Athletics Announce Player Development Staff for 2019
Oakland, Calif. — The Oakland A’s announce promotions in player development department, the addition of a second Arizona League team and minor league coaching staffs, including the hiring of former A’s Major Leaguers Bobby Crosby, Kevin Kouzmanoff, and Chris Smith.
Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman returns for his 49th season with the Oakland Athletics and his 28th year as the head of the department.
Ed Sprague will be promoted from coordinator of instruction to serve as the A’s Assistant Director of Player Development and Coordinator of On-Field Analytics. The former infielder is entering his fourth season with the A’s, which includes two as the coordinator of instruction and one as a roving instructor in 2016.
Gil Patterson returns for his fourth season as the A’s Minor League Pitching Coordinator. Patterson is in his third stint with the organization after spending the previous three seasons in a similar role with the New York Yankees (2013–2015). He has held the post for the A’s on three separate occasions in 1996 and from 2008–2012.
Jim Eppard will enter his fourth season as the minor league hitting coordinator. Prior to joining the A’s in 2016, he spent two seasons as the Los Angeles Angels assistant hitting coordinator.
Juan Navarrete will be the minor league defensive coordinator for his third straight season after spending the previous two seasons as the minor league defensive, baserunning and bunting coordinator. Navarrete has served the A’s development staff for over 24 seasons in various roles after a playing career that spanned 21 seasons. In 1998, Navarrete was inducted into the Mexican League Baseball Hall of Fame.
Steve Scarsone will transition from traveling instructor to minor league roving infield and baserunning instructor. The former Major Leaguer has been with the organization since 2009, serving as a minor league manager from 2009 through 2016. In 2016, he was awarded with the Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year Award after leading the team to a league-best 83–59 mark.
Craig Lefferts will return as the A’s minor league pitching rehab coordinator. Lefferts enters his fifth season in the role after spending 12 seasons as a pitching coach in Oakland’s minor league system.
In addition to the promotion of Sprague, the A’s have announced that Aaron Nieckula, Eddie Manchaca, Rick Magnante and Gabe Ortiz have also been promoted.
Nieckula will serve as the A’s minor league field coordinator in addition to managing the Vermont Lake Monsters for the fifth straight season. He has been with the organization since 2004, managing the last 13 seasons and posting a 758–797 record during that span.
Menchaca enters his second season in the organization and his first as the A’s supervisor of Latin America player development. Menchaca joined the A’s last season and served the as the manager of the Arizona League A’s, a role in which he will continue in 2019.
Magnante will be the supervisor of player development in addition to his role as a coach in Vermont. The reigning California League Manager of the Year has been with the organization since 2006, serving as a lower affiliate manager for all 12 of those seasons (Vancouver, 2006–2010; Vermont, 2011–2013; Beloit, 2014 and Stockton, 2015–2018).
Ortiz will serve as the minor league catching instructor as well as coach the Arizona League Athletics. The former A’s minor league catcher has been with the organization since 2014.
Nate Brooks returns as the minor league medical coordinator for his third season after serving the A’s as minor league rehab coordinator the prior four seasons.
Travis Tims enters his third season as the minor league rehab coordinator. Tims has been with the organization since 2008 and spent nine seasons in the A’s system as an athletic trainer.
AJ Seeliger will be the minor league strength and conditioning coordinator. The Nevada native has been with the organization seven years.
Javier Alvidrez returns for his second season as the Latin American medical coordinator. This is his second stint with the organization after serving as an athletic trainer from 2000–2007.
JD Howell will be the Latin American strength and conditioning coordinator as he enters his seventh season with the A’s organization.
Matt Rutledge rounds out the staff as the minor league assistant strength and conditioning coordinator. This will be his second season in the role and his fifth overall with the team.
Las Vegas (Triple-A, Pacific Coast League)
Fran Riordan will be at the helm for his second season with the Triple-A club. Last season, Riordan led Nashville to a second-place finish in the PCL South division with a 72–68 record. Rick Rodriguez will oversee the pitching staff for the fourth straight season and his fourth overall stint as the pitching coach for the A’s top affiliate (2000–02, 2004–10 and 2013–2014). Eric Martins will serve as the hitting coach for his fourth season after serving Double-A Midland in the same capacity in 2015. Craig Conklin will move from Southern California area scout and serve as a coach to the Las Vegas staff. Conklin has been with the A’s for four years and worked for the MLB Scouting Bureau prior to joining the A’s. Brad LaRosa returns for his 12th season as athletic trainer for the A’s top minor league affiliate. Prior to joining the A’s, he worked five seasons as an athletic trainer at the Double-A level (three years with St. Louis and two years with Florida). Rounding out the staff is Henry Torres as the strength and conditioning coach. Torres will enter his sixth season in the Oakland A’s organization as minor league strength coach.
