the organization’s minor league players and staff focusing on the development of infielders. He will be attending portions of Major and minor league spring training and will visit affiliates and the Major League club several times throughout the season." Everett played for Houston from 2001 to 2007 and was named the best fielding shortstop in MLB by the Fielding Bible in 2006.

I am excited about these additions to the Astros minor league staff. As many of us were painfully aware in 2012, the Astros didn't always exhibit the soundest of fundamentals. The addition of Everett and the other development specialists could go a long way towards ensuring that the players who make it to Houston have been given all of the help that they need to shore up those fundamentals.

Josh Bonifay, who served as Hitting Coach for the Lexington team in 2012, will get his first opportunity to manage with Greeneville in 2013 and Johan Maya, who spent the last two seasons as the infield coordinator for the DSL Astros will manage that team this year. Edgar Alfonzo, former Hitting Coach for the GCL Astros, will get his first assignment as Manager of the GCL team, but he has managed previously in the Mets organization.

The most noteworthy staff departures are Stubby Clapp, former Manager for Tri-City, who accepted a job in the Blue Jays organization and Oklahoma City Pitching Coach Burt Hooten who was non-renewed. In addition, Ivan de Jesus managed Lexington in 2012, but doesn't appear to be in the organization any longer.

I have made a few additional notes regarding changes to the positions of Manager, Pitching Coach and Hitting Coach below, but just a couple of words about the staffs first. I am particularly happy to see John Bonifay get the opportunity to manage the Greeneville team. As Hitting Coach for Lexington, he had a very good relationship with his players. He earned their respect and the respect of his peers as he was named to the Sally League All-Star coaching staff. I also heartily approve that Linares, Alexander and Robinson stayed in place for Lancaster. Not only did that trio coach a championship team together, they did so in the toughest home park in the Astros system. And finally, I like seeing Hector Mercado with the GCL. From everything that the players there told me, he is the ideal candidate to work with the younger pitchers.

COORDINATORS, ROVERS & MEDICAL STAFF
Field Coordinator - Paul Runge
Pitching Coordinator - Dyar Miller
Hitting Coordinator - Ralph Dickenson
Roving Pitching Instructor - Craig Bjornson
Roving Hitting Instructor - Jeff Albert
Strength & Conditioning - Brendan Verner
Medical Coordinator - Jamey Snodgrass
Rehab Coordinator - Daniel Roberts

OKLAHOMA CITY (AAA)
Manager - Tony DeFrancesco
Pitching Coach - Steve Webber (formerly with the San Diego system)
Hitting Coach - Leon Roberts
Infield Coach - Tom Lawless
Athletic Trainer - Mike Freer
Strength & Conditioning - Alex Pounds

CORPUS CHRISTI (AA)
Manager - Keith Bodie
Pitching Coach - Gary Ruby
Hitting Coach - Tim Garland (formerly with the Oakland system)
Catching Coach - Mark Bailey
Athletic Trainer - Bryan Baca
Strength & Conditioning - Trey Weidman

LANCASTER (HiA)
Manager - Rodney Linares
Pitching Coach - Don Alexander
Hitting Coach - Darryl Robinson
Infield Coach - Morgan Ensberg
Athletic Trainer - Grant Hufford

QUAD CITIES (LoA)
Manager - Omar Lopez (managed Greeneville in 2012)
Pitching Coach - Dave Borkowski (coached for LoA Lexington in 2012)
Hitting Coach - Joel Chimelis (coached for AA Corpus Christi in 2012)
Outfield/Baserunning Coach - Vince Coleman
Athletic Trainer - Steve Miller

TRI-CITY (SSA)
Manager - Ed Romero (managed the GCL Astros in 2012)
Pitching Coach - Doug White (formerly in the St. Louis system)
Hitting Coach - Russ Steinhorn (formerly coached at Delaware State)
Athletic Trainer - Michael Rendon

GREENEVILLE (Rookie)
Manager - Josh Bonifay (Hitting Coach for LoA Lexington in 2012)
Pitching Coach - Josh Miller (first year coach; played in Astros minor leagues)
Hitting Coach - Cesar Cedeno
Athletic Trainer - Corey O’Brien

GULF COAST LEAGUE (Rookie)
Manager - Edgar Alfonzo (Hitting Coach for GCL in 2012)
Pitching Coach - Hector Mercado (coached for Greeneville in 2012)
Hitting Coach - Marty Malloy (first year coach)
Coach - Gordy MacKenzie
Athletic Trainer - Christian Bermudez

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE (Rookie)
Manager - Johan Maya (Infield Instructor for DSL in 2012)
Pitching Coach - Rick Aponte (coached Tri-City in 2012)
Hitting Coach - Luis Mateo
Outfield Instructor - Juan Zapata
Catching Instructor - Sixto Ortega
Athletic Trainer - Ambiorix Reyes
Strength & Conditioning - Geremias Guzman

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