There won’t be any more last-minute drives down from Syracuse to D.C. for minor leaguers who are called up from the Washington Nationals’ Triple-A affiliate, with the New York Mets now housing their top minor league prospects in upstate New York. Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo & Co. in the front office in D.C. reached a player development deal with the Fresno Grizzlies, shifting their top affiliate to the West Coast when the game of musical minor league chairs left that as the only viable option.
While that is a significant change, not much else will be all that different in the Nationals’ Minor League system in 2019.
In a press release today, the Nationals announced that the, “... coaching staffs of the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies, Double-A Harrisburg Senators, and Single-A Potomac Nationals will remain intact for the 2019 season.”
There will be some changes with the Nationals’ Single-A affiliates, however.
Mack Jenkins, who served as the Cincinnati Reds’ pitching coach from 2016-18, after he’d spent 32 seasons in the Reds’ organization, will join the Low-A Hagerstown Suns as a new pitching coach.
The New York/Penn League’s Auburn Doubledays will have a new manager in 2019 as well, with Ralph “Rocket” Wheeler joining the Nats’ organization, “... after 16 years as a manager in the Atlanta Braves chain.”
Wheeler replaces Jerad Head, who served as the manager in Auburn in 2018.
In addition, the following changes were announced in today’s press release:
“Washington also welcomes Ryan Grose as short-season Single-A Auburn’s strength and conditioning coach. Additional strength and conditioning coach moves include Gabe Torres moving to the Gulf Coast League Nationals, Shane Hill moving to Single-A Potomac and Will Lindholm moving to Single-A Hagerstown.”
Here is the full list of the Washington Nationals’ Minor League staff(s) for 2019: