Pittsburgh Pirates Announce 2018 Minor League Coaching Staffs

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced their 2018 minor league coaching staffs, which have a few major changes from last year. Indianapolis manager Andy Barkett and Altoona hitting coach Kevin Riggs both left for jobs with other organizations, which led to some shuffling among the returning coaches.

Indianapolis will be managed by Brian Esposito, who has split the last four seasons between West Virginia and Morgantown/Jamestown. The new hitting coach is Ryan Long, who was with West Virginia last year. Stan Kyles returns as the pitching coach.

Altoona keeps manager Michael Ryan and pitching coach Brian Hickerson. Riggs has been replaced by Keoni De Renne, who moves up from Bradenton.

Bradenton now has Butch Wynegar as the hitting coach. He was with Indianapolis prior to this season. Gera Alvarez returns as manager and Matt Ford remains as the pitching coach.

West Virginia keeps Wyatt Toregas as the manager, while Joel Hanrahan is their new pitching coach. He was with Bristol last year, his first as a coach. Chris Petersen is the hitting coach and new to the system He played briefly in the majors in 1999 with the Colorado Rockies and spent part of the 2001 season in the minors for the Pirates.

Morgantown returns Jonathan Prieto as the hitting coach and Ton Filer as the pitching coach. The manager will be Kieran Mattison, who has coached throughout the system for the last three years, including managing in the DSL last year and serving as the GCL hitting coach in 2016.

Bristol’s manager will be Miguel Perez for a second season. Austin McClune will be the hitting coach and Joey SeverĀ  joins the system as the pitching coach. McClune was the GCL hitting coach in 2017 and Bristol hitting coach in 2016. Between college and pros, Sever has been coaching since 1990. He spent the last two years with the Indians and the two prior years with the Rangers.

Dave Turgeon will be the GCL manager after taking over the job late last year. Andy Benes goes from West Virginia to the GCL as the pitching coach. Kory DeHaan, who has moved all around the system over the years, takes over as the hitting coach.

The DSL staff has Gavi Nivar, a former player who was a DSL coach last year, moving into the managerial role. Longtime pitching coach Dan Urbina returns. Danilo Sanchez will be a coach and Luis Natera is new to the system and the new hitting coach. I’ll have to check on him, it’s either the coach for the Mets since the mid-90s in numerous roles throughout their system, or his son, who played for the Mets a few years back.

  • Are Scott Elarton and Amaury Telemaco still with the organization?

    • Telemaco is the Latin American Pitching Coordinator. Elarton is the Special Assistant to Player Development

  • Do all teams carry this number of coaches?
    In other words…. do teams like the Yankees
    have the same number of coaches for their
    minor league teams? How about pay
    of these coaches?

    • There is a limit on the amount of coaches in the minors. Teams will however sign guys to player/coach contracts with no intentions of them playing. That allows you to assign him to a team, place him on the DL and have him sit on the bench.

      • Thanks John. I really learned something tonight.
        Does this player/coach often have a specialized
        skill such as ability to also catch in a pinch,
        throw batting practice, or is it just a person
        who has strong coaching potential in the future?

        • I have heard that some organizations employ catchers that move around the system to work with certain pitchers. The developmental staff trusts their evaluation of the pitcher. They may only catch 20 games per year and they could be spread over 4 levels. I think the Pirates had a guy like this a couple of years ago, Kawika Emsley-Pai.

    • Some teams like the Yankees have 4 coaches at every level or at some levels. The Rockies and Astros designate these coaches as developmental specialists which might be just another name or a somewhat different role.

  • While reading, I was thinking that your MLB club manager really is mostly responsible for managing managing personalities, meanwhile the lower level you go the more the manager is teaching skills and doing the hardest work. Does anyone else think that?

  • Is it a demotion when a guy like Wynegar goes from Indy to Bradenton?

    • I would look at it as a promotion….More development in the lower levels, than in AAA. Plus Florida> than Indianapolis.

      • I thought the same about location, but, I dont seem to recall too many A level coaches or managers getting big league jobs and I feel like I have seen AAA guys do so.

    • No, guys go where needs are and they may feel that he works best there. In the minors, levels don’t mean much. It would also be tough to demote a longtime coach like that because they would most likely just leave for somewhere else. Wynegar would have no trouble getting a job elsewhere if the Pirates tried to demote him.

      • Any difference in salary?

        • I’ve never heard coach salaries in the minors, but it’s possible he could be getting slightly more money this year just because he’s been around another season. If you’re talking about differences throughout the system, I’m sure there is based on experience, but not strictly on the level they are at. In the minors, every level is important. Look at the very young, high impact prospects West Virginia could have this year. You better trust your coaches there to get the best out of them because that could be a game changer for the future.