Athletics Announce Player Development Staff for 2021
Oakland, Calif. – The Oakland A’s have announced their 2021 player development department and minor league coaching staffs, including the promotion of Bobby Crosby to manager of the Midland RockHounds, and the promotion of Adam Rosales to manager of the Arizona A’s.
Ed Sprague enters his sixth season with the A’s and his second season as Director of Player Development. The former infielder’s time with the A’s also includes stints as the assistant director of player development and coordinator of on-field analytics, coordinator of instruction, and roving instructor.
Keith Lieppman begins his 51st season with Oakland and his second as Special Advisor to Player Development after transitioning to the role in 2020.
Grady Fuson, former Oakland A’s scouting director, will return for his 12th season as Special Assistant to the General Manager. He has spent 30 seasons in the Athletics organization, including seven years as scouting director from 1995-2001.
Gil Patterson returns for his 17th season in the A’s organization, including his sixth straight season as the A’s Minor League Pitching Coordinator. Patterson is in his third stint with the organization after spending the previous three seasons in a similar role with the New York Yankees (2013-15). He has held the post for the A’s on three separate occasions in 1996 and from 2008-2012. Patterson originally joined the Oakland organization in 1991, coaching for the Arizona Rookie League in Scottsdale. He coached for the A’s Single-A affiliate in Madison from 1992-93, Single-A West Michigan in 1994, and the Rookie League Scottsdale A’s in 1995 before his first stint as roving minor league pitching instructor in 1996.
Jim Eppard will enter his sixth season as the minor league hitting coordinator. Prior to joining the A’s in 2016, he spent two seasons as the Los Angeles Angels assistant hitting coordinator.
Juan Navarrete will begin his second season as the minor league infield coordinator after spending the previous three seasons as the minor league defensive coordinator. Navarrete has served the A’s development staff for over 26 seasons in various roles after a playing career that spanned 21 seasons. In 1998, Navarrete was inducted into the Mexican League Baseball Hall of Fame.
Steve Scarsone enters his second season as minor league outfield and baserunning coordinator after serving as minor league roving infield and baserunning instructor in 2019. The former Major Leaguer has been with the organization since 2009, serving as a minor league manager from 2009 through 2016. In 2016, he was awarded with the Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year Award after leading the team to a league-best 83-59 mark.
Gabe Ortiz will serve as minor league catching coordinator for the second straight season. He spent the previous season as minor league catching instructor as well as a coach with the Arizona League Athletics. The former A’s minor league catcher has been with the organization since 2014.
Casey Upperman returns for his second season as Athletics throwing performance coach. In this role, the Arizona native assists with the development and implementation of throwing programs for pitchers and position players to enhance their performance, health, and throwing velocity.
Nate Brooks returns as the minor league medical coordinator for his fifth season after serving the A’s as minor league rehab coordinator the prior four seasons.
Travis Tims enters his fifth season as the minor league rehab coordinator. Tims has been with the organization since 2008 and spent nine seasons in the A’s system as an athletic trainer.
Craig Lefferts will return as the A’s minor league pitching rehab coordinator. Lefferts enters his seventh season in the role after spending 12 seasons as a pitching coach in Oakland’s minor league system.
Bryan Corey will return as assistant pitching rehab coordinator. He has also served as pitching coach for the Vermont Lake Monsters (2017), Stockton Ports (2018), and AZL A’s (2019/20).
Webster Garrison will transition to the role of player development advisor after spending the last 22 seasons coaching and managing in the A’s organization, serving in various roles from Triple-A to Rookie ball.
Javier Alvidrez returns for his fourth season as the Latin American medical coordinator. This is his second stint with the organization after serving as an athletic trainer from 2000-07.
J.D. Howell has been promoted to the role of minor league sport performance coordinator after spending last season as the Latin American strength and conditioning coordinator. 2021 is Howell’s ninth season in the organization.
Scott Smith has been promoted to assistant minor league sport performance coordinator after spending the previous three seasons filling the role of strength and conditioning coach for Beloit and the AZL A’s.
Ed Gilitz enters his fifth season as the minor league technology and development coordinator. He previously worked as a video intern for the Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Arizona Diamondbacks before joining the Athletics.
Kelvin Todd will return as senior coordinator of educational and cultural programs. He facilitates the transition of international minor league players to life in the United States, both on and off the field.
Luis Victoria will return as coordinator of educational and cultural programs, assisting with minor league players’ transitions to life in the United States.
