Royals announce 2017 minor league coaching rosters
The Kansas City Royals announced 2017 staff assignments throughout their farm system Tuesday, naming coaching staffs as well as minor league coordinators.
OMAHA STORM CHASERS (Triple-A)
Manager Brian Poldberg returns to lead the Storm Chasers for a fourth season after winning the 2014 Triple-A championship in his first year. He will be joined on the bench by pitching coach Andy Hawkins, who is returning to Omaha for his second season after serving as the bullpen coach of the Texas Rangers the previous seven seasons. Tommy Gregg will return for his ninth year as the hitting coach and Dave Iannicca will return as the club’s certified athletic trainer for the seventh straight season. Phil Falco is the only new coach, joining Omaha as the strength and conditioning coach after serving in the same role at the major league level with the Atlanta Braves for the last nine seasons.
NORTHWEST ARKANSAS NATURALS (Double-A)
Manager Vance Wilson returns for his fourth season after taking the Naturals to their second straight Texas League Championship Series in 2016. Wilson is in his seventh year as a manager in the Royals’ organization, also holding the position at Wilmington (2012-13) and Kane County (2011). Steve Luebber will return as pitching coach for the second straight season after serving in the same role at Advanced-A Wilmington for the previous nine years. Leon Roberts enters his first season as the Naturals’ hitting coach after spending the last five seasons in the Houston Astros’ organization, including four (2012-15) as the hitting coach at Triple-A Fresno and one (2016) as the club’s roving outfield and base running instructor. Roberts played 11 seasons in the major leagues as an outfielder, including his last two seasons (1983-84) in Kansas City. Certified athletic trainer Masa Koyanagi will return for his 10th season with the Royals and sixth in his current role. Jarret Abell will join the Naturals as strength and conditioning coach after serving in the same role at Advanced-A Wilmington (2016), Class-A Lexington (2015) and Rookie level Idaho Falls (2014).
WILMINGTON BLUE ROCKS (Advanced-A)
Wilmington will welcome Jamie Quirk back for his second season as manager and his 45th in professional baseball. The former catcher, who was selected in the first round by Kansas City in the 1972 draft, previously served as a coach at the major league level with the Royals from 1994-2001. He will be joined on the bench by pitching coach Charlie Corbell, who enters his second season in this role after serving as the minor league pitching coordinator for the Miami Marlins in 2015. Abraham Nunez returns to the Blue Rocks for his third season as hitting coach, while James Stone enters his sixth year as the club’s certified athletic trainer. Will Gilmore joins Wilmington for his first year as its strength and conditioning coach after serving in the same role at Class-A Lexington (2016) and Rookie level Idaho Falls (2015).
LEXINGTON LEGENDS (Class-A)
Lexington will be led by new manager Scott Thorman, who served in the same capacity at Rookie level Burlington from 2015-16. Mitch Stetter will serve as the club’s pitching coach for the second straight season. Jesus Azuaje will be Lexington’s hitting coach after serving in the same role with Burlington from 2015-16. Certified athletic trainer Saburo Hagihara and strength and conditioning coach Jon Ervin will also join the Legends after previously working in those same roles at Burlington. Bench coach Glenn Hubbard enters his fourth season in that position with Lexington.
IDAHO FALLS CHUKARS (Rookie Advanced)
Idaho Falls will be led by third-year manager Justin Gemoll, who led the Chukars to a Pioneer League North Division best 40-36 record one year after guiding them to a postseason appearance. Former Royals pitcher Jeff Suppan will return as pitching coach for his third season with Idaho Falls. Damon Hollins will join the Chukars as hitting coach for his eighth season with the Royals, including the last two at Class-A Lexington. Justin Kemp will remain the club’s certified athletic trainer for the second straight season.
BURLINGTON ROYALS (Rookie)
Burlington will welcome new manager Omar Ramirez, who enters his ninth season in the Royals’ organization, including the last two as manager of the Lexington Legends. Carlos Martinez will serve as Burlington’s pitching coach for the sixth straight season. Andre David, who served as Idaho Falls’ hitting coach from 2015-16, enters his 19th season in the Royals’ organization and his first as hitting coach at Burlington. Daniel Accola will join the club as the certified athletic trainer.
SURPRISE ROYALS (Rookie)
Surprise manager Darryl Kennedy returns for a third straight year after leading the Royals’ Arizona League club to a division championship and a 31-24 record in 2016. Much of his staff will return for 2017, including pitching coach Mark Davis, rehab pitching coach Carlos Reyes and hitting coaches Nelson Liriano and Willie Aikens.
