Tigers finalize 2021 player-development admin, coaching staffs

Detroit News

Chris McCosky
| The Detroit News

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.”

More: Tigers pitchers, including Justin Verlander, accused of doctoring baseballs ‘for years’

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

On-field coordinators

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

Triple-A Toledo 

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

Double-A Erie 

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

Single-A Lakeland 

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

Complex League

Ryan Minor — manager

Mike Alvarez — pitching coach

Tim Garland — hitting coach

Erick Flores — athletic trainer

Complex League

Gary Cathcart — manager

Santiago Garrido — pitching coach

Rafael Gil — hitting coach

Juan Peña — athletic trainer

Andres Rodriguez — strength and conditioning coach

DSL Tigers1

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

DSL Tigers2 

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


Twitter: @cmccosky

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