The 51s coaching staff was also announced as Glenn Abbott was named pitching coach and Joel Chimelis was named hitting coach. The athletic trainer position is Grant Hufford and Josh Fields will return for his second season as the strength coach. In addition, Jeremy Accardo was named bullpen coach and Kiyoshi Tada was named assistant athletic trainer. The right-handed pitcher Accardo was a member of the Las Vegas 51s for two seasons (2009-10, Toronto Blue Jays affiliate) and is the franchise leader with 37 saves. In 2017, he served as pitching coach for Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Mets.
DeFrancesco, 54, has compiled 33 seasons overall in professional baseball, including 23 seasons as manager (over .500 seasons in 19 of 23 years). He has also been manager in the PCL for 14 seasons from 2003-07, 2009-17. He was a member of the Houston Astros organization for the past seven seasons (2011-17) and was the manager for Triple-A Oklahoma City for four seasons (2011-14) and Triple-A Fresno for three seasons (2015-17). He was the manager of the PCL squad at the 2017 Triple-A All-Star Game.
DeFrancesco has compiled an overall managerial record over 23 seasons of 1,625-1,414 (.535) and an impressive PCL managerial record over 14 seasons of 1,103-890 (.553) which includes four PCL championships (2003, 2004, 2007, 2015), two Triple-A National Championships (2007, 2015) and eight division titles. He was named the 2003 PCL Manager of the Year and the 2015 Minor League Manager of the Year by Baseball America. The four PCL titles is tied with Hall of Famer Del Crandall for the most championships in league history. Crandall's championships with Albuquerque were in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982.
He first joined the Oakland A's organization as a minor league manager prior to the 1994 season, following a nine-season professional playing career as a catcher in the Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds organizations (reached Triple-A with both organizations). In 2003, he managed in his first season at Triple-A Sacramento (Oakland A's) and guided the River Cats to the PCL championship. In 2008, he earned his first full-time Major League coaching job, as third base coach for the A's, before returning to Sacramento to manage in 2009.
He then moved to the Astros organization following the 2010 campaign to manage Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2011. In 2012, he was elevated from Oklahoma City to Houston and was named the Astros interim manager on August 19, replacing Brad Mills who was fired. He managed the final 41 games of the season and on August 24, he earned his first Major League victory, defeating the New York Mets, 3-1, at Citi Field. He compiled an overall record of 16-25 (.390) and with the Astros switching to the American League for 2013, DeFrancesco was the final manager to lead the Astros as a National League franchise.
"I'm excited to be a part of the Mets organization and to also work with the 51s organization," 51s Manager Tony DeFrancesco said. "I have been coming to Las Vegas for 14 years as the opposing manager and I enjoy working with everyone in the Las Vegas front office. I have developed a great relationship over the years with Don (Logan) and his staff.
"The PCL continues to be a very competitive league, with a high caliber of future major league stars, and our goal is to get to the playoffs and win the championship. I'm excited about our coaching staff and I have worked with Glenn Abbott in the Oakland organization and I know Joel Chimelis from the Astros organization."
The Suffern, New York native attended Suffern High School and then played two seasons for Seton Hall University (1982 & 1984). DeFrancesco began his professional career when selected by the Boston Red Sox in the ninth round of the June 1984 First-Year Player Draft.
He played in a total of nine seasons in the minor leagues as a catcher in the Boston and Cincinnati organizations. He appeared in 567 career games and batted .232 (381-for-1,640) with 60 doubles, 17 home runs and 167 RBI.