Midland (Double-A, Texas League)
Scott Steinmann enters his second season as Midland’s manager after spending 2017 with the Beloit Snappers. Prior to joining the A’s organization, he worked 17 seasons as a coach or manager in the Seattle organization. Steve Connelly returns for his second year as the RockHounds’ pitching coach. Connelly joined the A’s organization in 2014 and served as a pitching coach across the A’s minor league system (Vermont, 2014; Beloit, 2015; Stockton, 2016–2017). Tommy Everidge returns for his second season as the hitting coach for Midland. He began his coaching career in 2014 after playing in the A’s system for six years. Former Major Leaguer Bobby Crosby will begin his coaching career and serve as coach for the Midland staff. The infielder played in the Major Leagues for eight seasons, winning the Rookie of the Year Award in 2004 for the Oakland A’s. Justin Whitehouse returns for his 12th season as the Midland athletic trainer. He has been with the organization for 19 seasons and was named athletic trainer of the year in 2007. Omar Aguilar returns for his sixth season with the A’s organization as the strength and conditioning coach. The Puerto Rico native worked for the Los Angeles Dodgers for one season prior to joining the A’s.
Stockton (Advanced-A, California League)
Webster Garrison will be at the helm for Stockton after serving as the manager for Beloit in 2018. Garrison enters his 21st season with the A’s organization as a minor league coach or manager. Chris Smith will begin his coaching career as he will serve as the pitching coach. The former Major Leaguer appeared in 77 games, going 1–4 with a 5.71 ERA. He finished his playing career in 2017 with the Oakland A’s. Brian McArn returns for his second season as the Ports hitting coach. McArn has been with the organization for 21 years and has spent three different stints with the Ports (2011–2012, 2014–2015). Javier Godard will serve Stockton as a coach after finishing his playing career last season with Vermont. The infielder played in 224 games in the organization before joining the Stockton coaching staff. Shane Zdebiak enters his third season as Stockton’s athletic trainer after serving the last two seasons with Beloit. Before joining the A’s, he worked for the Mariners from 2014–2015. Matt Mosiman will serve as the strength and conditioning coach for his second straight season with Stockton and third overall with the organization.
Beloit (Single-A, Midwest League)
Lloyd Turner enters his seventh season with the Oakland A’s organization and his first as a minor league manager. Prior to joining Beloit, Lloyd served as the minor league hitting coach for six seasons (Vermont, 2013, 2016–2018 and Beloit, 2014–2015). Don Schulze returns to Beloit for his second season as the pitching coach and his 14th overall in the Oakland A’s system. Juan Dilone enters his fourth season as the hitting coach after spending the previous seven years in the same role with rookie-level Arizona. Anthony Phillips will serve as a coach in the Snappers staff after playing 11 years of affiliated baseball. The former infielder was a member of the 2009 South Africa team that participated in the World Baseball Classic. Brian Thorson will be the Snappers athletic trainer. The Midwest League trainer of the year has been with the A’s organization for 36 years and his seventh overall with Beloit. Scott Smith will be the strength and conditioning coach for the second straight year. Prior to joining the A’s, Scott spent some time with Phillies, Marlins and Padres.
Vermont (Short-A, New York-Penn League)
Aaron Nieckula returns for his fifth season as the manager of short-season Vermont. Carlos Chavez will lead the pitching staff for the second straight season. This will be his seventh season with the A’s organization and his second stint with Vermont (2015–2016). Kevin Kouzmanoff will serve as the hitting coach. The former Major Leaguer begins his professional coaching career after serving as the Metro State University of Denver assistant coach in 2018. Rick Magnante will be added to the staff as a coach to add to his duties as the player development supervisor. Toshiaki Nagahara will enter his seventh season as the athletic trainer for Vermont after serving the prior two seasons with the AZL A’s. Kevin Guild will be the Lake Monsters strength and conditioning coach for the second straight season.
Arizona League Athletics (Rookie-level, Arizona League)
In 2019, the A’s will feature two Arizona League teams for the first time. Managing the clubs will be Eddie Manchaca and Hiram Bocachica. Manchaca enters his second season with the A’s after spending the previous nine years in the Mariners organization. Bocachica enters his second season with the organization after serving the staff as a traveling instructor in 2018. Bryan Corey and Gabriel Ozuna will serve as the pitching coaches for the AZL A’s. Ozuna returns for his fifth season as the pitching coach of the Arizona A’s after spending his first seven seasons in the organization as the pitching coach for Oakland’s Dominican Summer League. Corey has been with the organization for three seasons, serving in the same capacity for Vermont (2017) and Stockton (2018). Francisco Santana and Ruben Escalera will be the hitting coaches for the A’s. Santana will serve as one of the primary hitting coaches after spending the last season as a coach in the Dominican complex. Ruben Escalera enters his fourth season of his second stint as the Rookie A’s hitting coach. The Puerto Rico native has been with the A’s for 25 seasons, serving as an instructor, manager and scout. Javier Herrera and Gabe Ortiz will be additional coaches for the AZL squads. Herrera will serve as a coach for the staff after spending parts of the last 15 seasons playing minor and independent league baseball. Ortiz will be an additional coach as well as serve as the minor league catching instructor throughout the organization. Chris Lessner and Nick Voelker will round out the staff as they will serve as the athletic trainers. Lessner enters his 26th season with the A’s organization, while Voelker will join the staff after serving a season in the Dominican Summer League. The Dominican Summer League Athletic Trainer of the Year has been with the A’s for two seasons.