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NBA 2018-19 Thread

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Article: AFL Report - Week 1: Outfielders Come Up Big

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The AFL season’s first week was a little lacking on opportunities for Twins pitchers and the well-known name among their position players...
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Twins Minor League 2018 Coaching/Coordinator Assignments

Derek Falvey was officially named the Minnesota Twins Chief Baseball Officer in early October of 2016. About a month later, he named Thad Levine as his General Manager. Rob Antony remained with the organization as the Assistant General Manager. While in most cases change was not immediate, change was certain to be forthcoming.

Wisely, Falvey and Levine did not jump to conclusions on most personnel. People who worked under Terry Ryan were given time to work with the new regime so that they could evaluate them and how they might fit into the future of the organization in the same way that players are evaluated.

As we look to 2018, there have been changes. There have been a lot of changes. Many in the front office remain. Rob Antony and Mike Radcliff are still around. Wayne Krivsky and Bill Smith are not. There are many scouts who remain with the Twins, and there have been many scouts whom the Twins have let go.

And in large numbers, there have been many additions. While the Twins won’t be a Top 10 payroll team often (if ever) because their revenues are lower than most teams by a significant margin. However, they can be creative in their spending on infrastructure. They have hired the likes of Daniel Adler from the Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars as Director of Baseball Operations. They have hired Jeremy Zoll from the Dodgers. They have hired many people for their analytics department. They have improved the nutrition of their players throughout the organization. They have added coordinators. They have spent money on analytic programs. Those are the types of spending that will help the Twins be better in the short-term and the long-term by making decisions by using many data points.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, photo of Tommy Watkins
Following the season, it was announced that Brad Steil had been promoted to the Director of Pro Scouting. He had been the Twins Minor League Director since 2013 when Jim Rantz retired. Jeremy Zoll is a 27-year-old who was an assistant in the Dodgers player development group the last couple of years. He has been quite busy since joining the Twins as Director of Minor League Operations.


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This is one article that will appear in the 2018 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook which is in its final stages of editing and review. It will likely be available in a week, maybe less. You can find much more information on this vital handbook for Twins fans.
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Likewise, in the minor leagues, some have stayed and several have gone. There will be many new faces in the system. Here is a rundown of the 2018 Twins minor league managers, coaches and coordinators:

2018 COACHING STAFFS

Rochester Red Wings
Manager: Joel Skinner
Hitting Coach: Chad Allen
Pitching Coach: Stu Cliburn
Bullpen Coach: Mike McCarthy

The Twins announced that Mike Quade was no longer the Red Wings manager and that he was taking a roving outfield instructor job in the organization. They have replaced him with Joel Skinner. The former nine-year big league catcher has been managing in the minor league system of several organizations since the mid-90s. He even managed part of a season for Cleveland in 2002. Former Twins outfielder Chad Allen returns as the Red Wings hitting coach (fourth year), and Stu Cliburn returns as pitching coach (many, many years). Bullpen coach is a new position, one that they have not had in the organization. Mike McCarthy pitched in the Red Sox organization from 2011 through 2016, reaching AAA that final year.

Chattanooga Lookouts
Manager: Tommy Watkins
Hitting Coach: Javier Valentin
Pitching Coach: Ivan Arteaga

Jake Mauer managed in the Twins system for ten years. He was one of the best, most trusted leaders in the organization. In 2017, he led the Lookouts to the best record in minor league baseball and a share of the hurricane-shortened Southern League title. He should have been on the big league coaching staff by now. He was offered a roving instructor job. Instead, he has decided to spend more time with his family, which is also commendable and something he always prioritized.

Tommy Watkins will take over as the Lookouts manager. In 2017, he led the Cedar Rapids Kernels to the Midwest League playoffs in his first year as a manager. He was the Lookouts hitting coach in 2016 after being the Kernels hitting coach for three years. This is his eighth season as a coach in the Twins system after spending a dozen seasons as a player in the Twins organization.

