Following their most successful season in the past six years, the Jupiter Hammerheads will head into the 2019 season with their coaching staff looking much different. The staff is very diverse with new coaches that have spent time with other Marlins' affiliates, others who are new to the organization altogether, and some familiar faces returning to Jupiter for another season.
Jupiter Hammerheads General Manager Jamie Toole is elated about the upcoming season. "We're thrilled with the energy around the Marlins organization and the coaches and players that will make their way through Juptier in 2019. We can't wait for the All-Star summer coming to Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium."
The 2019 Jupiter Hammerheads will be led by Manager Todd Pratt who is entering his first season with Jupiter. The 14-year MLB veteran previously was the manager with the Marlins' former Class-A affiliate Greensboro Grasshoppers for the 2017 & 2018 seasons. In his first season at the helm of Greensboro in 2017, he led the Grasshoppers to the South Atlantic League playoffs following a 75-61 record. Prior to joining the Marlins' organization, Pratt was the head coach at West Georgia Tech from 2010-2016. When he settles in with the Hammerheads this upcoming season, Pratt will be re-united with many of the players he coached in Greensboro making it an easier adjustment for both him and the players. The most common destination following a promotion from Class-A Greensboro was Advanced-A Jupiter during the 2018 season.
Originally a 6th round pick by the Boston Red Sox in the 1985 MLB Draft, Pratt made his Major League debut with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1992. The catcher spent eight years in Philly, five in New York with the Mets, and one season each with the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs. He played a total of 662 MLB games hitting .251 with a .344 on-base-percentage. He appeared in the 1993, 1999 and 2000 MLB playoffs. Pratt reached the World Series twice, with the Phillies in 1993 and as a member of the Mets in 2000.
Pitching Coach Reid Cornelius joins Jupiter following a one-year stint as the pitching coach with the Braves' Triple-A affiliate Gwinnett Stripers. The former Marlins pitcher served as Miami's bullpen coach from 2010-2016. This will be Cornelius' second stint as the Hammerheads' pitching coach, a role he had from 2004 to 2008. He's also served as the pitching coach in 2003 with the, then Marlins' Double-A affiliate Carolina Mudcats, and in 2009 with Double-A Jacksonville. Cornelius' pitching staff in Gwinnett ranked second in the International League in shutouts, fourth in strikeouts, and surrendered the second fewest home runs.
After being selected in the 11th round of the MLB Draft by the Montreal Expos, Cornelius spent three years in the majors with three different teams. After five years in the Minor League, the Alabama native made his MLB debut in 1995. He played for both the Expos and Mets that season. He would make it back to the big leagues with the Marlins in 1999 and 2000. In total, Cornelius threw 210 innings in a Major League uniform and recorded eight wins.
Hitting Coach Kevin Witt will join his third Marlins' affiliated team since joining the organization in 2017. In his first season coaching, Witt spent time as the hitting with Triple-A New Orleans before coaching in Double-A Jacksonville for the 2018 season. Before his time with the Marlins, Witt was the Director of Player Development at Marucci Elite Houston.
Witt was the Toronto Blue Jays' first round selection in the 1994 MLB Draft. The new Hammerheads' hitting coach made his MLB debut in 1998 and played a total of 146 games from 1998 through 2006 with the Blue Jays, Padres, Tigers, and Rays. He had a very successful Minor League career hitting .289 with 30 home runs with Double-A Knoxville in 1997 and followed that the following year by hitting .271 with 23 home runs which earned himself that first call-up.
Danny Black returns for his third season as the Hammerheads' defensive coach. He was a 14th round pick by the Marlins back in 2010 and spent time as a player in Jupiter in 2012 while making an appearance in the Florida State League All-Star Game.
During his playing days in 2014, between Double-A and Triple-A, Black made just two errors in 522 innings at second base. He reached as high as Triple-A New Orleans before making the move to coaching.
Eric Reigelsberger will serve as the Hammerheads' trainer. He spent the 2018 season with Greensboro and the 2015-2017 seasons with Short-Season Batavia. This will be his fifth year with the Marlins' organization after graduating from Wichita State where he served as a graduate assistant athletic trainer for the Shockers' baseball team.
Strength and Conditioning coach Gregory Bourn will be back for a second straight season with Jupiter in 2019. He began working full-time in baseball with the Phillies in 2015 with the Short Season Williamsport Crosscutters and with the Boston Red Sox with their High-A affiliate, the Salem Red Sox, in 2016 and 2017. Bourn is a graduate of Miami University where he majored in Kinesiology and Health.
The Hammerheads begin the 2019 season on Thursday, April 4th at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.