DENVER -- In an innovative move to oversee player development practices at every level of the Minors, the Rockies' 2013 Minor League staff will include a development supervisor for each of the six Minor League affiliates.
The Rockies, who announced assignments Monday, have a development director hired for every team except for Triple-A Colorado Springs, which will be hired soon. Of those hired, four are veterans in the Rockies' system -- Tony Diaz at rookie-level Grand Junction, Ron Gideon at short-season Class A Tri-City, Marv Foley at Class A Asheville and Duane Espy at Double-A Tulsa. Another, Fred Nelson at Class A Modesto, spent 27 years working in the Astros' organization, including a stint as player development director.
The development directors will work with the manager, staffs and players to make sure that the Rockies' development philosophies are being carried out and communication and team building take place.
The way the Rockies operated in the past, there was a manager and coaching staff at each level, and a set of roving instructors with various responsibilities -- pitching, infield, outfield, catching and baserunning. The Rockies hope the new structure brings more consistent instruction from level to level.
"Some of this remains to be seen," Rockies player development director Jeff Bridich said. "What we've done is take responsibilities that used to be done by roving-type coordinators and made them fully dedicated at a certain level. It's another set of hands, another set of eyes. Then there's the team-building aspect that will be a big part of the job."
Bridich said the club is still interviewing candidates at Colorado Springs.
The Rockies still will have roving instructors, but the development director will always be present to evaluate not only the players but the coaching methods. The experience of each of the development directors, who will travel with each club, also allows him to instruct players if needed.
Diaz had managed Rockies clubs at the rookie level since 2007. Gideon was field coordinator for the entire farm system last season. Espy managed Tulsa the last two seasons. Foley was Minor League catching coordinator last season. Espy and Foley each also have worked at the Major League level with the Rockies.
The Rockies also officially announced all of their managing and coaching positions on Monday.
At Colorado Springs, the Rockies had previously announced that former Colorado first-base coach Glenallen Hill would be manager, and Dave Hajek, former roving infield coordinator, would be a coach. Dave Schuler moves up from Tulsa to become pitching coach.
The new Tulsa manager is Kevin Riggs, who coached there last season. Pitching coach Darryl Scott moves up from Modesto. Darin Everson, who managed the Washington Wild Things of the independent Frontier League the last two years and had spent four years working in the Marlins' system, becomes a coach at Tulsa.
Lenn Sakata returns as manager at Modesto, after leading the team to the California League playoffs last year. Jon Stone returns as a coach, and pitching coach Dave Burba moves up from Tri-City.
Fred Ocasio, who managed Tri-City last year, will manage Asheville this year. Pitching coach Joey Eischen and hitting coach Mike Devereaux return.
Drew Saylor, coach at Grand Junction last year, will manage at Tri-City. Frank Gonzalez, who played collegiately at Colorado State, spent eight years in pro ball mostly with the Tigers' organization and spent the last four years as head coach at Fort Collins (Colo.) High School, will be the Tri-City pitching coach. Warren Schaeffer, who spent the last six years as a player in the Rockies' system, will begin his coaching career at Tri-City.
Anthony Sanders, who coached at Tri-City last season, will manage Grand Junction. Ryan Kibler will return as pitching coach. Another coach will be Lee Stevens, who played eight years in the Majors with the Angels, Rangers, Expos and Indians, and has been the varsity baseball coach at Highlands Ranch (Colo.) High School the last five years and a hitting instructor at Slammers Baseball facility in Centennial, Colo.
The Rockies also have hired Andy McKay as the peak performance coordinator, a title previously called mental skills coach and performance enhancement coach. McKay spent the last 13 years as head baseball coach at Sacramento City College, and has coached in the Cape Cod and Northwoods summer leagues.
In addition to McKay, coordinators are Doug Linton (head pitching coordinator), Bob Apodaca (assistant pitching coordinator/assistant to the general manager), Mark Strittmatter (catching), Scott Murayama (head rehabilitation coordinator), Andy Stover (Tri-City trainer and assistant rehabilitation coordinator), Greg Bauer (strength and conditioning coordinator), Josh Rosenthal (cultural education coordinator), Scott Alves (video coordinator), Jerry Bass (equipment coordinator) and Butch Hughes (part-time pitching coach).
Also, the team hired full-time strength and coordinator trainers at Colorado Springs (Mike Jasperson) and Tulsa (Brian Buck).
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less