Astros announce 2020 Minor League staff

January 28th, 2020

HOUSTON, TX — The Houston Astros Player Development Department has announced its minor league field staff for the 2020 season.

The Astros are returning five of their seven managers from the 2019 season, including Mickey Storey (Triple A Round Rock), Nate Shaver (Class A Advanced Fayetteville), Ray Hernandez (Class A Quad Cities), Wladimir Sutil (Class A Short Season Tri-City) and Carlos Lugo (Rookie Level Dominican Summer League). 

Former Astros infielder Gregorio Petit has been named manager of Double A Corpus Christi, as longtime Astros minor league manager Omar Lopez was promoted from Corpus Christi to the Astros Major League staff as first base coach this offseason. Ricardo Rivera has been hired to manage the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League Astros and takes over for Sutil, who has been moved up to manage Tri-City in 2020.

Full details and information about the Astros minor league coordinators, managers and coaching staff is below.


Mickey Storey will lead the Round Rock Express as manager for his second consecutive season. A former right-handed pitcher in the Major Leagues, Storey is entering his third season as a manager, as he began his managerial career in 2018 at Quad Cities. He joined the Astros player development staff in 2017 as a development coach at Class A Advanced Buies Creek. 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 returns to Round Rock as pitching coach for his second season, in what will be his fifth season overall with the Astros organization. Prior to moving up to the Express, French served as pitching coach for Buies Creek in 2018 and Quad Cities in 2017, with both clubs winning league championship titles. French is a native of Austin, Texas, and played collegiately at Concordia University in Austin.

Entering his fourth year with Houston, Ben Rosenthal will serve as Round Rock’s hitting coach for the second straight season. Rosenthal joined the Astros in 2017 as hitting coach at Quad Cities, before moving up to Buies Creek in 2018. He had a four-year professional playing career, including two seasons in the Cardinals minor league system and two seasons in the Independent Leagues.

Ryan Engels enters his first year as Round Rock's development coach after spending the 2019 season with the Hooks as a performance coach.

John Gregorich will be Round Rock's athletic trainer for the second straight season, while Hazael Wessin will begin his first year with the Express, and his sixth year overall with Houston, as strength coach.


Gregorio Petit has joined the Astros as manager at Corpus Christi in what will be his first stint as a manager. A native of Venezuela, Petit enjoyed a 15-year professional playing career, which included parts of six Major League seasons with the A's (2008-09), Astros (2014), Yankees (2015), Angels (2016) and Twins (2018). In 37 games with Houston in 2014, he hit .278 with a .723 OPS.

Graham Johnson returns to the Hooks for his second season as pitching coach and his third with the Astros. Johnson joined Houston in 2018 as pitching coach at Quad Cities. He played collegiately at Culver-Stockton College, and spent six years as a coach at Morehead State University prior to joining Houston.

Jason Kanzler enters his second season in the Astros organization, and his first as hitting coach with the Hooks. Kanzler joined the Astros in 2019 as hitting coach at Fayetteville, which followed stints as an assistant baseball coach at Katy High School in Texas, and as 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.

Sean Connole joins the Astros as Corpus Christi's mental skills and development coach.

Christian Bermudez returns for his second season as Corpus Christi's athletic trainer, and his seventh year with Houston. Mike Myers enters his first year with the Hooks as strength coach.


Nate Shaver will manage Fayetteville for the second consecutive season after leading the Woodpeckers to the Carolina League Championship Series in 2019. Shaver joined the Astros in 2018 as the development coach for the Buies Creek Astros, where he helped 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 Shaver on the Fayetteville coaching staff will be Thomas Whitsett (pitching coach) and Rafael Peña (hitting coach). Whitsett enters his second consecutive season as pitching coach for the Woodpeckers, as he joined the organization in 2019 following a stint at the University of Arizona where he was the Director of Player Development-Pitchers. Peña is entering his third season with Houston, and his first at Fayetteville. He joined the Astros as a development coach at Quad Cities in 2018, before becoming hitting coach at Quad Cities in 2019.

Nate Stewart will enter his second season as Fayetteville's athletic trainer, while Zach Reding will serve as the Woodpeckers strength coach for his first season after spending 2019 at Quad Cities.


Ray Hernandez returns to the Astros for his third season, and his second as manager at Quad Cities. Hernandez joined the Astros in 2018 as a development coach at Triple A Fresno, following a three-year coaching stint at Cosumnes River College, and one season at Elk Grove High School. 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.

Erick Abreu begins his seventh season working in player development with the Astros, and his second 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.

