MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins announced their Minor League coaching staffs for the 2021 season on Tuesday, highlighted by the return of a Gardenhire to a managerial post in the Twin Cities, with Toby Gardenhire -- son of longtime Twins manager Ron -- assuming the reins for the new Triple-A affiliate in St. Paul.
Gardenhire will reprise his role as Triple-A manager after he was elevated to the post for the canceled 2020 season, while Ramon Borrego will also return as Double-A manager for the new Wichita affiliate. Former Twins player Brian Dinkelman will still be the manager in Cedar Rapids -- now the Class A Advanced affiliate -- and Aaron Sutton will again be lined up to make his debut as a professional manager with Class A Fort Myers.
Takashi Miyoshi will return as manager of the Rookie-level GCL Twins, while Seth Feldman will continue to manage the organization's affiliate in the Dominican Summer League. All six managers were part of the organization in 2020.
The Twins' continued focus on targeted player development remains clear in several ways. For the second consecutive year, all six affiliates will carry two pitching coaches, including one who is bilingual in English and Spanish. Several of the coaches at the lower-level affiliates recently worked with young athletes in the collegiate ranks and arrived in the Twins' recent hiring spree in that space over the past two years, including Sutton, who was most recently head coach at Montana State University.
This should be a particularly important year for Gardenhire's seven-man staff at St. Paul, which will have the opportunity to work closely with the front office and Rocco Baldelli's staff in Minneapolis due to the geographical proximity between the Saints and Twins. Gardenhire, hitting coach Matt Borgschulte and pitching coaches Mike McCarthy and Cibney Bello had all been named to those roles last year and will be joined by infield coach Tyler Smarslok.
The Triple-A staff's role will be all the more important, considering the laundry list of top talent likely to pass through CHS Field in 2021, which likely includes the top five prospects in the organization, per MLB Pipeline: shortstop Royce Lewis, outfielder Alex Kirilloff, outfielder Trevor Larnach and right-handers Jordan Balazovic and Jhoan Duran.
It's worth noting that Bello previously had a prominent role in helping former top pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol transition to the Majors, and he even remained in Minneapolis with the young right-hander throughout his September callup in 2019.
That group filled with familiar faces will also have consistent leadership, with Alex Hassan and Drew MacPhail returning as director and assistant director of player development, respectively, and the returns of coordinators Kevin Morgan (field), Donegal Fergus (hitting), Billy Boyer (infield), Mike Quade (outfield) and Micheal Thomas (catching). Zach Bove was elevated from special projects coordinator to pitching coordinator after Pete Maki was promoted to the Major League staff.