HOUSTON, TX - The Houston Astros announced today their minor league coordinators, managers and coaches for the 2018 season.
The Astros coordinators will be Josh Miller (pitching coordinator), Chris Holt (assistant pitching coordinator), Josh Bonifay (field coordinator) and Mark Bailey (catching coordinator).
The managers for the Astros seven minor league clubs will be as follows: Rodney Linares (Triple A Fresno), Omar Lopez (Double A Corpus Christi), Morgan Ensberg (Class A Advanced Buies Creek), Mickey Storey (Class A Quad Cities), Jason Bell (Class A Short Season Tri-City), Wladimir Sutil (Rookie Level Gulf Coast League) and Charlie Romero (Rookie Level Dominican Summer League).
COORDINATORS AND INSTRUCTORS
Josh Miller has been promoted to pitching coordinator after spending the last two seasons overseeing the Astros pitching programs as complex pitching coordinator in West Palm Beach, Fla. Miller began his coaching career in 2013 as pitching coach at Greeneville, which followed a two-year stint as a pro scout for the Astros. He spent three total seasons as Greeneville's pitching coach, helping to lead the club to an Appalachian League Championship title in 2015.
Chris Holt will be the Astros assistant pitching coordinator for the 2018 season. Holt has spent the last four seasons as a pitching coach in the Astros system, holding that post at Buies Creek (2017), Quad Cities (2016) and Tri-City (2014-15).
Josh Bonifay returns to the Astros as field coordinator after spending the 2017 season as Major League field coordinator for the Texas Rangers. Prior to his stint with the Rangers, Bonifay spent six seasons in the Astros minor league system, which included four seasons as a manager and two as a hitting coach. He was named the 2015 Midwest League Manager of the Year while with Quad Cities, and the 2013 Appalachian League Manager of the Year while with Greeneville.
Mark Bailey is back for his 21st year as a coach or instructor in the Astros organization, and his third consecutive as catching coordinator. The former Astros catcher (1984-88) has been a mainstay in the organization since beginning his coaching career as a hitting coach with the Class A Advanced Kissimmee Cobras in 1998. During his 27 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 FRESNO GRIZZLIES
Rodney Linares moves up to Triple A Fresno where he will serve as manager for the 2018 season. Linares has spent the last three seasons as manager of the Corpus Christi Hooks, where he was named Texas League Manager of the Year in 2015. The 2018 season will mark his 12th as a manager in the Astros system.
Dyar Miller will be Fresno's pitching coach for the third consecutive season. A 50-year veteran of professional baseball, Miller joined the Astros in 2013 following an 18-year run where he worked for the Cardinals in various roles, including Major League bullpen coach (2012) and minor league pitching coordinator (2008-11).
Darryl Robinson returns to Fresno for his second consecutive season as hitting coach. Prior to his stint with the Grizzlies, Robinson spent eight years as the Astros hitting coach at Class A Advanced Lancaster, where he was part of two California League Championship clubs (2014, 2012). In 2013, he was named the California League Coach of the Year after the JetHawks led the minors in on-base percentage, runs, walks and OPS.
Ray Hernandez joins the Astros as development coach at Fresno after spending the last three years as pitching coach at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, Calif. Hernandez pitched in the Arizona Diamondbacks minor league system from 2011-13.
DOUBLE A CORPUS CHRISTI HOOKS
Omar Lopez will serve as manager at Corpus Christi in what will be his 20th year with the Astros. A manager in Houston's minor league system since 2008, Lopez spent the 2017 season as manager at Buies Creek. He was named the 2014-15 Venezuelan Professional Baseball League Manager of the Year, and in 2010 won the Astros Player Development Man of the Year award.
Bill Murphy will be the Hooks pitching coach for the 2018 season. Murphy joined the Astros in 2016 as pitching coach at Greeneville before becoming Tri-City's pitching coach last season.
Troy Snitker returns to the Astros as hitting coach at Corpus Christi. Snitker served his first professional coaching stint last season as hitting coach at Buies Creek.
Mycal Jones will serve as Corpus Christi's development coach after spending the last year running his own baseball academy. Jones had a seven-year professional playing career in the Atlanta Braves minor league system, and also spent one year in the Independent Atlantic League.