Sean Godfrey will serve as hitting coach of the River Bandits after joining the Astros in 2019 as hitting coach at Tri-City. Prior to joining the Astros, Godfrey served a stint as hitting coach at Indiana Southeast University. Godfrey played four seasons in the Atlanta Braves minor league system and one season in the Independent leagues for the Schaumburg Boomers. A Division-I All-American at Ball State University, Godfrey was named the 2014 MAC Player of the Year.

Brandon Zumbach will serve as athletic trainer and Mike Hoffman will be the strength coach at Quad Cities.


The Tri-City ValleyCats will be managed by Wladimir Sutil for his first season, and his fourth season managing in Houston's system. Sutil has spent the last three years as manager of the GCL Astros. A coach in Houston’s system since 2014, Sutil enjoyed a 10-year playing career that included eight seasons in the Astros minor league system.

John Kovalik enters his second season as pitching coach at Tri-City. Prior to joining the Astros in 2019, Kovalik spent two years as the pitching coach at Slippery Rock University. Kovalik pitched at Slippery Rock before spending four seasons as a pitcher in the Independent professional baseball leagues with the Frontier Greys and the Gary-Southshore Railcats.

Ernesto Irizarry joins the ValleyCats as hitting coach after spending the 2019 season as the Astros head complex hitting coach at their academy in the Dominican Republic. Before joining the Astros, Irizarry served stints as an assistant hitting coach in the Independent Northwoods League, and as an assistant coach at Roosevelt University. He played in the Liga Beisbol Superior Doble A de Puerto Rico from 2014-16, and also played at Joliet Junior College from 2009-10.

Tanner Lubbach joins the Astros as development coach at Tri-City.

Roman Rendon will be the ValleyCats athletic trainer, while Josh Peterson will serve as strength coach.


Ricardo Rivera joins the Astros for his first season as manager of the GCL Astros. He will lead a staff that returns Jose Rada for his fourth season as GCL Astros pitching coach, and Rene Rojas for his third season as GCL Astros hitting coach. Brittany Wiebe will spend 2020 as the GCL Astros strength coach.


Carlos Lugo enters his second season as manager of the DSL Astros, and his seventh 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 44th season with the Astros, while Luis Reynoso will serve his first season as hitting coach in what will be his fourth season with the organization.

Julio Linares, Alejandro Martinez, Ezra Bye, Starlyng Sanchez, Jose Puentes, Erik Acevedo Rojas and Selin Aquino will also coach at the Astros academy in the Dominican Republic in 2020. Joan Segura, Austin Smith and John Boland will serve as athletic trainers in the DSL, while Geremias Guzman, Khoogas Mekaelian and Chris Martin will be strength coaches in the DSL.


Jason Bell will begin his fourth season with Houston and his second consecutive as fundamentals coordinator. Bell managed Tri-City to the New York-Penn League Championship in 2018, 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.

Bill Murphy enters his second season as pitching coordinator, and his fifth overall with the Astros organization. The former Rutgers University pitcher was a pitching coach in Houston’s system from 2016-18 at Corpus Christi (2018), Tri-City (2017) and Greeneville (2016).

Jeremy Barnes is entering his second season as hitting coordinator and fourth overall. Barnes joined the Astros in 2017 as hitting coach at Tri-City, and helped the ValleyCats reach a New York-Penn League Championship title in 2018. 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.

Mark Bailey returns for his 23rd year as a coach or instructor in the Astros organization, and his fifth consecutive as catching coordinator. The former Astros catcher (1984-88) has been a mainstay in the organization since 1998. During his 29 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).

Bryan Baca enters his fourth season as medical coordinator in what will be his 14th year with the Astros.

Elliot Diehl will be Houston's assistant medical coordinator for the second consecutive season and his sixth season overall with the club.

Jeff Lewis has been hired as rehab coordinator.

Dan Howells is back for his third season as strength and conditioning coordinator.

Terrence Kennell enters his second season with Houston, and his first as strength and conditioning rehab coordinator.

Jesse Michel will begin his fourth season as Houston's mental skills coordinator.


Jose Fernandez returns for his fifth season with Houston as head of sports science, while Jacob Buffa will serve as a sport science analyst in his second year with the organization.


Todd Naskedov (rehab pitching coach), Erick Threets (complex pitching coach), Tim LaMonte (complex hitting coach) and Alex Serrano (mental skills coach) will spend all of 2020 working with Astros players at their complex in West Palm Beach, Fla., FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.