Giants add eight to Major League coaching staff

December 11th, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Giants announced today that they have hired eight coaches to manager Gabe Kapler’s coaching staff. Joining the Giants staff in 2020 are Craig Albernaz (Bullpen/Catching Coach), Andrew Bailey (Pitching Coach), Brian Bannister (Pitching Director), Kai Correa (Bench Coach, Infield/Baserunning Instructor), Donnie Ecker (Major League Hitting Coach), Ethan Katz (Assistant Pitching Coach), Dustin Lind (Director of Hitting/Major League Assistant Hitting Coach) and Justin Viele (Major League Hitting Coach). Also, it was announced earlier that Ron Wotus will return for his 23rd year on the Major League coaching staff and his third season as the 3rd Base Coach. 

“These staff additions bring together a group of energetic, innovative and bright minds to our organization,” said Kapler. “I’m excited about the ability of this group to connect with all of our players, front office and the broader Giants Community, and the diverse set of ideas and strengths they bring should only help the team grow this season.”

Albernaz, 37, comes to the Giants after serving as one of the Rays minor league field coordinators in 2019. In 2018, Albernaz led Class A Bowling Green to a Midwest League championship after the club won a minor-league best 90 games in a campaign that earned him Midwest League Manager of the Year honors. In 2017, he managed short-season Hudson Valley to a New York-Penn League championship. His coaching career began in 2015 when he served as a coach with rookie-level Princeton in 2015 before serving in the same capacity with Hudson Valley in 2016.

As a player, Albernaz spent eight of his nine minor league seasons in the Rays organization as a catcher, reaching as high as triple-a Durham. He spent one season in the Tigers organization (2015) before moving to the coaching ranks. Over his nine minor league seasons, he played in 371 career games and threw out 44 percent of would-be basestealers (145-of-329).

Bailey, 35, joins the Giants as the pitching coach in 2020 after spending the past two seasons working on the Los Angeles Angels Major League coaching staff. In 2019, Bailey served as the club’s bullpen coach after spending 2018 as a coaching assistant and video replay coordinator.

As a player, Bailey was a two-time All-Star (2009 and 2010) and the 2009 A.L. Rookie of the Year while pitching for the Oakland Athletics. Over eight Major League seasons between Oakland (2009-2011), Boston (2012-2013), New York-AL (2015), Philadelphia (2016) and Los Angeles-AL (2016-2017), Bailey was 16-14 with a 3.12 ERA and 95 saves in 265 career relief appearances.

Bannister, 38, joins the Giants after spending the last five seasons working in the Boston Red Sox organization. Since July 5, 2016, Bannister served as the team’s assistant pitching coach while also serving a dual role as the club’s Vice President, Pitching Development and Assistant Pitching Coach since November 3, 2016. In the time Bannister was a part of the Major League coaching staff, the Red Sox pitching staff ranked among the top third of American League staffs in ERA (3.98, fifth), SO/9ip (9.56, fourth), strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.02, fourth) and opponent’s OPS (.717, fifth).

Bannister originally was hired by Boston as a professional scout and analyst in January 2015 before being named the Director of Pitching Analysis and Development on September 9, 2015. As a player, Bannister went 37-50 with a 5.08 ERA across five Major League seasons between New York-NL (2006) and Kansas City (2007-2010). In 2007, he finished third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting behind Dustin Pedroia and Delmon Young.

Correa, 31, joins his first Major League coaching staff as the Giants bench coach and infield/baserunning instructor after spending the last two seasons working in the Cleveland Indians organization. In 2019, Correa was the minor league short-season defensive coordinator after serving as the rookie-level AZL Indians infield coach in 2018. Prior to working in Cleveland, Correa worked in the collegiate ranks with the University of Puget Sound (2011-2014) and the University of Northern Colorado (2015-2017). As a player, Correa was an all-conference infielder at Waiakea High School in Hilo, HI before playing collegiately at Puget Sound.

Ecker, 33, joins his second Major League coaching staff with his role as the club’s Major League hitting coach as he returns to the Bay Area. A Los Altos High School alum as a player and a coach, Ecker spent the 2019 campaign as the Reds assistant hitting coach on David Bell’s coaching staff in Cincinnati. Prior to the Reds, Ecker spent 2018 as the hitting coach in triple-A Salt Lake in the Angels organization. That season, the Bees led the PCL in batting average (.290), runs scored (824), home runs (173), RBI (783), slugging percentage (.480) and OPS (.841) while finishing second among PCL teams in doubles (291) and OBP (.361).

His coaching career began at Los Altos High School where he was an assistant coach from 2011-2012 and the head coach of the varsity squad from 2013-2014. He worked in the Cardinals system as a hitting coach from 2015-2017 with stops at Class A Advanced Palm Beach (2015-2016) and Class A Peoria (2017). As a player, Ecker starred as an infielder and quarterback at Los Altos High before eventually being drafted in 22nd round of the 2007 draft by Texas out of Lewis-Clark State College. Prior to his junior season at Lewis-Clark, he spent the 2006 season at Santa Clara University. He played two seasons in the Rangers system before playing two years of Independent ball.

Katz, 36, embarks on his second season in the Giants organization and his first season on a Major League coaching staff in his role of assistant pitching coach. In 2019, he served as the Giants assistant pitching coordinator in the minor leagues. Prior to his time in San Francisco, Katz worked as a pitching coach in the Angels minor league system (2013-2015) and the Mariners organization (2015-2018). Prior to his work in professional baseball, Katz was a pitching coach at Harvard-Westlake (CA) High School and helped instruct current Major Leaguers Lucas Giolito, Max Fried and Jack Flaherty.

On the field, Katz was drafted twice, eventually signing with Colorado after being taken in the 26th round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft out of Sacramento State. He pitched in the minors with Colorado for four seasons (2005-2008), compiling a 13-7 mark with a 2.79 ERA in 102 games (eight starts).

Lind, 31, spent the last two seasons in the Seattle Mariners organization and most recently served as their director of hitting development and strategies on the Major League coaching staff. In that role, he worked with hitters, hitting coaches and analysts at all levels of the Mariners organization (Majors and minors) to optimize hitting development and performance. He joined Seattle in 2018 as the Mariners minor league quality assurance coach. From 2014-2017, he worked as an independent hitting consultant working with Major and minor league players.

As a player, he attended Montana State University-Billings before injuries ended his playing career. He transferred to Idaho State University where he graduated in 2014 with a degree in exercise science. He earned his doctorate in physical therapy from the University of Montana in 2017.

Viele, 29, joins his first Major League coaching staff with his appointment as the Giants Major League hitting coach on Kapler’s staff. He spent the last three seasons as a hitting coach in the Dodgers minor league system and was slated to be the team’s hitting coordinator this year. Last season with Class A Great Lakes of the Midwest League, the Loons led the 16-team Midwest League in home runs (113), RBI (638), walks (597), runs scored (712), on-base percentage (.339) and OPS (.730) while finishing second in doubles and slugging percentage. The Loons’ 712 runs scored were 71 runs more than the club with the second-most runs in the circuit.

His other coaching stops with the Dodgers included Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga (2018) and advanced rookie Ogden (2017). In 2015, he was a coach for Class A Advanced Frederick in the Orioles system before returning to his alma mater, Santa Clara University, as an assistant coach for the 2016 season. As a player, Viele was a four-year starter at shortstop for Santa Clara before being drafted in the 37th round by the Orioles in 2013. He played two minor league seasons as an infielder in the Orioles system (2013-2014) before he began coaching with Frederick in 2015.