Javier Valentin returns for his second season as the Lookouts hitting coach. It’s his fourth year as a coach in the organization. Ivan Arteaga is back for his third year in AA. He’s been in the Twins organization since 2001 when he was the pitching coordinator of the Venezuelan League Twins.

Fort Myers Miracle
Manager: Ramon Borrego
Hitting Coach: Steve Singleton
Pitching Coach: Henry Bonilla

Doug Mientkiewicz was let go by the organization after another winning season at the helm. The former Twins player has found a job as the manager for the Tigers AAA team in Toledo.

He will be replaced by Ramon Borrego who has been the GCL Twins manager for the past seven seasons. Steve Singleton will be the hitting coach. It’s his second season with the Miracle and third in the Twins organization as a coach. Henry Bonilla will be back for his third season as the Miracle pitching coach. It will be his seventh season as a coach in the organization.

Cedar Rapids Kernels
Manager: Toby Gardenhire
Hitting Coach: Brian Dinkelman
Pitching Coach: Cibney Bello, Justin Willard

With Tommy Watkins moving up to Chattanooga, Toby Gardenhire gets his first managerial job in professional baseball. The son of former Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire played in the Twins minor leagues. After playing, he became the coach at UW-Stout. Before the 2016 season, he joined the Twins organization as a coach in the GCL. When Red Wings manager Mike Quade was in an auto accident in Ft. Myers in spring training and a shoulder injury meant he couldn't coach third base, Gardenhire spent the first half with the Red Wings before returning to the GCL.

Gardenhire will be joined on the Kernels coaching staff by two guys who have been there the last two seasons. Brian Dinkelman enters his fourth overall year as a coach in the system. Cibney Bello played in the Mariners system. He then was a pitching coach in their system for four years. He worked with the Twins GCL pitchers the last two years. Justin Willard enters his first year as a Twins coach. He was previously at Radford University.

Elizabethton Twins
Manager: Ray Smith
Hitting Coach: Jeff Reed
Pitching Coach: Luis Ramirez
Coach: Takashi Miyoshi

If you want consistency, look no further than Elizabethton. Manager Ray Smith begins his 25th season as the E-Twins manager. This will be the former Twins catcher’s 32nd season managing or coaching the E-Twins.

Another former Twins catcher and long-time big leaguer Jeff Reed returns for his 17th season as the E-Twins hitting coach. Luis Ramirez is back for his fourth season as the team’s pitching coach. He has coached in the Twins organization since 2006 when he became the Twins pitching coordinator in Venezuela. Takashi Miyoshi is new to the organization. He had played in several independent leagues as well as in Japan. In the last decade, he has been a coach on a variety of teams and leagues.

GCL Twins:
Manager: Dan Ramsay
Hitting Coach: Luis Rodriguez
Hitting Coach: Matt Borgschulte
Pitching Coach: Virgil Vasquez

The Twins hired Dan Ramsay to take Borrego's place as the GCL Twins manager. He was the head coach at Division III Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington for nine years. He became the coach immediately following his own graduation from the school. In his summers, he was the director of the Nike Baseball Camp.

Virgil Vasquez returns for his fourth season as a pitching coach in the GCL. He had pitched for the Twins Double-A and Triple-A affiliates for a couple of seasons beforehand.

Luis Rodriguez played in the Twins system from 1998 through 2007, including 206 games with the big league club in 2005-2007, He spent 2008 and 2009 with the Padres. He spent time with the Mariners in 2011. Borgschulte has been a scout and worked with the Cardinals in recent years.


2018 COORDINATORS

Minor League Field Coordinator: Edgar Varela

Varela was the Assistant Hitting Coordinator in the Pittsburgh Pirates system after managing in their rookie leagues the previous three seasons. He played at Long Beach State and was drafted by the White Sox in 2002. He became a coach in the Pirates system in 2008.

