Keister promoted, named P-Nats skipper

Former Hagerstown manager will be joined by Bravo, Rupp

By Potomac Nationals | December 20, 2013 6:02 PM ET

WOODBRIDGE, Va. -- The Washington Nationals announced Friday that Tripp Keister has been promoted from the Class A Hagerstown Suns to manager of the Potomac Nationals for the 2014 season. Nationals vice president of player personnel Bob Boone, assistant general manager and vice president of player development Doug Harris, and director of player Development Mark Scialabba made the joint announcement.

Joining Keister's 2014 Potomac coaching staff will be pitching coach Franklin Bravo and former P-Nats Manager Brian Rupp (2012), who will serve as hitting coach. Both Bravo and Rupp worked under Keister in 2013 on the Hagerstown staff.

Keister, 43, was promoted to lead the P-Nats from the same post with Hagerstown, a club he guided to the 2013 South Atlantic League Championship Series following an (80-57) regular season record.

Keister becomes the 26th manager in the history of the Potomac franchise and enters his third campaign inside the Washington Nationals Minor League system after spearheading the Gulf Coast League Nationals during the 2012 season.

Prior to his professional coaching experience, Keister served as head baseball coach and associate athletic director at Wesley College in Dover, Del. (NCAA Div. III) in 2006-11 where he earned a conference championship, a Conference Coach of the Year Award and a school-record 30 wins in 2007. Keister also previously made an assistant coaching stop at the University of South Carolina in 1996-98, and held the head coaching position at Delaware State University from 1999 to 2000 before assuming an amateur scouting post for the San Diego Padres.

Keister was selected in the 33rd round of the 1992 Draft by the New York Mets out of the University of Delaware where he was a standout outfielder.

In four Minor League seasons in the outfield, Keister collected a .403 on-base percentage courtesy of 223 walks and only 158 strikeouts in 341 games. The new P-Nats skipper played for the Class A Short-Season Pittsfield Mets (1992), the Class A Capital City Bombers (1993), the Class A Advanced St. Lucie Mets (1993-1995), and the Double-A Binghamton Mets (1995).

Keister inherits a Potomac Nationals club that set franchise records for wins (84) and winning percentage (.604) in 2013 en route to an appearance in the Carolina League's Mills Cup Championship Series.

Bravo, 34, a native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, will begin his 12th season inside the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals organization.

As a 17-year-old, Bravo debuted as a pitcher in the Minors with the Gulf Coast League Pirates in 1996 and went on to have a five-year Minor League career in which he earned a (17-20) overall record while fanning 271 batters in 341.0 innings pitched.

The right-handed hurler finished his MiLB playing career with the Class A Advanced Lynchburg Hillcats of the Carolina League in 2000.

Bravo's previous coaching assignments have included pitching mentor duties for the Dominican Summer League Expos (2003), Class A Short-Season Vermont Expos (2004-2005) which became the Vermont Lake Monsters (2006-2010), Class A Short-Season Auburn Doubledays (2011) and most recently Hagerstown (2012-2013).

Bravo oversaw a Suns pitching staff in 2013 that owned a 3.44 earned run average and held opposing hitters to an anemic .237 collective batting average.

In 2014, 10 members of Bravo's stable were promoted to Potomac under his tutelage.

Rupp, 42, former Nationals skipper, who directed the P-Nats to a (64-75) mark during the 2012 season, returns to Potomac to handle hitting instruction.

A Minor League Baseball coaching veteran who spent 12 seasons at the helm as a manager in the St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals and Washington farm systems, saw the Suns turn in a collective batting clip of .258 in 2013 which ranked second best in the South Atlantic League.

Rupp's coaching resume includes seven playoff appearances, three trips to a league final, and one league championship which came with the Class A Burlington Bees (Kansas City) in 2008.

Rupp was drafted by St. Louis in the 43rd round of the 1992 Draft and spent eight seasons in the Cardinals' organization as a player reaching as high as the Triple-A level. A career .295 MiLB hitter, Rupp was the Most Valuable Player and batting champion of the Rookie-level Arizona League in 1992 and famously beat out future New York Yankees shortstop, Derek Jeter for the South Atlantic League batting crown in 1993 for the Class A Savannah Cardinals after donning a .320 batting average on the season.

The entire Potomac Nationals coaching staff from the 2013 season including manager Brian Daubach, pitching coach Chris Michalak, and hitting coach Mark Harris have been promoted to serve in the same capacity with the Double-A Harrisburg Senators for the 2014 campaign.

The Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League play at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Va., and are the Class A Advanced affiliate of the Washington Nationals. P-Nats 2014 season tickets and mini plans are now on sale. Sponsorship opportunities for the 2014 season and beyond are available. Plan your corporate outing now for the 2014 season to see the future stars of the Washington Nationals at The Pfitz as the P-Nats offer discounted group rates and all-inclusive picnic options. Visit the P-Nats online at or call the Potomac Nationals Ticket Office at 703-590-2311 for more information!

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