Tigers finalize 2021 player-development admin, coaching staffs
Detroit — David Littlefield, Tigers vice president of player development, was asked Tuesday if the potential delay in the start of minor-league camp would impact staffing at big-league camp.
"Yes, yes, yes and yes," he said.
Although commissioner Rob Manfred has told teams to prepare to start major-league spring training on time next month, nothing has been solidified for minor-league camp.
"All of us are trying to get everything together and figure out exactly what's going to take place," Littlefield said in a Zoom call. "We're not 100% sure. There's been a lot of discussion on when the minor leagues below Triple-A will start.
"We just have to be prepared when we finally do get some real details as to how it's going to be rolled out."
Toward that end, the Tigers announced a flurry of on-field and player-development staff assignments Tuesday, including the hiring of two former teammates in Detroit — Doug Bochtler, who pitched for the Tigers in 1998, as their new pitching coach at Triple-A Toledo, and Kimera Bartee (1996-99) as the organization's roving outfield and baserunning instructor.
The managers at the top four affiliates — Tom Prince at Triple-A Toledo, Arnie Beyeler at Double-A Erie, Brayan Pena High-A West Michigan and Andrew Graham at Low-A Lakeland — remain unchanged.
Littlefield and general manager Al Avila opted to keep the staffs mostly in place at West Michigan and Lakeland, even though the two clubs swapped organizational rungs — the Whitecaps to High-A and the Flying Tigers to Low-A.
"It was something we had to consider for sure, with West Michigan moving to High-A," Littlefield said. "But we've got a versatile staff and we have confidence in a lot of people. We feel good about how we set it up."
The only significant change in staffs between West Michigan and Lakeland was a swap of hitting coaches — Bill Springman to West Michigan and John Murrian to Lakeland.
"As A-ball goes, in both cases, it's very much oriented toward development," Littlefield said. "We talk about the continuity and consistency of philosophy and fundamentals from Detroit all the way down through the system. That's where those things get implemented.
"Both of those guys (Pena and Graham) are strong leaders and they do an excellent job of not only leading the staff and leading the players, but they are quality representatives for the Tigers in those communities."
Bochtler, who spent the last three seasons as the bullpen coach with the Padres, replaces Juan Nieves in Toledo. Nieves is now the assistant pitching coach under new manager AJ Hinch in Detroit.
"I know of Doug, though I don't know him personally," Littlefield said. "AJ (Hinch, Tigers manager) worked with him in San Diego. He's been a Tiger as a player and was familiar with a bunch of people in our organization, including (roving pitching coordinator) A.J. Sager."
Bartee, who was a roving instructor with the Pirates and Phillies, replaces long-time Tigers' instructor Gene Roof, who has retired. Bartee received a firm recommendation from Hall-of-Famer Alan Trammell.
"This was a very important hire because we had a guy in Gene Roof who was here for 35 years and was an incredible staff member," Littlefield said. "We spent some time looking around, but when you have Major League experience, it's a huge asset.
"And a bunch of people on our staff knew hi and had some real nice things to say. We are very fortunate to be able to work that out."
Carlos Bohorquez is the new pitching coach at Lakeland. Bohorquez, who coached at now-unaffiliated Norwich (Connecticut) last season, replaces Jorge Cordova, who was promoted to assistant pitching coordinator.
At the major-league level, the Tigers have promoted Steve Chase to strength and conditioning coach, replacing Chris Walter. Chase has been in the Tigers’ player development system for 16 years, the last six as the minor-league strength and conditioning coordinator.
Here is the complete assignment list:
Dave Littlefield — vice president, player development
Kenny Graham — director, player development
Dan Lunetta — director, minor league operations
Cheryl Evans — director, minor league and scouting administration
David Allende — coordinator, player development
Jim McKew — coordinator, player development
Sharon Lockwood — international player programs coordinator
Cristian Crespo — minor league video coordinator
Alex Gonzalez — minor league video coordinator
Jordan Wergiles — minor league analytics coordinator
Wilfredo Crespo — administrator, Dominican Academy
Jimmy Ortiz — administrator, Dominican Academy
Patrick Saenz — minor league clubhouse manager
Pete Mancuso — assistant minor league clubhouse manager
Training, strength/conditioning, performance science
Corey Tremble — minor league medical coordinator
Manny Peña — assistant minor league medical coordinator
Duncan Evans — physical therapist
Francisco Rivas — minor league strength and conditioning coordinator
Georgia Giblin — director, performance science
Dr. Spencer Wood — performance and mental skills coach
Brian Peterson — performance enhancement instructor
Brian Taggett — Latin American performance coach
Dave Owen — field coordinator
Rafael Martinez — director, Latin American player development
Dan Hubbs — director, pitching development and strategy
AJ Sager — pitching coordinator
Jorge Cordova — assistant pitching coordinator
Jeff Branson — hitting coordinator
Joel McKeithan — hitting coordinator
Francisco Contreras — Latin American hitting coordinator
Joe DePastino — catching coordinator
José Valentín — infield coordinator
Kimera Bartee — outfield/baserunning coordinator
Tom Prince — manager
Doug Bochtler — pitching coach
Mike Hessman — hitting coach
CJ Wamsley — developmental coach
Jason Schwartzman — athletic trainer
Dan Morrison — strength and conditioning coach
Arnie Beyeler — manager
Mark Johnson — pitching coach
Adam Melhuse — hitting coach
Tony Smith — developmental coach
Chris Vick — athletic trainer
Phil Hartt — strength and conditioning coach
Single-A West Michigan
Brayan Peña — manager
Willie Blair — pitching coach
Bill Springman — hitting coach
Kevin Guthrie — developmental coach
Cody Derby — athletic trainer
Ryan Maedel — strength and conditioning coach
Andrew Graham — manager
Carlos Bohorquez — pitching coach
John Murrian — hitting coach
Ollie Kadey — developmental coach
Sean McFarland — athletic trainer
Dax Fiore — strength and conditioning coach
Ryan Minor — manager
Mike Alvarez — pitching coach
Tim Garland — hitting coach
Erick Flores — athletic trainer
Gary Cathcart — manager
Santiago Garrido — pitching coach
Rafael Gil — hitting coach
Juan Peña — athletic trainer
Andres Rodriguez — strength and conditioning coach
Ramon Zapata — manager
Willians Moreno — pitching coach
Jose Ovalles — hitting coach
Sandy Acevedo — outfield coach
Ivan Contreras — infield/baserunning coach
Gabe Garcia — athletic trainer
Franklin Galvez — strength and conditioning coach
Marco Yepez — manager
Luis Marte — pitching coach
Luis Mateo — hitting coach
Kely Ramos — catching coach
Carmelo Jamie — infield/baserunning coach
Allan Chase — athletic trainer
Luis Rodriguez — strength and conditioning coach
Rafael Suero — strength and conditioning coach
Additional DSL instructors
Jose Cabrera — assistant pitching coach
Soilo Perdomo — coach