CLASS A ADVANCED BUIES CREEK ASTROS
Making the jump to the Class A Advanced level is Morgan Ensberg, who will serve as manager at Buies Creek for the 2018 season. Ensberg spent the 2017 season as manager at Tri-City in what was his first professional managerial role. A former All-Star and Silver Slugger Award-winning third baseman for the Astros, Ensberg entered the professional coaching ranks in 2013 with the Astros as infield coach at Class A Advanced Lancaster. He was a special assignment coach from 2014-15 and a development coach in 2016.
Joining Ensberg on the coaching staff will be Drew French (pitching coach), Ben Rosenthal (hitting coach) and Nate Shaver (development coach).
French is set to start his third season as a pitching coach with Houston, as he spent the 2017 season with the Midwest League Champion Quad Cities River Bandits and the 2016 season with Tri-City.
Rosenthal joined the Astros last year as hitting coach at Quad Cities, where he helped lead the club to a Midwest League Championship title. He joined the Astros after a three-year coaching stint at Point Loma Nazarene University.
Shaver has over a decade of coaching experience at various levels, most recently at Wake Technical Community College. Shaver played one year with the Joliet Slammers of the Independent League, and two years at Division I New Mexico State University.
CLASS A QUAD CITIES RIVER BANDITS
Mickey Storey will manage the reigning Midwest League Champion Quad Cities River Bandits in what will be his first professional managerial position. A former right-handed pitcher, Storey joined the professional coaching ranks last season as a development coach at Buies Creek. In 2012, he made his Major League debut with the Astros, posting a 3.86 ERA (13ER/30.1IP) and 34 strikeouts in 26 relief appearances.
Graham Johnson joins the Astros for his first season as pitching coach at Quad Cities after spending the last six years as a coach at Morehead State University.
Dillon Lawson will be the River Bandits hitting coach after spending 2017 as hitting coach at the University of Missouri. Lawson was the Astros hitting coach at Tri-City during the 2016 season.
Rafael Pena joins the Astros as the development coach at Quad Cities following a stint as an assistant coach at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. Pena played 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
Jason Bell will hold his first career managerial post in 2018 as manager at Tri-City. A development coach at Quad Cities last season, Bell played at the University of Central Missouri, and coached at the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore and Heartland Community College prior to joining the Astros.
Bell's staff will consist of Erick Abreu (pitching coach) and Jeremy Barnes (hitting coach).
Abreu served as pitching coach at Rookie Level Greeneville last season, and has spent four total seasons coaching in the Astros system.
Barnes is back for his second straight season as hitting coach at Tri-City, while Cerquera also returns for his second straight year at Tri-City.
ROOKIE LEVEL GULF COAST LEAGUE ASTROS
The GCL Astros will be managed by Wladimir Sutil for the second 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 second season as pitching coach in the GCL.
Cesar Cedeño and Rene Rojas will serve as hitting coaches for the GCL Astros. The 2018 season will be Cedeño's 31st as a member of the Astros organization. Rojas is joining the GCL Astros after two seasons as a hitting coach with the Dominican Summer League Astros Orange club.
Todd Naskedov joins the Astros as the organization's complex pitching coordinator based out of their complex in West Palm Beach, Fla. 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.
Ralph Dickenson will work out of the Astros facility in West Palm Beach, Fla. during Spring Training and Extended Spring Training as the organization's complex hitting coach. Now in his sixth season with the Astros, Dickenson has served as a hitting instructor (2017, 2015), Triple A hitting coach (2016), Major League assistant hitting coach (2014) and minor league hitting coordinator (2013) during his time with the organization.
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE ASTROS
Charlie Romero will manage the Astros Dominican Summer League club this season. A veteran of over 30 years in baseball, the 2018 season will be Romero's fifth consecutive season with the Astros organization.
Rick Aponte will serve as a pitching coach for the DSL Astros in what will be his 42nd season with the Astros, while Luis Mateo will serve as hitting coach in what will be his 10th season with Houston.
Alejandro Martinez, Gerardo Olivares, Omar Rosario, Carlos Lugo, Erik Acevedo, Selin Aquino, Luis Reynoso and Starlyng Sanchez will also coach at the Astros academy in the Dominican Republic in 2018.