Getting to Know the Mets 2017 Minor League Coaching Staffs

pedro lopez

You’d be hard-pressed to find a hardcore Mets fan who doesn’t know about Terry Collins, Kevin Long, and Dan Warthen. The manager and coaches are vital parts of a team’s success. However, there are also managers and coaches in the Mets minor league affiliated teams that many hardcore fans may not even know much about or know at all.

These managers and coaches help shape the way Major League players are today and likewise are vital for a team’s success.

Las Vegas 51s

Manager – Pedro Lopez

Pedro Lopez was named manager of the Las Vegas 51s for the 2017 season after Wally Backman was let go. Lopez has spent seven seasons in the Texas Rangers organization and nine seasons in the Mets organization as a manager and coach.

From 2008-2011 he jumped around as a coach and manager for the Brooklyn Cyclones, Savannah Sand Gnats, and St. Lucie Mets. For the last five years he served as the manager for the Binghamton Mets compling a 377-329 (.534) record. His overall record as a minor league manager is 809-740 (.522). He also played 13 years in the minors mainly as a catcher.

Coaches – Jack Voigt and Frank Viola

Jack Voigt and Frank Viola will be coming back as hitting coach and pitching coach, respectively. Voight has been the 51s hitting coach since 2015 and has been in the Mets farm system since 2006. Under his coaching, the franchise produced the top three hitters in the Pacific Coast League for the second time in franchise history.

Viola is entering his fourth year as pitching coach and his seventh season overall with the Mets organization. Viola spent 15 years in MLB including three with the Mets (1989-1991).

Binghamton Rumble Ponies

Luis Rojas – Manager

Luis Rojas joins the Binghamton Rumble Ponies in their first year with a new name. Rojas was promoted after Lopez, the all-time winningest manger in Double-A Binghamton franchise history, was promoted to Triple-A Las Vegas. Rojas was also promoted as he served as the St. Lucie Mets manager for the last two seasons. In that time, he complied a 142-131 record and clinched a 2016 playoff berth.

The 35-year-old began his time in the Mets farm system as a coach from 2007-2010. Afterwards he spent time as a manager for the Gulf Coast League Mets in 2011 and the Savannah Sand Gnats from 2012-2014. In 2013 he brought the Sand Gnats to a South Atlantic League Championship. The Dominican Republican native managed the Leones del Escogido of the Dominican Winter League this past year. He also coached the year prior and won the Dominican Winter League Championship.

Coaches – Luis Natera and Glenn Abbott

Both hitting coach Luis Natera and pitching coach Glenn Abbott will be returning for another season. Natera will be entering his 10th season in Binghamton and 26th overall in the Mets farm system. Last year under Natera, infielder Phillip Evans won the Eastern League batting title with a .335 batting average.

Abbott will be heading into his sixth year as a coach for Binghamton. Last year, eight of his former pitchers made their Major League debuts. The tall right-handed pitched in parts of 11 big league seasons from 1973-1984.

St. Lucie Mets

Manager – Chad Kreuter

With Rojas being promoted to Double-A, the Mets chose former major league catcher Chad Kreuter to take over as manager for St. Lucie.

Kreuter is completely new to the Mets farm system, but he is not completely new to managing. The 52-year-old managed the Advanced-A Modesto Nuts in the Rockies organization back in 2006. Aside from that stint, he also spent four years from 2007-2010 managing the University of Southern California Trojans. There he had a 111-117 record and also had the chance to manage Lucas Duda.

Playing-wise, he had a 16-year career in the Majors split among the Rangers, Dodgers, Tigers, White Sox, Angels, Royals, and Mariners.

Coaches – Valentino Pascucci and Marc Valdes

Valentino Pascucci and Marc Valdes are both entering their second seasons as the St. Lucie hitting and pitching coaches, respectively. Pascucci played 42 games in the Majors; ten of which were for the Mets in 2011. Valdes was the Marlins first-round pick in 1993 and pitched six seasons in the Majors.

Columbia Fireflies

Manager – Jose Leger

Jose Leger will be back for his third season with the Mets class-A level affiliate and his eighth overall in the Mets organization.

Leger, 34, began his managerial career as the skipper of the Dominican Summer League Mets in 2010 and 2011. In 2012, he moved his way up to the Kingsport Mets for three seasons. In 2015, he was named the manager of the then-Savannah Sand Gnats. He led that team to a franchise-best 84-53 record and earned the South Atlantic Manager of the Year award for his efforts. He remained manager as the team moved to Columbia, South Carolina in 2016.

Coaches Joel Fuentes and Jonathan Hurst

Fireflies players won’t be seeing many new faces in the coaching staff as both hitting coach Joel Fuentes and pitching coach Jonathan Hurst will also be coming back. Both coaches were on the team last year.

Fuentes is in his 11th season in the Mets farm system, while Hurst is in his 12th. Fuentes played in 129 minor league games and 171 independent league games as a middle infielder. Hurst pitched in seven Major League games for the Mets and ten overall.

Brooklyn Cyclones

Manager – Edgardo Alfonzo

Most Mets fans don’t need an introduction to Edgardo Alfonzo. Fonzie was named manager of the Cyclones after former manager Tom Gamboa retired.

While Fonzie doesn’t have a long coaching history compared to some of the other managers previously mentioned, he has had a big impact on the Mets organization as a player for eight years and 1086 games. Overall, during his career he hit 146 home runs, drove in 744 RBI, slashed .284/.357/.425/.782, and was good for 28.7 career WAR.

Coaches Sean Ratliff and Royce Ring

Some more former Mets round out the coaching staff. Sean Ratliff is entering his second year with the Cyclones as the hitting coach and his third overall in the Mets farm system. He was the Mets fourth-round pick in 2008, but his career ended in Double-A due to an injury by a foul ball.

Royce Ring is starting his first year as the Cyclones pitching coach and his second overall in the organization. He pitched for five years in MLB including two years (2005-2006) with the Mets.

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About John Jackson 224 Articles
John is a communication major (with a concentration in broadcasting/telecommunications) and a minor in English at Manhattan College. He aspires to make a career out of his passion for sports. John was formerly a production intern at The Dr. Oz Show and a newsroom intern at SNY. He is currently a student associate in the production and programming department of MSG Networks during his final semester. He has served as the sports editor for Manhattan College's newspaper (The Quadrangle), a managing editor for Last Word On Baseball, and an editor here at MetsMerized Online. He now serves as a senior writer for both The Quadrangle and MMO. You can follow John on Twitter @John97Jackson.