O's unveil coaches for their top farm system

Rising coach Buck Britton named Triple-A manager amid shifting in Minors

January 26th, 2022

The Orioles on Wednesday unveiled the crop of coaches who will lead the top-rated farm system in baseball (as ranked by MLB Pipeline), with promotions for several familiar faces among the group.

Chief among the moves is the promotion of longtime coach and former farmhand Buck Britton to the managerial post with Triple-A Norfolk, after he served in the same role for Double-A Bowie for the last two seasons on top of other coaching roles in the organization. Britton, brother of former Orioles closer and current Yankee Zack Britton, has soared through the system ranks, leading Bowie and its top prospect talent to a 149-111 record since 2019.

Joining Britton in moving from Bowie to Norfolk is pitching coach Justin Ramsey, now responsible for shepherding a crop of highly touted pitchers at the level, with top pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez possible to be among the group in 2022. Along with Ramsey's promotion across teams came the title of upper-level pitching coordinator, serving under organizational director of pitching/MLB pitching coach Chris Holt.

Triple-A Norfolk staff
Manager: Buck Britton
Pitching coach: Justin Ramsey
Hitting coach: Tim Gibbons (returning coach)
Fundamentals coach: Ramón Sabo (returning coach)
Development coach: Joshua Rodrigues (last worked in Rays’ system)
Athletic trainer: Alan Rail (hired from Marlins’ system)
Strength and conditioning coach: Joe Medici (promoted from Bowie)

The managerial domino effect trickled to Double-A Bowie, where Kyle Moore is set to take over for Britton after serving as High-A Aberdeen’s skipper in 2021 (as well as from 2017-18) and then-Class A Delmarva in 2019, a season in which they won 90 games. Both pitching coach Josh Conway and fundamentals coach Tim DeJohn join Moore in a promotion from Aberdeen to Bowie.

Double-A Bowie staff
Manager: Kyle Moore
Pitching coach: Josh Conway
Hitting coach: Branden Becker (promoted from Complex League)
Fundamentals coach: Tim DeJohn
Development coach: Billy Facteau (promoted from technology coordinator intern)
Athletic trainer: William Kelly (hired from Nichols College)
Strength and conditioning coach: Chandler Geller (hired from Rangers’ system)

The highest-profile outside addition to the Minor League staff comes in the form of Roberto Mercado, named manager of High-A Aberdeen after serving as the coach of New Britain (Conn.) High School since 2011, with stints in the Cape Cod Baseball League also to his name. Forrest Herrmann was also named the pitching coach, joining the O’s after serving in the same role for the Low-A affiliate of the Reds and prior as the Mariners' pitching strategist in 2019.

High-A Aberdeen staff
Roberto Mercado
Pitching coach: Forrest Herrmann
Hitting coach: Zach Cole (promoted from development coach)
Fundamentals coach: Isaiah Paige (hired from Dallas College)
Development coach: Ryan Goll (returning coach)
Athletic trainer: Allysee Kramer (hired from Padres’ system)
Strength and conditioning coach: Mike Thompson (returning coach)

At Low-A Delmarva, longtime Orioles staffer Felipe Rojas Alou Jr. will make his managerial debut in 2022, coming after 15 years in the organization and last as director of the club’s academy in the Dominican Republic. Alou will be flanked by a staff mostly well-known around the organization.

Low-A Delmarva staff
Manager: Felipe Rojas Alou Jr.
Pitching coach: Joe Haumacher (promoted from Complex League)
Hitting coach: Brink Ambler (promoted from Minors technology coordinator)
Fundamentals coach: Daniel Fajardo (promoted from Minors technology coordinator in the DR)
Development coach: Collin Murray (hired from Tigers’ system)
Athletic trainer: Julio Ibarra (promoted from Dominican Summer League teams)
Strength and conditioning coach: Liz Pardo (returning coach)

The full list of coaches for the Complex League (which will be managed by Matt Packer and Christian Frias) and the Dominican Summer League (which will be managed by Elbis Morel and Chris Madera) can be found here.

Behind the scenes, the system headed by director of player development Matt Blood (third season) features a small handful of changes and promotions as well. Ken Qualls remains director of Minor League operations, while Ramón Alcarón has been promoted to the role of coordinator in Minor League operations. On the Draft side, Brad Ciolek will take over as director of Draft operations as he enters his 11th season with the organization, this year tabbed with deciding on the No. 1 overall pick. He will be joined by Chandler Couch, coordinator of Draft operations, who has been promoted after serving as a scouting fellow in 2021.

In the scouting world, the Orioles return a majority of their scouts from 2021 while adding Dan Drullinger (Brenham, Texas) and Eric Robinson (Acworth, Ga.).