Rays announce Minor League coaching staff

January 24th, 2022
Brady Williams (left) was the 2021 Triple-A East co-Manager of the Year.Chris Baird/MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays on Monday announced their Minor League coaching and medical staffs for the 2022 season, making more than 30 changes overall while bringing back the five managers who guided their farm system to historic highs on the field last year.

The Rays' success often turns their personnel into top targets for other clubs as they fill out their staffs during the offseason, and this offseason was no different. As a result, Tampa Bay made a number of organizational moves and new hires, from the coordinator roles to each affiliate's coaching staff.

But there will be some continuity at the top of each staff. Triple-A Durham manager Brady Williams, Double-A Montgomery manager Morgan Ensberg, High-A Bowling Green manager Jeff Smith, Low-A Charleston manager Blake Butera and Rookie-level Florida Complex League manager Rafael Valenzuela are all set to return this year.

Kyle Wilson, who spent last season as Durham's hitting coach, was named the Rays' hitting coordinator. Wilson is taking the role previously held by Greg Brown, who was hired as the Cubs' Major League hitting coach in November, and Dan DeMent, who was promoted to the Rays' big league staff as an assistant hitting coach.

Additionally, the Rays will have a new hitting coach at every level of the system this year, including four new hires:

Will Bradley is Durham's new hitting coach. He spent the last three years in the Angels' organization as a hitting coach after serving as a collegiate coach at Saint Louis University from 2007-18.

Wuarnner Rincones will be Montgomery's hitting coach after holding the same post for Charleston last year.

• The Rays hired Paul Rozzelle, who spent eight seasons as the head coach at Catawba Valley Community College, as Bowling Green's new hitting coach. Brady North, now an assistant hitting coach for the Rays, was Bowling Green's hitting coach last year.

• New Charleston hitting coach Perry Roth spent more than 20 years coaching at the collegiate level with UAB, Birmingham Southern and Illinois State, most recently as the interim head coach at UAB.

• Rounding out the group is FCL Rays hitting coach Hez Randolph, who was the head coach for the Valley Blue Sox of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Jamie Nelson, Montgomery's hitting coach last season, is taking on the same role as one of the FCL Rays' four hitting coaches alongside Randolph, Manny Castillo and Alejandro Segovia (previously in the Dominican Summer League).

Brian Reith will serve as Durham's pitching coach this season after spending last year as a pitching fellow on Tampa Bay's big league staff. He is replacing Rick Knapp, the Rays' assistant pitching and rehab coach who worked in Durham the previous four years.

Jim Paduch will be Montgomery's pitching coach after holding the same role for Bowling Green last year. Pitching coach Alberto Bastardo will make the jump from the FCL to Bowling Green. R.C. Lichtenstein will remain in his role as Charleston's pitching coach. And the Rays will have four pitching coaches with the FCL club: José Gonzalez, Marty DeMerritt, Levi Romero (previously with the DSL affiliate) and rehab pitching coach Steve Watson, who spent last year with Montgomery.

The Rays hired Chris Constantine as their outfield/baserunning coordinator, a role previously held by new Tampa Bay first-base coach Chris Prieto. Constantine served in the same role for the Angels from 2019-21 and worked as an assistant coach for the United States Naval Academy (2015-17) along with the Orleans Firebirds of the Cape Cod Baseball League (2015-18).

The Rays made two other coordinator hires. Affiliate medical coordinator Marty Brinker, who will oversee the medical program at each full-season affiliate, spent the last seven seasons in the Orioles' organization. New strength and conditioning coordinator Chris Osmond joins the Rays after six seasons as the head of strength and conditioning with the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers, although he has previous experience in the Minors with the Dodgers (2005) and Orioles ('06-07).

Among the other changes the Rays made at the coordinator level:

• Frank Maldonado, who spent last season as the FCL Rays' hitting coach, was named manager of hitting development. Winston Doom, who was the assistant director of pitching development, was named pitching strategist.

• Joel Smith, formerly the rehabilitation coordinator, was named complex medical coordinator. Paul Jones was named assistant strength and conditioning coordinator. Josh Kozuch, who spent last season among the Rays' mental performance coaches, was named mental performance coordinator.

• Oscar Orengo was named Latin America medical administrator, and Cesar Gutierrez was named Latin America strength and conditioning coordinator. Both spent last season on the DSL developmental staff.