Braves make changes to 2018 minor league coaching staff


The Braves announced their 2018 minor league coaching staff Friday. Twenty coaches are returning, including all the Triple-A Gwinnett staff, while the lower levels received a makeover.

Stripers manager Damon Berryhill returns for his second season after spending seven with the Dodgers. He spoke highly of his first year back in the Braves organization

“We’ve had a young team all season and guys performed all year for us, improved,” Berryhill said after the team finished the season 71-71. “Our young players, most of them have gotten an opportunity to play in the big leagues, and that’s our goal down here: to get those guys prepared to get up there and get their opportunity. And I think myself and the staff have done a good job preparing those kids.” 

Hitting coach John Moses and pitching coach Reid Cornelius remain in the same capacities. Nick Jensen will take over as trainer.

Chris Maloney will manage Double-A Mississippi, with former manager Luiz Salazar taking over the Advanced-A Florida FireFrogs. Maloney spent the past six years with the St. Louis Cardinals as a first base coach (2012-15) and third base coach (2016-June 2017). 

He’s won over 1,300 games in his minor-league career, including a string of success with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds. His team won the Pacific Coast League in 2009. 

Dennis Lewallyn, after five seasons with the Braves organization, will be Mississippi’s pitching coach after holding the position with Florida in 2016. Lewallyn has coached for 36 years. 

Mississippi hitting coach Carlos Mendez also will jump from Florida to Mississippi. He served as FireFrogs hitting coach for the past four years. 

Salazar is 769-836 over 14 minor-league seasons, seven of which have been with the Braves. He’ll have new pitching and hitting coaches in Mike Maroth and Rene Tosoni, respectively.

Maroth has been with the Braves over the past two seasons as a minor league pitching rehabilitation coordinator. Tosoni is coaching for the first time after a seven-year major league career with the Twins and Brewers from 2007-13. Trainer Dave Comeau will serve his second season as trainer.

In Single-A Rome, Ralph “Rocket” Wheeler was named the new manager. He managed Florida from June 22 onward last season.

Wheeler, in his 26th season and 16th with the Braves, is 1,366-1,510 in his career. Pitching coach Dan Meyer and hitting coach Bobby Moore will stay on Wheeler’s staff. Vic Scarpone will be the trainer after spending last season with rookie-league Danville. 

Danville is receiving a new manager itself in Barrett Kleinknecht, who managed for the first time in the Gulf Coast League last season, leading the GCL Braves to a 31-28 record. Nestor Perez, who managed Danville a year ago, will take over the GCL Braves.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Atlanta Braves

Anticipation keeps growing: Acuna is Baseball America’s No. 1 prospect
Anticipation keeps growing: Acuna is Baseball America’s No. 1 prospect

  If it’s even possible at this point to further raise Braves Country’s already towering anticipation concerning Ronald Acuna, Baseball America did it Monday when the publication named the dynamic outfielder as the No. 1 prospect in the sport. He was ranked just ahead of celebrated Angels rookie Shohei Ohtani, the so-called &ldquo...
Watch: A tribute to Braves great Chipper Jones
Watch: A tribute to Braves great Chipper Jones

Braves great Chipper Jones will be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame Wednesday. It will be a slam dunk. Well, a home run at least.  It’s just a matter of how many votes the switch-hitting third baseman receives. Jones could finish with one of the highest voting percentages of all time. Chipper played 19 seasons for the Braves in...
A closer look at Braves trade target Christian Yelich
A closer look at Braves trade target Christian Yelich

The good news for Braves fans is that young Miami Marlins star outfielder Christian Yelich wants to be traded. The bad news is that the Braves once cut Yelich's brother. Christian Yelich is upset the Marlins are rebuilding and have traded away some of their best players. It would take a lot to acquire Yelich and at least 12 teams, including the Braves...
Chipper Q&A, Part 3: On Harper, Trout, Machado, Acuna, Jeter and NYC
Chipper Q&A, Part 3: On Harper, Trout, Machado, Acuna, Jeter and NYC

Chipper Jones became one of Atlanta’s most iconic athletes during a 19-year major league career spent entirely with the Braves, carving out a spot among the greatest all-around third basemen and most productive switch-hitters in baseball history. When the National Baseball Hall of Fame announces its 2018 class Jan. 24, Jones, an eight-time All-Star...
Braves trade for pitcher Shane Carle from Pirates
Braves trade for pitcher Shane Carle from Pirates

The Braves acquired right-handed pitcher Shane Carle from the Pirates in a trade Wednesday for a player to be named later or cash. The 26-year-old was designated for assignment twice in the past three weeks by the Rockies and Pirates. Carle made his major league debut with the Rockies in 2017, when he had a 6.75 ERA in three September relief appearances...
More Stories