HOUSTON, TX - The Houston Astros have named their minor league coordinators, managers and coaches for the 2019 season.
The managers for the Astros seven minor league clubs will be as follows: Mickey Storey (Triple A Round Rock), Omar Lopez (Double A Corpus Christi), Nate Shaver (Class A Advanced Fayetteville), Ray Hernandez (Class A Quad Cities), Ozney Guillen (Class A Short Season Tri-City), Wladimir Sutil (Rookie Level Gulf Coast League) and Carlos Lugo (Rookie Level Dominican Summer League).
The Astros coordinators will be Bill Murphy (pitching coordinator), Jeremy Barnes (hitting coordinator), Jason Bell (fundamentals coordinator) and Mark Bailey (catching coordinator).
Bill Murphy enters his first season as pitching coordinator, and his fourth overall with the Astros organization. The former Rutgers University pitcher has been a pitching coach in Houston's system in each of the last three seasons at Corpus Christi (2018), Tri-City (2017) and Greeneville (2016).
Jeremy Barnes is entering his first season as hitting coordinator after joining the Astros in 2017 as hitting coach at Tri-City. Last year, he helped the ValleyCats reach a New York-Penn League Championship title. A native of Rowlett, Texas, Barnes was drafted by the Phillies in the 11th round of the 2009 MLB Draft and played professionally until 2015, reaching the Triple A level in 2012.
Jason Bell will begin his third season with Houston and his first as fundamentals coordinator. Bell managed Tri-City to the New York-Penn League Championship last season, and helped Quad Cities to a Midwest League Championship in 2017 as a development coach. Bell played collegiately at Saint Louis University and the University of Central Missouri.
Mark Bailey returns for his 22nd year as a coach or instructor in the Astros organization, and his fourth consecutive as catching coordinator. The former Astros catcher (1984-88) has been a mainstay in the organization since 1998. During his 28 total years with the Houston franchise, he has served stints as Major League bullpen coach (2002-09), hitting coach at various minor league levels (1998-01, 2010-12), catching coach (2013-14) and roving catching instructor (2015).
TRIPLE A ROUND ROCK EXPRESS
Mickey Storey will lead the Round Rock Express in the Astros first season back with their former affiliate. Storey began his managerial career last season at Quad Cities, following a stint in 2017 as a development coach at Class A Advanced Buies Creek. A former right-handed pitcher, Storey had a nine-year professional playing career that included one season with the Astros in 2012 in which he posted a 3.86 ERA in 26 appearances with the Major League club.
Drew French will serve as pitching coach at Round Rock in what will be his fourth season with the organization. French has helped his club win championship titles in each of his last two seasons, as he was pitching coach for the 2018 Carolina League Champion Buies Creek Astros and the 2017 Midwest League Champion Quad Cities River Bandits. French is a native of Austin, Texas, and played collegiately at Concordia University in Austin.
Ben Rosenthal will be Round Rock's hitting coach in what is his third year with the Astros. Rosenthal has been the hitting coach at championship clubs in each of his two seasons with Houston, serving that post in 2018 at Buies Creek and 2017 at Quad Cities. Rosenthal had a four-year professional playing career, including two seasons in the Cardinals minor league system and two seasons in the Independent Leagues.
DOUBLE A CORPUS CHRISTI HOOKS
Omar Lopez returns to Corpus Christi for his second-consecutive season as manager, and his 21st year with the Astros. Lopez has been a manager in Houston's minor league system since 2008, serving stints at Corpus Christi (2018), Buies Creek (2017), Quad Cities (2013-14, 2016), Lancaster (2015), Greeneville (2011-12), the GCL Astros (2009-10) and VSL Astros (2008).
Graham Johnson steps in as Corpus Christi's pitching coach after joining the Astros last season as pitching coach at Quad Cities. Johnson played collegiately at Culver-Stockton College, and spent six years as a coach at Morehead State University prior to joining Houston.
Tim LaMonte joins the Astros as hitting coach at Corpus Christi. Lamonte has worked as a private hitting instructor based in Texas since 1998, and previously ran In The Box Athletics, a baseball training and strength and conditioning facility. LaMonte graduated from Texas A&M University-Commerce in 2001, and played baseball at Eastfield College.