TONY DeFRANCESCO'S MANAGERIAL PCL RECORD
YEAR CLUB LEAGUE W L PCT. FINISH
2003 +Sacramento (AAA) Pacific Coast 92 52 .639 1st - PCL Champions
2004 Sacramento (AAA) Pacific Coast 79 65 .549 1st - PCL Champions
2005 Sacramento (AAA) Pacific Coast 80 64 .556 1st
2006 Sacramento (AAA) Pacific Coast 78 66 .542 2nd
2007 Sacramento (AAA) Pacific Coast 84 60 .583 1st - PCL & AAA Champs
2009 Sacramento (AAA) Pacific Coast 86 57 .601 1st
2010 Sacramento (AAA) Pacific Coast 79 65 .549 1st
2011 Oklahoma City (AAA) Pacific Coast 68 75 .476 4th
2012 Oklahoma City (AAA) Pacific Coast 67 60 .528 2nd
2013 Oklahoma City (AAA) Pacific Coast 82 62 .569 1st
2014 Oklahoma City (AAA) Pacific Coast 74 70 .514 T-2nd
2015 *Fresno (AAA) Pacific Coast 84 59 .587 1st - PCL & AAA Champs
2016 Fresno (AAA) Pacific Coast 73 70 .510 3rd
2017 Fresno (AAA) Pacific Coast 77 65 .542 2nd
TOTALS (PCL - 14 years) 1,103 890 .553
TOTALS Managerial Record (23 years) 1,625 1,414 .535
+PCL Manager of the Year *Minor League Manager of the Year (by Baseball America)
Las Vegas Franchise All-Time Managers List (1983-2017):
1983 Harry Dunlop (83-60, .580)
1984-85 Bob Cluck (136-144, .486)
1986 Larry Bowa (80-62, .563, PCL Champions)
1987 Jack Krol (69-73, .486)
1988-89 Steve Smith (148-135, .523, '88 PCL Champions)
1990 Pat Kelly (58-86, .403)
1991-92 Jim Riggleman (139-145, .489)
1993-94 Russ Nixon (114-172, .399)
1995 Tim Flannery (61-83, .424)
1996-98, 2005-06 Jerry Royster (323-387, .455)
1999 Mike Ramsey (67-75, .472)
2000 Duane Espy (30-20, .600)
2000 Tony Franklin (43-50, .462)
2001 Rick Sofield (68-76, .472)
2002 Brad Mills (85-59, .590, PCL Manager of the Year)
2003 John Shoemaker (76-66, .535)
2004 Terry Kennedy (67-76, .469)
2007-08 Lorenzo Bundy (141-146, .491)
2009 Mike Basso (71-73, .493)
2010 Dan Rohn (66-78, .458)
2011-12 Marty Brown (150-137, .523)
2013-16 Wally Backman (309-267, .536) - 2014 PCL Manager of the Year
2017 Pedro Lopez (56-86, .394)
Las Vegas Triple-A Affiliation History:
San Diego Padres, 18 seasons (1983-2000), 1,227-1,329 (.480), 7 playoff appearances
Los Angeles Dodgers, 8 seasons (2001-08), 561-586 (.489), 1 playoff appearance
Toronto Blue Jays, 4 seasons (2009-2012), 287-288 (.499), 0 playoff appearances
New York Mets, 5 seasons (2013-17), 365-353 (.508), 2 playoff appearances
ALL-TIME RECORD: 2,440-2,556 (.488)
The Las Vegas Stars/51s have captured the PCL Championship twice (1986 & 1988) and appeared in the playoffs 10 times (19-29 record, .396).
Glenn Abbott will enter his eighth season overall in the Mets organization and his first season as the pitching coach for Triple-A Las Vegas. He spent the previous six seasons as pitching coach for Double-A Binghamton of the Eastern League (2012-17). In 2017, Binghamton compiled a record of 85-54 (.612) and advanced to the EL playoffs. He also served as pitching coach for Single-A Savannah of the South Atlantic League in 2011.
He was a member of the San Diego Padres system before joining the Mets. He served as pitching coach for Double-A San Antonio of the Texas League in 2007 and 2010. He served in the same role with Triple-A Portland of the Pacific Coast League in 2008 and 2009 and with Double-A Mobile of the Southern League in 2006. He was also pitching coach in the Texas Rangers system from 2003-05. He spent a total of 13 seasons as a coach in Oakland's organization from 1990-2002.