DOMINICAN ROYALS (Rookie)
The Dominican Royals will return Victor Baez as the field coordinator and Miguel Bernard as the club’s manager. He will be joined on the bench by pitching coach Gustavo Martinez, hitting coaches Onil Joseph and Jose Gualdron, and infield coaches Ramon Martinez and Sergio de Luna. Head trainer Alessandro Bertozzo remains with the club, and he’ll be assisted by Martin Berroa and Manuel Plaza. Jose Rosario returns as a strength and conditioning coach and will be assisted by Severino Ventura. The coaching staff also includes Rafael Rijo, who will serve as the outfield and baserunning coach, and Pedro Rosario. Humberto Reginato will return for his fourth season as the Royals’ operations manager in the Dominican Republic and will be assisted by Jason Davila. Fabio Herrera will serve as the assistant to international operations for the third straight season.
COORDINATORS AND ROVING POSITIONS
Senior coordinator of player development Chino Cadahia begins his seventh year in the organization and his 33rd in coaching at the professional level. Cadahia previously served as the bench coach in Kansas City for two seasons (2012-13) after serving in that role with the Atlanta Braves from 2007-10. He was a part of the Atlanta organization from 1996-2010.
Eddie Rodriguez rejoins the Royals’ organization as the minor league field coordinator after spending the last three seasons in the San Diego Padres’ organization. He spent the previous six seasons with the Royals (2008-13), most recently as the club’s third base coach from 2011-13.
Bill Fischer, a former major league pitching coach with the Reds, Red Sox and Rays, will begin his 70th year in professional baseball in 2016 as senior pitching advisor. Fischer, who rejoined the organization in 2007, also worked with the club from 1975-78 and in 1984.
John Wathan, a former player and manager for the Royals, returns for his 45th season in baseball and 41st with the organization, as a special assistant to player development.
Harry Spilman enters his third year as a special assistant to player development. He came to the Royals’ organization in 2015 after holding a similar title with the Texas Rangers from 2009-14.
Cal Eldred enters his second season as a special assistant to the general manager/player development after serving in a similar role from 2013-15 in the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization. Milwaukee’s first-round pick (17th overall) in the 1989 draft, Eldred pitched 14 seasons in the majors.
Larry Carter will begin his 20th season in the Royals’ organization and his third as the club’s minor league pitching coordinator. His time with the Royals includes 11 seasons at the Double-A level with Wichita (2002-07) and Northwest Arkansas (2008-12), two seasons with the back-to-back Triple-A champion Omaha Storm Chasers (2013-14), two seasons at Advanced-A Wilmington (2000-2001) and two seasons at Class-A with Charleston (1999) and Lansing (1998).
Terry Bradshaw begins his 18th season as an instructor in the Royals’ organization, returning for his fifth season as the club’s minor league hitting coordinator. He previously worked as the hitting coach at different levels in the Royals’ minor league system from 2000-12.
Rafael Belliard joined the Royals’ coaching staff during spring training in 2014 as a special assistant to the general manager and returns for his fourth year in that role. He will also coordinate minor league infield instruction for the third straight season.
Mitch Maier enters his first season as the Royals’ minor league outfield and baserunning coordinator. He was Kansas City’s first-round pick in the 2003 draft and played six seasons in the majors, all with the Royals.
J.C. Boscan enters his first season as the Royals’ minor league catching coordinator. He played in parts of 19 seasons in the minors, most recently in 2015 with Triple-A Omaha. Boscan also played in parts of four seasons in the majors with Atlanta (2010-12) and the Chicago Cubs (2013).
Will Simon will be the minor league equipment manager for the 11th straight season, working with the player development, international operations and amateur scouting departments to supply equipment and apparel throughout the minor league system and the Dominican Academy.
The Royals’ minor league medical staff will remain the same with Chris DeLucia serving as the minor league medical coordinator and Tony Medina as the Latin American medical coordinator. Garrett Sherrill will be the minor league strength and conditioning coordinator. Justin Hahn returns for his fourth year as the rehab coordinator/physical therapist, and Jeff Diskin is also in his fourth season as the cultural development coordinator. Monica Ramirez will begin her first season in her new role as the Royals’ ESL & cultural initiatives assistant after serving in a consulting role in the past.