Las Vegas (Triple-A)
Fran Riordan will be at the helm for his fourth season with the Triple-A club. In 2019, Riordan led Las Vegas to a first-place finish in the PCL South division with an 83-57 record and was named the Pacific Coast League manager of the year. Rick Rodriguez will oversee the pitching staff for the sixth straight season and his fourth overall stint as the pitching coach for the A’s top affiliate (2000-02, 2004-10, and 2013-2014). Tommy Everidge will join the Aviators as hitting coach after spending the last three seasons as the hitting coach for Midland. He began his coaching career in 2014 after playing in the A’s system for six years. Brian McArn enters his 23rd year in the organization, joining the Las Vegas staff as assistant hitting coach after spending the last three seasons as the Stockton hitting coach. Justin Whitehouse will serve as head athletic trainer for Las Vegas. He spent 12 seasons as the Midland athletic trainer, has been with the organization for 20 seasons, and was named Midwest League Athletic Trainer of the Year in 2007. Omar Hamed rounds out the staff as sport performance coach after serving as assistant minor league strength and conditioning coordinator last season. This will be his eighth season in the A’s organization.
Bobby Crosby will make his managerial debut at the helm of the Midland RockHounds. The former infielder played in the Major Leagues for eight seasons, winning the Rookie of the Year Award in 2004 for the Oakland A’s. Steve Connelly returns for his fourth year as the RockHounds pitching coach. Connelly joined the A’s organization in 2014 and served as a pitching coach across the A’s minor league system (Vermont, 2014; Beloit, 2015; Stockton, 2016-17). Kevin Kouzmanoff will take over as hitting coach for the RockHounds. The former big leaguer is in his third year with the organization after spending the 2019 season with the Arizona Athletics. Juan Dilone joins the Midland staff as assistant hitting coach. He previously spent four seasons as the hitting coach for Beloit after spending the prior seven years in the same role with rookie-level Arizona. Shane Zdebiak will join the Midland staff as athletic trainer after spending three seasons as Stockton’s athletic trainer and two seasons with Beloit. Before joining the A’s, he worked for the Mariners from 2014-15. Matt Mosiman will serve as the sport performance coach after spending two seasons with Stockton and five overall with the organization.
Scott Steinmann will pilot the Lansing Lugnuts for their first season in the A’s organization after managing Midland since 2018. Prior to joining the A’s organization, he worked 17 seasons as a coach or manager in the Seattle organization. Don Schulze joins the Lansing staff as pitching coach after serving in the same role for Beloit for the last three seasons. 2021 will be Schulze’s 16th year overall in the Oakland A’s system. Javier Godard will serve as hitting coach for Lansing. The infielder played in 224 games in the A’s organization before joining the Stockton coaching staff in 2019. Anthony Phillips will serve as assistant hitting coach on the Lugnuts staff after coaching for Beloit in 2019. The former infielder was a member of the 2009 South Africa team that participated in the World Baseball Classic. Brian “Doc” Thorson enters his 38th year in the A’s organization as Lansing head athletic trainer, including eight in the Midwest league with Beloit. Rounding out the staff is Connor Hughes as sport performance coach, marking his third season in the A’s organization.
Rico Brogna will take the helm in Stockton, his first year as manager in the A’s system. The former first baseman played nine years in the big leagues for five different teams. After his playing career, he spent seven sessions serving in various coaching & front office roles for the Rays, Angels, Phillies, and A’s. Chris Smith will return as the Stockton pitching coach. The former Major Leaguer appeared in 77 games, going 1-4 with a 5.71 ERA. He finished his playing career in 2017 with the Oakland A’s. Francisco Santana will be the hitting coach. He previously served as a coach in Vermont and at the A’s academy in the Dominican Republic. Craig Conklin joins the Stockton staff as assistant hitting coach. Conklin has been with the A’s for six years and worked for the MLB Scouting Bureau prior to joining the A’s. Nick Voelker joins Stockton from rookie-level Arizona after beginning his career in the Dominican Summer League, where he won Athletic Trainer of the Year in 2018. Kevin Guild will spend his fourth season in the A’s organization serving as Stockton’s sport performance coach.
Arizona Athletics (Rookie-level)
Adam Rosales will begin his managerial career with the Arizona Athletics. The former Major Leaguer played 15 seasons of affiliated ball, including two stints with the Athletics (2010-11, 2017). Gabriel Ozuna will return as pitching coach for the Arizona A’s. He is entering his seventh season as the pitching coach of the squad after spending his first seven seasons in the organization as the pitching coach for Oakland’s Dominican Summer League club. Lloyd Turner and Ruben Escalera will serve as hitting coaches for the Arizona A’s. Turner enters his ninth season with the Oakland A’s organization. Before managing Beloit in 2019, Lloyd served as the minor league hitting coach for six seasons (Vermont, 2013, 2016-18 and Beloit, 2014-15). Escalera enters his sixth season of his second stint as the Rookie A’s hitting coach. The Puerto Rico native has been with the A’s for 26 seasons, serving as an instructor, manager, and scout. Jake Routhier will be the athletic trainer for the Arizona A’s after serving in the same capacity in the Dominican Summer League in 2019. Josh Jones joins the A’s organization as Arizona A’s sport performance coach after spending 10 years serving in similar roles for various high school and collegiate programs.