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

Braves reliever Ravin makes no excuses for 12th-inning mistake
Braves reliever Ravin makes no excuses for 12th-inning mistake

  Josh Ravin was activated from the 10-day disabled list earlier Friday and hadn’t pitched in a major league game since March 31, but the big reliever rejected that as an excuse for what happened in the final inning of a 5-3, 12-inning loss to the Mets Friday at SunTrust Park. Ravin hit Mets reliever Robert Gsellman with a pitch to start...
Braves quotes after 12-inning loss to Mets
Braves quotes after 12-inning loss to Mets

The Braves got a first-inning homer from Ozzie Albies off Noah Syndergaard but mustered just two runs in the next 11 innings and lost 5-3 to the National League East-leading Mets at SunTrust Park. “Average. I didn’t have everything at all times, but I did go out and make some pitches, give us a chance to win.” “With everything...
Analytics have helped Braves improve their defense
Analytics have helped Braves improve their defense

Soon after Alex Anthopoulos was hired away from the Dodgers to be the new Braves general manager in November, he brought Alex Tamin from the Dodgers to oversee an analytics department that would be significantly larger than the Braves ever used before. A department operating with a bigger budget and producing much more information that would be supplied...
Sims optioned to Gwinnett, Ravin activated from DL
Sims optioned to Gwinnett, Ravin activated from DL

The Braves activated reliever Josh Ravin from the 10-day disabled list and optioned Lucas Sims back to Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday as the bullpen shuffle continued. The move came one day after Sims faced six Mets batters in the seventh inning of his season debut and recorded one out, allowing two hits, three runs and three walks, including consecutive...
5 things about Braves’ start after Thursday’s win over Mets
5 things about Braves’ start after Thursday’s win over Mets

Five things about the Braves after their 12-4 rout of the division-leading New York Mets on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series at SunTrust Park: 1. The Braves lead the majors with 70 runs in 10 home games. They have a National League-best 104 runs in 18 games overall, the second Braves team in the Atlanta era to reach 100 runs in the...
More Stories