Detroit Tigers announce 2023 minor league coaches; Mike Hessman stays in organization

Detroit Free Press

After the 2022 season, the Detroit Tigers parted ways with hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh and assistant hitting coach Mike Hessman. When that happened, the Tigers offered to reassign Hessman to the minor-league coaching staff.

Hessman accepted the demotion.

The Tigers officially announced Monday the coaching staffs for their minor league affiliates ahead of the 2023 season. It’s the second staff under vice president of player development Ryan Garko.

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The five managers: Anthony Iapoce (Triple-A Toledo), Gabe Alvarez (Double-A Erie), Brayan Peña (High-A West Michigan), Andrew Graham (Low-A Lakeland) and Mike Alvarez (Florida Complex League).

The Tigers hired Iapoce earlier this offseason as the replacement for former Mud Hens manager Lloyd McClendon. Last season, the 49-year-old was the senior hitting coordinator for the Boston Red Sox.

Iapoce, who doesn’t have any managerial experience, served as an MLB hitting coach with the Texas Rangers (2016-18) and Chicago Cubs (2019-21). He worked for the Cubs earlier in his career, from 2013-15, as a special assistant to the general manager while overseeing the minor-league hitting department.

The Mud Hens also have Hessman — who holds the all-time record for minor league home runs — serving as the hitting coach, along with pitching coach Doug Bochtler, pitching strategist Ollie Kadey, bench coach Tony Cappuccilli, athletic trainer Jason Schwartzman and strength/conditioning coach Phil Hartt.

Kadey received a promotion from Double-A Erie.

Before joining the Tigers, Kadey worked as the analytics manager at Texas Baseball Ranch from 2015-19. For five years, he trained pitchers to develop command, secondary pitches and arm strength.

Ramon Santiago, who served as the Tigers’ third base coach last season, will work as a minor-league infield coordinator. Adam Melhuse, who joined the Tigers’ coaching staff from Triple-A Toledo in September and worked closely with 2020 No. 1 overall pick Spencer Torkelson, is expected to be a roving hitting coach.

Melhuse interviewed to be a full-time hitting coach for the Tigers but did not get the job. Instead, the Tigers hired Michael Brdar, Keith Beauregard and James Rowson from other organizations.

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At the Double-A level, hitting coach John Murrian returns for his second season alongside Alvarez. Pitching coach Juan Pimentel and bench coach Matt Malott have been promoted from Low-A Lakeland.

Under Peña at the High-A level, the Tigers have employed pitching coach Dan Ricabal, hitting coach Francisco Contreras and bench coach Tim Garland.

Last season, Ricabal was the pitching coach for Double-A Erie, Contreras was the hitting coach for Low-A Lakeland, and Garland was the development coach in the Florida Complex League.

That means Peña has a brand-new staff in West Michigan.

At the Low-A level, Graham’s staff features pitching coach Dean Stiles, hitting coach C.J. Wamsley, bench coach Rafael Gil, athletic trainer Erick Flores and strength/conditioning coach Dax Fiore.

Here’s a full list of the coaches for the Tigers’ minor league teams in 2023:

Triple-A Toledo

Manager: Anthony Iapoce.

Pitching coach: Doug Bochtler.

Hitting coach: Mike Hessman.

Bench coach: Tony Cappuccilli.

Pitching strategist: Ollie Kadey.

Athletic trainer: Jason Schwartzman.

Strength/conditioning: Phil Hartt.

Double-A Erie

Manager: Gabe Alvarez.

Pitching coach: Juan Pimentel.

Hitting coach: John Murrian.

Bench coach: Matt Malott.

Athletic trainer: Chris Vick.

Strength/conditioning: Donny Trapp.

High-A West Michigan

Manager: Brayan Peña.

Pitching coach: Dan Ricabal.

Hitting coach: Francisco Contreras.

Bench coach: Tim Garland.

Athletic trainer: Sean McFarland.

Strength/conditioning: Open position.

Low-A Lakeland

Manager: Andrew Graham.

Pitching coach: Dean Stiles.

Hitting coach: C.J. Wamsley.

Bench coach: Rafael Gil.

Athletic trainer: Erick Flores.

Strength/conditioning: Dax Fiore.

Florida Complex League

Manager: Mike Alvarez.

Pitching coach: Gabe Luckert.

Hitting coach: Nick Bredeson.

Bench coach: Salvador Paniagua.

Athletic trainer: Juan Peña.

Strength/conditioning: Tyler Gniadek.

Contact Evan Petzold at or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

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