KANSAS CITY -- The final piece to the Royals’ 2023 coaching staff was filled when the club promoted Mitch Stetter to be their new bullpen coach and the rest of first-year manager Matt Quatraro’s staff was finalized on Friday, the club announced.
Stetter, 41, has spent the last three seasons as the Royals’ manager of pitching performance and has been a pitching coach in the organization since 2014, first as a player/bullpen coach with Double-A Northwest Arkansas. When he formally retired from playing -- he was a big league reliever with the Brewers from 2007-11 -- he became the pitching coach for the Surprise Royals (rookie league) and then in Single-A Lexington.
In his role as the manager of pitching performance, Stetter had been tasked with bridging the gap between Royals Minor League pitchers and the research and development department, and he’s worked with nearly all the Royals’ homegrown pitchers now at the Major League level.
Several of those pitchers and Royals prospects have credited Stetter throughout their development.
Stetter’s experience with pitching and familiarity with the Royals’ pitching staff and organization made him a good fit for the bullpen coach opening; he’ll work closely with pitching coach Brian Sweeney, who is new to the organization. The Royals did conduct several interviews for the job with external candidates before landing on Stetter.
Sweeney, Stetter and assistant pitching coach Zach Bove -- whose hire became official Friday -- will make up the new pitching team the Royals have put in place to help their young pitching staff reach its potential, with an emphasis on data-driven game planning. Sweeney and Stetter will work closest with pitchers, while Bove will work more as a strategist, leaning heavily on analytics.
With the two pitching hires becoming official, the Royals finalized their coaching staff, and it includes several new faces:
Manager: Matt Quatraro
Bench coach: Paul Hoover (former Rays Major League field coordinator)
Senior director of hitting performance, Major League hitting coach: Alec Zumwalt (returning from ’22)
Assistant hitting coach: Keoni DeRenne (returning from ’22)
Pitching coach: Sweeney (former Guardians bullpen coach)
Director of Major League pitching strategy, assistant pitching coach: Bove (former Twins assistant pitching coordinator)
Bullpen coach: Stetter
Major League field coordinator/third base coach: Vance Wilson (returning from ’22)
Outfield, baserunning and bunting/first base coach: Damon Hollins (returning from ’22)
Infield coach: José Alguacil(former Nationals Minor League infield coordinator)
Major League coach: Miguel Garcia (returning from ’22)
The Royals kept their hitting team in place -- except for Mike Tosar, who joined White Sox manager Pedro Grifol in Chicago -- because of their success in developing the young core of Royals’ hitting prospects.
Wilson returns as the third base coach and adds field coordinator to his title, which will have him working closely with Quatraro and Hoover. Wilson was a candidate to fill the Royals’ managerial opening before they landed on Quatraro, and Wilson’s familiarity with Kansas City players was something Quatraro wanted to keep on his staff.
Former bullpen coach Larry Carter, who just finished his 25th season in the Royals organization and third as the bullpen coach, was not retained in that role, although he will get the opportunity to remain in the organization, according to people familiar with the situation.
Additionally, the Royals announced their support staff and their medical, strength and conditioning staff, which remains largely intact from 2022:
Bullpen catcher, pitching strategist: Parker Morin
Bullpen catcher, hitting strategist: Allan de San Miguel
Pitching strategist: Andy Ferguson
Rehab coach: Ryan Eigsti
Replay coordinator: Bill Duplissea
Director of Major League medical administration: Nick Kenney
Head athletic trainer: Kyle Turner
Assistant Major League athletic trainer: Chris DeLucia
Manuel tissue therapist/second assistant athletic trainer: Dave Iannicca
Major League rehab coordinator: Jeff Blum
Head Major League strength coach: Ryan Stoneberg
Major League strength coach/translator: Luis Perez
Director of sports nutrition: Erika Wincheski
Director of behavioral science, Major League mental performance: Melissa Lambert