The Royals will shake things up at Northwest Arkansas with a new staff, as they announced their 2019 minor league coaching staff today. Darryl Kennedy will manage the AA club this year, moving up from Wilmington, replacing Mike Rojas. Kennedy has managed all over the organization since 2007. Joining him will be pitching coach Doug Henry, hitting coach Abraham Nunez, and bench coach Nelson Liriano.
Brian Poldberg retuns to lead the Omaha Storm Chasers for the sixth consecutive season. He retains his staff from last year, with pitching coach Andy Hawkins and hitting coach Brian Buchanan both returning. Hawkins and Buchanan both have served as Major League coaches, with Hawkins serving as bullpen coach with the Rangers from 2008-2015 and Buchanan serving as assistant hitting coach with the Royals in 2017.
Scott Thorman won the South Atlantic League title last year with Lexington, and moves up to manage the Wilmington Blue Rocks this year. Former Royals first baseman Larry Sutton joins the Blue Rocks as hitting coach, coming over from the Pirates organization. Sutton had previously served in the Royals’ system as a hitting coach for the Dominican Summer League team. Steve Luebber will serve as pitching coach, spending his 14th year with the club.
Interesting move for the Royals to move Scott Thorman and Steve Luebber to Wilmington to work with their most talented group. Thorman is a fast riser within the org working from Burlington to Wilmington in just a couple years.— Clint Scoles (@ClintScoles) January 7, 2019
Brooks Conrad moves up from Burlington to manage the Lexington Legends. Hitting coach Jesus Azuaje, pitching coach Mitch Stetter, and bench coach Glenn Hubbard will assist him. Omar Ramirez returns to manage the Idaho Falls Chukars along with coach Damon Hollins. Longtime Omaha Storm Chasers pitcher Clayton Mortensen has hung up the cleats and will begin his career as a pitching coach with the Chukars.
Former Expos catcher Chris Widger joins the organization to manage the Burlington Royals after managing the Camden Riversharks in the independent Atlantic League. Fort Scott, Kansas native Andy LaRoche joins the organization as a hitting coach after a six-year big league career as an infielder. Carlos Martinez will serve as pitching coach.
The Arizona Summer League team will be led again by Tony Pena, Jr., with Mark Davis as pitching coach, Ramon Castro as hitting coach, and Willie Aikens and Julio Pimentel serving on the staff as well. Victor Baez returns as the field coordinator for the Dominican Summer League teams with Onil Joseph and Ramon Martinez managing the two clubs. Rafael Feliz, Jose Duran, Evaristo Lantigua, Wilson Betimet, Miguel Bernarnd, Quilvio Veras, Sergio de Luna, and Pedro Rosario will serve on the coaching staff.
Chino Cadahia, John Wathan, Rafael Belliard, Jeff Suppan, and Rusty Kuntz will be among the roving minor league coordinators and Mike Sweeney and Reggie Sanders return as special advisers in the front office. Former minor league pitcher Malcom Culver also joins the organization as an assistant to player development. You can read about all the staff positions here.