Braves announce Minor League coaching staffs for 2018

The Atlanta Braves announced their 2018 minor league coaching staffs today, which includes 20 staff members returning for the upcoming season.

December 15th, 2017

The Atlanta Braves announced their 2018 minor league coaching staffs today, which includes 20 staff members returning for the upcoming season.

The Gwinnett Stripers (AAA) will return its entire coaching staff next season with manager Damon Berryhill leading the club for the second consecutive season. Berryhill joined the organization last season after spending seven seasons, from 2009 to 2015, as a minor-league manager in the Los Angeles Dodgers' organization. Overall, Berryhill owns a career managerial record of 489-458 (.516) over nine seasons. Also returning to the Gwinnett club is pitching coach Reid Cornelius and hitting coach John Moses. Cornelius returns for his second season, while Moses returns for his fourth term with the team. Trainer Nick Jensen will work his first season as Gwinnett's trainer and his third season overall in the organization.

The Mississippi Braves (AA) will feature an entire new coaching staff in 2018. Manager Chris Maloney joins the organization after spending the last six seasons as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals' coaching staff. During his tenure with St. Louis, he spent time as a first base coach (2012 to 2015) and third base coach (2016 to June 2017). Maloney, who brings with him a wealth of experience, has won over 1,300 games at the minor league level. He spent his last five seasons with the Cardinals' farm system as the Memphis Redbirds (AAA) manager, leading his teams to winning records in four of those five seasons, a Pacific Coast League Championship Series appearances in 2010, and a PCL title in 2009. Also joining the Mississippi coaching staff is long-time pitching coach Dennis Lewallyn.  The 2018 season will be his 36th year as a coach in professional baseball, and his sixth in the Braves organization. Lewallyn joins Mississippi after serving in the same role with the organization's Advanced-A club at Florida last season. He spent his first four years in Atlanta's farm system as the Double-A pitching coach. Hitting coach Carlos Mendez, who will be in his 11th season as a coach in 2018, makes his coaching debut at the Double-A level after working the last four years in the same capacity for Florida. TJ Saunders returns to Mississippi's staff for the second consecutive season as its trainer.

The Florida Fire Frogs (Advanced A) will feature a new manager as Luis Salazar joins the club after skippering the Mississippi Braves for the last two seasons. The 2018 campaign will be Salazar's 15th appointment as a minor-league manager, including his eighth with the Braves organization. He owns an overall managerial record of 769-836 (.479) over 14 seasons. New to the Fire Frogs coaching staff is pitching coach Mike Maroth. Maroth, who pitched in parts of six major league seasons with Detroit and St. Louis, joined the organization in September of 2015 as the club's minor league pitching rehabilitation coordinator. The 2018 season will mark his fifth season overall as a minor league pitching coach. Also new to the Fire Frogs staff is hitting coach Rene Tosoni who will work his first season as a professional coach in 2018. The former outfielder played parts of seven seasons with the Minnesota Twins and Milwaukee Brewers organizations from 2007 to 2013, including making his major league debut during the 2011 season with Minnesota. Tosoni also spent parts of three seasons (2014 to 2016) playing in the Independent League. Trainer Dave Comeau returns to the Fire Frogs for his second season after spending the previous two seasons in the same role for the Danville (R) Braves.

The Rome Braves (A) will feature a new manager in 2018 as Ralph "Rocket" Wheeler takes the reigns for the club. Entering 2018, Wheeler will be in his 26th season overall as a minor league manager and his 16th in the Braves organization. The veteran manager owns a 1,366-1,510 (.475) managerial record, including a 796-902 (.469) mark with the Braves. He spent last season serving as a minor league on-field advisor for the Braves before taking over as manager of the Florida club on June 22. Returning to the Rome staff is pitching coach Dan Meyer and hitting coach Bobby Moore, who will serve their third and sixth seasons, respectively. Trainer Vic Scarpone joins the Rome club from the Danville Braves, where he spent the 2017 year, his first full season in the organization.

Barrett Kleinknecht takes the reigns as the new Danville Braves (Rookie) manager after serving his first professional managerial role with the Gulf Coast League Braves in 2017. Kleinknecht, who retired from his professional playing career following the 2016 spring training season, skippered the GCL Braves to a 31-28 (.525) mark and a second place finish in the GCL Northeast Division in his first season as a manager. Returning to the Danville staff is pitching coach Kanekoa Texeira and hitting coach Barbaro Garbey. Texeira joined Danville last season in his first year as a professional coach, while Garbey also worked his first role as a full-time coach in the organization in 2017.Drew Garner will work his second season in the organization as Danville's trainer after spending the 2017 season with the Gulf Coast League Braves.

Nestor Perez returns to lead the Gulf Coast League (Rookie) Braves after spending the 2017 season skippering the organization's Danville club. In his third season overall as a manager, Perez spent his inaugural year as the manager of the 2016 GCL Braves. Rick Albert,who has been a staple in the organization since 1972, returns to the GCL staff as their hitting coach for his fifth season. Eric Hrycko will work his first season in the organization as GCL's trainer.