Senior Pitching Adviser: Bob McClure

McClure pitched in the big leagues for 19 seasons and pitched mostly in relief. He was a teammate of Paul Molitor from 1977 to 1986. He has been a long-time pitching coach including time in the big leagues with the Royals, Red Sox and with the Phillies the last four years. His job will be to work with new Twins pitching coach Garvin Alston and minor league pitching coordinator Paul Maki to make sure that the message is the same between player development stages and the big leagues.

Minor League Pitching Coordinator: Paul Maki

After the 2017 season, the Twins let long-time employee Eric Rasmussen go. In December, he was replaced by Paul Maki. He was hired after being the pitching coach at Duke the last two seasons. Before that, he coached at Columbia.

Minor League Pitching Coordinator: JP Martinez

After spending the last two years as the pitching coach for the Cedar Rapids Kernels, he becomes an assistant to Paul Maki. He will travel to all of the affiliates and work at spring training.

Minor League Hitting Coordinator: Rick Eckstein

Eckstein is the brother of former big league shortstop David Eckstein. He was named the Twins minor league hitting coordinator in July of 2016. He has coached at every level of baseball from college to the minor leagues to the big leagues.

Minor League Catching Coordinator: Tanner Swanson

The Twins hired Swanson in October of 2017 to be the minor league catching coordinator. He had just been named an assistant coach at Santa Clara a few months earlier. He worked a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Washington where he spent a lot of time working with the catchers. He is also the founder of D1Catching.com.

Minor League Infield and Baserunning Coordinator: Sam Perlozzo

Perlozzo remains with the Twins organization. The one-time Orioles manager joined the Twins organization in this role after Paul Molitor became the Twins manager. Perlozzo is busy working with infielders in spring training, and he travels to each of the affiliates throughout the season to keep working with players and managers.

Minor League Roving Outfielder Instructor: Mike Quade

Quade has been a baseball lifer. He had been the Red Wings manager the past two years. In 2010 and 2011, he was the manager of the Cubs. He has been reassigned for 2018 and will be moving around the Twins minor leagues throughout the season working with outfielders.

Senior Advisor to Player Development: Joel Lepel

Lepel has held a number of roles in his 26 years in the Twins organization including the minor league field coordinator, scouting and more. He takes on an advisory role.

There has been a lot of change, and there may continue to be in the coming months and years. But we look to put a lot of attention on player development, and this is the new group in charge of it.

What are your thoughts on these assignments?

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22 Comments

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Deduno Abides
Dec 20 2017 10:46 AM
If Toby Gardenhire has most of his dad’s baseball acumen and a better sense of how to deal with developing players,derived from his experiences trying to get through the minors, he’ll be great.

I would have dropped Smith from the MLB team and replaced him with Jake Mauer.

Sad to see Jake Mauer move on. Hard to fathom why they couldn't find something with the MLB club. Anyone know if he resides in the Twin Cities or in Chattanooga? If the TC, really crazy they couldn't find something for him to do.

    • tarheeltwinsfan likes this
Mauer didn't want to coach anymore. He wants to spend more time with his family.
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Tom Froemming
Dec 20 2017 01:02 PM

Happy to see that Mike Quade is staying in the org. I'd imagine Luis Rodriguez is going to be an excellent influence on the kids in the GCL. Pretty impressive that he was still playing indy ball as recently as 2016. He really squeezed every bit out of his playing career he could have. Gotta respect a former major leaguer being willing to go play in the Mexican League or the indy leagues even into his mid-30s. You've gotta really love the game to want to do that.

    • Carole Keller, tarheeltwinsfan and dbminn like this

I thought I read that Mauer was offered the roving job after he had decided to leave the Twins (so St Paul could be his home base). Has the real story been made public? Doesn't matter I guess. Just curious.

Great to have those in one place for future reference.Thanks! 

 

bit of nitpicking.It is Ramon Borrego not Borrega

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Bradley Swanson
Dec 20 2017 02:57 PM

It's good to see Tommy Watkins moving up in the organization!

