The Kansas City Royals announced today their 2016 minor league staff assignments and coordinators for the 2016 season.
Omaha (Triple A) manager Brian Poldberg returns to lead the Storm Chasers for a third season after winning the 2014 Triple A championship in his first year. Last season, Omaha tied for second in the Pacific Coast League's North Division, finishing the year 80-64. He will be joined on the bench by a new pitching coach, Andy Hawkins, who has served as the bullpen coach of the Texas Rangers the last seven seasons. Tommy Gregg will return for his eighth year as the hitting coach, while Dave Iannicca and Joe Greany come back as the club's certified athletic trainer and strength and conditioning coach after serving in the same roles in 2015.
Northwest Arkansas (Double A) manager Vance Wilson returns for his third season after taking the Naturals to the postseason last year as the first-half champ in the Texas League's North Division. Wilson is in his sixth year as a manager in the Royals' organization, also holding the position at Wilmington (2012-13) and Kane County (2011). He will welcome two new coaches in pitching coach Steve Luebber and hitting coach Brian Buchanan, who are both veterans to KC's organization. Luebber served as the pitching coach at Wilmington (A-Advanced) for the last nine seasons, while Buchanan was the manager of the Blue Rocks in 2015. Certified athletic trainer Masa Koyanagi and strength and conditioning coach Austin Driggers will return in their same roles for the Naturals this season.
Wilmington (Single A) will welcome manager Jamie Quirk back to the Royals' organization after the former Kansas City catcher served in the same role for San Antonio and El Paso in the San Diego Padres' system in 2015. Quirk has held minor league managing positions the last two years after serving as a coach at the major league level with the Royals (1994-2001), Texas Rangers (2002), Colorado Rockies (2003-08), Houston Astros (2009-11) and Chicago Cubs (2012-13). He will be joined on the bench by new pitching coach Charlie Corbell, who was the minor league pitching coordinator for the Miami Marlins in 2015. Abraham Nunez returns to the Blue Rocks for his second season as hitting coach, while James Stone enters his fifth year as the club's certified athletic trainer.
Lexington (Single A) manager Omar Ramirez enters his second season with the club and eighth in the Kansas City organization. Ramirez previously served as the manager at Idaho Falls (2012-14), as well as the club's hitting coach in 2011; he held the same title with Burlington in 2009-10. Mitch Stetter will serve as the Legends' pitching coach after holding the same title with Surprise (Rookie) last season. Hitting coach Damon Hollins, bench coach Glenn Hubbard and certified athletic trainer Mark Keiser all return in their same roles from a year ago.
Idaho Falls (Rookie Advanced) will be led by second-year manager Justin Gemoll, who led the Chukars to a postseason appearance in his first season at the helm. The remainder of the coaching staff remains intact with pitching coach Jeff Suppan and hitting coach Andre David returning for their second seasons. Justin Kemp, who worked in Surprise last season, will take over as the certified athletic trainer.
Burlington (Rookie) manager Scott Thorman returns for his second year with the club. His staff remains the same as in 2015, with pitching coach Carlos Martinez, hitting coach Jesus Azajue and certified athletic trainer Saburo Hagihara all returning.
Surprise (Rookie) manager Darryl Kennedy returns after leading the Royals' Arizona League club to the best record in the league, winning both halves and earning a postseason berth. Carlos Reyes joins incumbent Mark Davis as pitching coaches for the team this year. Reyes held the same title with Lexington a season ago, while Nelson Liriano and Willie Aikens will serve as the club's hitting coaches.
The Dominican Royals' coaching staff has several returning members. Victor Baez is returning as the field coordinator, while Miguel Bernard will be the club's manager again for the 2016 season. He will be joined on the bench by pitching coach Gustavo Martinez, hitting coach Onil Joseph, infield coach Ramon Martinez and outfield coach Sergio de Luna, who were all on staff last season. The head trainer will be Alessandro Bertozzo, while he'll be assisted by Martin Berroa and Manuel Plaza. Jose Rosario returns as a strength and conditioning coach, while he'll be joined by Leudy Mayi this year.
Coordinators and roving positions
Former major league bench coach Chino Cadahia begins his sixth year in the organization and his 32nd in coaching at the professional level, returning as the senior coordinator of player development. Cadahia previously served as the bench coach in Kansas City for two seasons (2012-13), while he also served that role with the Atlanta Braves from 2007-10. He was a part of the Atlanta organization from 1996-2010.
Bill Fischer, a former major league pitching coach with the Reds, Red Sox and Rays, will begin his 69th 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 44th season in baseball and 40th with the organization as a special assistant to player development.
Harry Spilman enters his second year as a special assistant to player development. He came to the Royals' organization last year after holding a similar title with the Texas Rangers from 2009-14.
Larry Carter will begin his second season as the club's minor league pitching coordinator. He will begin his 19th season in the Royals' organization, including 11 years at the Double A level, with Wichita (2002-07) and Northwest Arkansas (2008-12).
Terry Bradshaw begins his 17th season as an instructor in the Royals' organization, returning for his fourth season as the club's minor league hitting coordinator. He previously worked as the hitting coach at different levels in the KC 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 third year in that role and will also coordinate minor league infield instruction for a second straight season.
Another longtime major leaguer, Milt Thompson, returns for his fourth year in the Royals' organization as the outfield, baserunning and bunting coordinator. Thompson served in a dual role in 2014, also serving as Wilmington's hitting coach.
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 America medical coordinator. Garrett Sherrill will be the minor league strength and conditioning coordinator, while Luis Perez will handle Latin America strength and conditioning coordinator duties. Justin Hahn returns for his third year as the rehab coordinator/physical therapist, Jeff Diskin is also in his third season as the cultural development coordinator, while Freddy Sandoval, a former major leaguer with the Los Angeles Angels, begins his third year as the organization's mental skills coach.