CLASS A ADVANCED FAYETTEVILLE WOODPECKERS
Nate Shaver will manage Fayetteville in what will be the club's inaugural season. Shaver joined the Astros last year as the development coach for the Buies Creek Astros, where he helped push the club to a Carolina League Championship title. Shaver played at New Mexico State University and in the Independent Frontier League, and coached at Wake Technical Community College and New Mexico State University prior to his time with the Astros.
Joining the Shaver on the Fayetteville coaching staff for their first seasons with the Astros organization will be Thomas Whitsett (pitching coach) and Jason Kanzler (hitting coach).
Whitsett joins the Astros from the University of Arizona, where he served as the Director of Player Development-Pitchers. Whitsett previously served as the head baseball coach at Pleasant Valley High School, and the pitching coordinator for the NORCAL Baseball Club.
Kanzler has spent the last two years as an assistant baseball coach at Katy High School, and an assistant coach for the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod Baseball League. A 20th round pick by Minnesota in 2013, Kanzler played three seasons in the Twins minor league system.
CLASS A QUAD CITIES RIVER BANDITS
Ray Hernandez returns to the Astros for his second season, and his first as a manager. Hernandez joined the organization last season as a development coach at Triple A Fresno. Hernandez pitched in the Diamondbacks minor league system from 2011-13 after getting drafted by the club in the 48th round of the 2011 draft. Prior to joining the Astros, Hernandez spent three years coaching at Cosumnes River College, and one season coaching at Elk Grove High School.
Erick Abreu begins his sixth season working in player development with the Astros, and his first as Quad Cities pitching coach. Abreu has coached at Tri-City (2018) and Greeneville (2017), and with the GCL Astros (2016) and DSL Astros (2014-15). Abreu pitched in 12 professional seasons, including five in the Astros minor league system, six in the Yankees minor league system, and one in the Mexican Professional Baseball League.
Rafael Pena will start his second season with Houston, and his first as hitting coach at Quad Cities. Pena spent the 2018 season as a development coach at Quad Cities. Prior to his time with the Astros, Pena was an assistant coach at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. He played collegiately for two years at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma and two years at Western Oklahoma State.
CLASS A SHORT SEASON TRI-CITY VALLEYCATS
Ozney Guillen joins the Astros for his first season as manager at Tri-City. Guillen was selected by the White Sox in the 22nd round of the 2010 MLB Draft, and graduated from Miami Dade College. He just wrapped up a five-year professional playing career in the Independent leagues and the Venezuelan Winter League.
John Kovalik enters his first season with the Astros as pitching coach at Tri-City. Kovalik spent the last two years as the pitching coach at Slippery Rock University. Kovalik pitched at Slippery Rock before spending the 2014-17 seasons as a pitcher in the Independent professional baseball leagues with the Frontier Greys and the Gary-Southshore Railcats.
Sean Godfrey has been hired as Tri-City's hitting coach, following a stint as hitting coach at Indiana Southeast University. Godfrey recently wrapped up a professional playing career, as he played four seasons in the Atlanta Braves minor league system and one season in the Independent leagues for the Schaumburg Boomers. Godfrey was a Division-I All-American at Ball State University, and was named the 2014 MAC Player of the Year.
ROOKIE LEVEL GULF COAST LEAGUE ASTROS
The GCL Astros will be managed by Wladimir Sutil for the third consecutive season. Sutil has coached in Houston's system since 2014 following a 10-year playing career that included eight seasons in the Astros minor league system.
Jose Rada returns for his third season as pitching coach in the GCL. Rada enjoyed an eight-year playing career in the Cardinals minor league system.
Rene Rojas will serve as hitting coach for the GCL Astros for the second straight season. Rojas has coached for the Astros since 2016.
Todd Naskedov returns to the Astros for his second season as rehab pitching coach. Naskedov has served as a pitching coach at the community college level, a head coach and assistant coach at the high school level, and has also worked for USA Baseball as a National Team Trials Coach, and Major League Baseball as an International Envoy Coach in the United Kingdom and Holland.
ROOKIE LEVEL DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE ASTROS
Carlos Lugo enters his first season as manager of the DSL Astros, and his sixth season working in player development for the Astros.
Rick Aponte will serve as a pitching coach for the DSL Astros in what will be his 43rd season with the Astros, while Ernesto Irizarry will serve as hitting coach in what will be his first season with Houston.
Alejandro Martinez, Gerardo Olivares, Luis Reynoso, Starlyng Sanchez, Erik Acevedo Rojas and Selin Aquino will also coach at the Astros academy in the Dominican Republic in 2019.