He made his coaching debut with the Mets in 1985 with Single-A Little Falls of the New York-Penn League and stayed with the organization through the 1989 season.
Abbott was selected by Oakland in the eighth round of the June 1969 First-Year Player Draft. He played 11 seasons in the Major Leagues with Oakland (1973-76), Seattle (1977-81, 1983) and Detroit (1983-84). The right-hander appeared in 248 career games (206 starts and 37 complete games) and posted a 62-83 record with a 4.39 ERA. He struck out 484 batters in 1,286.0 innings pitched. On September 28, 1975, he appeared in the first four-pitcher, no-hitter in major league history, combining with Vida Blue, Paul Linblad and Rollie Fingers against the California Angels on the final day of the regular season.
A native of North Little Rock, AR, he attended the State College of Arkansas.
Joel Chimelis will enter his first season as the hitting coach for Triple-A Las Vegas. He has 28 years of professional baseball experience as both a player (14 years) and coach (14 years) and worked 12 seasons in the Houston Astros organization. He served two seasons as the hitting coach at Double-A Corpus Christi of the Texas League (2017), a post he served during the 2012 season.
Prior to 2017, he spent 11 years as hitting coach in Houston's system, starting at Single-A Tri-City (2006-10) and working his way to Single-A Lexington (2011) and Corpus Christi (2012) before spending four years at Single-A Quad Cities (2013-16).
Before joining the Astros, Chimelis spent two years (2004-05) on the coaching staff of the Single-A Savannah Sand Gnats in the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals organization.
During the 2014 offseason, he served as hitting coach for the Puerto Rican Winter League Champion Cangrejeros de Santurce.
He was selected by Oakland in the 11th round of the 1988 draft. He was traded to San Francisco in 1991 and spent the 1996 season in the Mets organization. The former infielder reached the Triple-A level in the Giants system, playing for Phoenix from 1992-95, and was called up to the Majors during the 1995 season. During his 14-year minor league career, he also had stints in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Korea and Canada.
Grant Hufford will enter his first season as athletic trainer for Triple-A Las Vegas. He served the previous 10 seasons as an athletic trainer in the Houston Astros organization, which included three seasons (2015-17) at Double-A Corpus Christi. In 2016, he was named the Texas League Athletic Trainer of the Year.
Hufford joined the Astros organization in 2008 as athletic trainer at Rookie-Level Greeneville where he spent three seasons (2008-10). Following his stint in Greeneville, he went on to work for Single-A Lexington (2011-12) and Single-A Lancaster (2013-14). In 2013, he was named the California League Athletic Trainer of the Year. Before joining the Astros, he worked for the Lawrence Orthopedic Surgery Clinic in Lawrence, Kan., while also serving as the athletic trainer at Baldwin High School.
Hufford received his bachelor's degree from Benedictine College.
Josh Fields returns for his second season as strength coach for Triple-A Las Vegas. He previously served as a strength coach in the Los Angeles Angels system for seven seasons (2009-15). He worked with Double-A Little Rock of the Texas League in 2009 and with Triple-A Salt Lake of the PCL from 2010-15. He also served as a strength intern with Single-A Lexington of the South Atlantic League in the Houston organization from 2007-08. He received his bachelor of sciences degree in athletic training from Emory & Henry College in 2005 where he also played third base for the baseball team. He earned his master's degree in nutritional sciences from University of Kentucky (2008).
The 51s will open their 36th season in the Silver State on Thursday, April 5 against the El Paso Chihuahuas, Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres, at Cashman Field at 7:05 p.m.
2018 season tickets and mini-plan packages (11, 22, 35-game plans) are available by calling the 51s office at (702) 943-7200. Individual game tickets for the 70-game home schedule will go on sale in March.
Official licensed 51s team merchandise is available on the "Team Shop" section of the website.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.