Twins Minor League 2018 Coaching/Coordinator Assignments
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, photo of Tommy WatkinsFollowing 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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