The defending World Series champion Nationals are welcoming new faces and shifting around some duties across their Minor League chain for 2020. The club announced a wave of hires and promotions throughout the system Thursday, when it finalized its player development staff for the upcoming season.
Some notable changes from 2019:
• There will be three new managers in the Nats’ system: Mario Lisson takes over at Class A Hagerstown, Patrick Anderson moves to Class A Short Season Auburn, and Rocket Wheeler shifts to manage the Gulf Coast League Nationals. Wheeler had managed Auburn last season, while Lisson had been in the GCL since 2018.
• Brad Holman replaces Paul Menhart as Minor League pitching coordinator, after Menhart was elevated to Dave Martinez’s big league staff. Holman had been the pitching coach at Triple-A.
• Michael Tejera moves from Double-A Harrisburg to Triple-A Fresno, replacing Holman as pitching coach.
• Billy Gardner Jr. replaces Matt LeCroy as manager at Double-A Harrisburg, after LeCroy became quality control coordinator. The manager at Triple-A Syracuse from 2013-2017, Gardner served as the club’s Minor League roving coordinator the past two seasons.
• Sam Narron takes over as pitching coach at Double-A, replacing Tejera. Narron has previously held the title at Class A Short Season, Class A, and Class A Advanced.
• Narron will be replaced at Class A Advanced Fredricksburg by Justin Lord, who enters his first year in the organization. Lord spent the previous seven seasons in the Orioles’ organization, most recently as the pitching coach at Class A Frederick.
• Joining Lisson’s staff is former GCL hitting coach Jorge Mejia and pitching coach Pat Rice, who spent the past six seasons as a pitching coach in the Angels system. Rice held the position at Triple-A Salt Lake in 2019.
• Former MLB infielder Wilson Valdez and Edwin Hurtado are the new infield and pitching coaches in the Domincan Summer League, while former Rangers and Pirates reliever Stolmy Pimentel joins the organization as the DSL Nats’ assistant pitching coach.