The Trenton Thunder and Scranton/Wilkes Barre Railriders have finalized their coaching staffs for the coming season, making some changes on the bench for the Yankees Double-A and Triple-A affiliates.
The biggest change coming in Trenton is the arrival of Al Pedrique, who will take over as manager from Tony Franklin, who will serve as a roving evaluator this season. Pedrique most recently managed the High-A Tampa Yankees in 2014 and has been in the Yankees organization since 2013. Pedrique does have some past experience as a major league coach, serving as the Astros bench coach from 2010-2012 and the Dodgers third base coach in 2003 and 2004. Rounding out Trenton's staff are new pitching coach Jose Rosado, new hitting coach P.J. Pilittere, and new defensive coach Michel Hernandez. Lee Meyer will return as athletic trainer and Orlando Crance will once again be the strength and conditioning coach. Almost all of these coaches have been in the Yankees system for at least three seasons. Pilitere was once a catching prospect in the Yankees organization between 2004 and 2011 before retiring to start his career as a successful hitting coach.
In Scranton, pitching coach Scott Aldred, trainer Darren London, strength and conditioning coach Lee Tressel, and long-time manager Dave Miley all return to their respective roles. This will be Miley's ninth season as Scranton's manager, where he's had quite a bit of success - he was named Manager of the Year across all of minor league baseball back in 2012 by Baseball America. The biggest additions to the staff come in the forms of Marcus Thames and Justin Tordi. Thames, who played two seasons for the Yankees during his ten-year career in the big leagues, will take over as Scranton's hitting coach. He was previously rumored to have been named the assistant hitting coach of the big league team, even before a hitting coach was named, but as we now know, Jeff Pentland and Alan Cockrell got the major league call this year. He'll have a chance to work with Rob Refsnyder and Tyler Austin, who have both sung his praises. Tordi takes over as defensive coach, and while he never reached the majors, his minor league experience all over the field (he played first, second, third, and short while also occasionally catching and pitching) should help him bring a unique defensive persepective to Scranton.
The Yankees have shown that they are loyal to their coaching staff when they produce results. Miley, Aldred, Franklin Pedrique, Thames, and Pilitere have all established themselves as effective teachers at the minor league level. If the system continues to hoard names like these, it's bound to benefit the prospects in some way. When players go out of their way to praise their coaches, like they have with Thames and Pilitere, you know the system is doing something right. Hopefully we'll see the results on the field.