The Royals announced their minor league coaching staffs this week, with Mike Jirschele returning to helm the Omaha Storm Chasers for his 33rd year in the organization. Jirschele took over in Omaha last year for his third stint with the team, having previously managed them from 1995-97 and from 2003-13.
Returning to Jirschele’s staff this year are pitching coach Dane Johnson, hitting coach Bijan Rademacher, and assistant hitting coach David Noworyta. He will also be supported by new assistant pitching coach David Lundquist, who was the bullpen coach for the Philadelphia Phillies last year, and assistant coach Tripp Keister, who comes over from the Nationals organization.
Tommy Shields returns for his second season of managing the Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Returning to his staff are pitching coach Larry Carter and hitting coach Adam LaRoche, with Chris Nelson serving as assistant hitting coach after spending last year on Omaha’s staff. The Royals hired Sam Eades from Tread Athletics to serve as assistant pitching coach, and Kevin Kuntz, son of former Royals coach Rusty Kuntz, joins the team as an assistant coach after spending last year in Quad Cities.
Brooks Conrad will manage the High-A Quad Cities River Bandits for a third consecutive season with pitching coach Derrick Lewis and hitting coach Ryan Powers returning. Taylor Bloye transitions from player to assistant pitching coach, and Chris Corbett joins the organization as an assistant hitting coach after previously serving as a coach at Randolph Macon College and a pitcher in the Giants organization.
Jesus Azuaje takes over the Low-A Columbia Fireflies, with last year’s manager Tony Peña Jr. moving to the minor league coordination staff. Returning are John Habyan as pitching coach and Ari Adut at hitting coach with former Royals farmhand and University of Kansas pitcher Sam Freeman joining the organization in his first year as an assistant pitching coach. Kyle MacKinnon also joins the organization as an assistant hitting coach after coaching at local McPherson College and spending last year as an apprentice coach in the Astros organization.
Larry Sutton rejoins the Royals organization where he once played and served as a minor league coach. He will manage the Royals club in the Arizona Summer Complex after spending last year managing the Lotte Giants in Korea. Returning to the Arizona staff are bench coach Miguel Bernard, pitching coaches Julio Pimentel and Jesús Delgado, and hitting coaches Ramon Castro and Alejandro Gomez. Joel Rivera comes up from the Dominican team to serve as an assistant hitting coach and Ken Knutson joins the team as a rehab pitching coach after previously working in the Indians organization and as a coach for Arizona State University.
The Royals will have two Dominican Summer League teams with Ramón Martínez and Sergio De Luna at the helm. José Veras and Christopher Marte will serve as pitching coaches, with Wilson Betemit Sr. and Fernando Martínez as hitting coaches. Quilvio Veras Sr. and Onil Joseph will serve as bench coaches with Rosell Herrera and Jose Atencio serving as assistant coaches.
The Royals also announced their minor league staff and coordinators, headed by Director of Player Development Mitch Maier. Chino Cadahia, Rusty Kuntz, and Rafael Belliard continue to serve as special assistants with Paul Gibson overseeing pitching development and Drew Saylor overseeing hitter development.