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Bob Sacamento
Dec 20 2017 04:20 PM

Very interesting to see Ramon Borrego moving up the ladder as I had seen him as the GCL coach the past four years around the complex.He has an aggressive offensive style of playing (hit and runs, straight steals, etc) and seeing that he'll be coaching alot of the players he had a few seasons ago, I'd look for the same in the FSL.

    • tarheeltwinsfan and Tom Froemming like this

 

Sad to see Jake Mauer move on. Hard to fathom why they couldn't find something with the MLB club. Anyone know if he resides in the Twin Cities or in Chattanooga? If the TC, really crazy they couldn't find something for him to do.

 

He lives and works in the Metro area, yes. 

 

Jake's got three kids, so I definitely understand him wanting to be home more. Too bad for the organization, but probably a very good thing for his family.

    • tarheeltwinsfan and MN_ExPat like this

 

Great to have those in one place for future reference.Thanks! 

 

bit of nitpicking.It is Ramon Borrego not Borrega

 

Nope, I think spelling people's names correctly is important. Thanks for the correction.

    • VOMG and spinowner like this

I read this list of roving, coaching, coaching the coaches, coaches and wonder why.I really have a difficult time seeing how they all have functional tasks and avoid getting in one another's way.  

 

I read this list of roving, coaching, coaching the coaches, coaches and wonder why.I really have a difficult time seeing how they all have functional tasks and avoid getting in one another's way.  

My impression is that Falvine have taken everything under consideration and know exactly who is responsible for what.

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ashburyjohn
Dec 20 2017 07:42 PM

My impression is that Falvine have taken everything under consideration and know exactly who is responsible for what.

Yeah, "roving" is not a synonym for "brownian". :)

 

giphy.gif

 

(Yes, it hurts my eyes too. Sorry.)

Interested the additions from the academic world of baseball. You forget that coaching and managing doesn't necessarily have to involve playing the sport as a pro anymore.

 

Lots of minor league coordinators as well as the former Twins on hand for experience drills.

 

 

Very informative roundup, Seth. Thanks for that. Interesting to hear that Mientkiewicz will be the Tigers' hitting coach ... in Toledo. Poor guy; that's a long way from his home in Florida!

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theBOMisthebomb
Dec 21 2017 06:21 AM
Bring back Jake Mauer.

Bring back Jake Mauer.


They didn't fire Mauer. Mauer chose to quit coaching so that he could spend time with his family and see his kids grow up.

 

Very informative roundup, Seth. Thanks for that. Interesting to hear that Mientkiewicz will be the Tigers' hitting coach ... in Toledo. Poor guy; that's a long way from his home in Florida!

 

Interesting... I don't know why I typed Hitting Coach, since he'll be their manager... 

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Tommygun921
Dec 21 2017 10:23 AM
Curious howuch all of these jobs pay. As it's been stated that they can't afford to spend money like the big market clubs on players but they can spend money on these positions to help better develope the players.

 

Curious howuch all of these jobs pay. As it's been stated that they can't afford to spend money like the big market clubs on players but they can spend money on these positions to help better develope the players.

 

I've never been able to get a real good answer on that. I don't think it's a ton... Several of them do other things in the offseason, or at least have.

 

I've never been able to get a real good answer on that. I don't think it's a ton... Several of them do other things in the offseason, or at least have.

Actually, how much money do major league coaches actually make?

 

One thing that I found interesting with Falvey’s reputation as a pitching guy and the Twins issues developing pitchers that only one pitching coach position has been replaced. That position was open because they promoted the pitching coach to a coordinator position and the other coordinator position and senior pitching advisor position were outside hires. Further, other than the one new pitching coach who was an outside hire, the rest are in place from prior to Falvey being hired.

On a Jake Mauer note…it was never said, but with the timeing of announcements it felt like the Twins wanted to put him as the manager in Rochester. Anyone have thoughts or real insight?

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