PEARL - The Mississippi Braves, in conjunction with the Atlanta Braves, have announced their field staff for the 2024 season. The M-Braves will commemorate the 20th year and final season at Trustmark Park beginning on Opening Day, Tuesday, April 9, against the Biloxi Shuckers at 6:35 pm.
After spending one season as manager of the Braves High-A affiliate Rome Braves (Emperors), Angel Flores will take the reins for the first time at the Double-A level, succeeding Kanekoa Texeira. Texeira was promoted to manager of the Triple-A Gwinnett Stripers after Matt Tuiasosopo was named to the Braves' Major League coaching staff for 2024.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity to lead this club, and I'm excited to be back in Mississippi," said Flores. "This is a place where I have really good memories from the 2022 season, and the fans have always treated me and my family well, and I'm excited to see them again. I am well aware that this is the team's last year in Mississippi, and our goal is to make it a special one for the city that has opened its arms to us for so long. I can't wait to see you all at Trustmark Park!"
Joining Flores on the bench will be pitching coach Wes McGuire, who spent last season in the same role with Low-A Augusta, hitting coach Garrett Wilkinson, who joins from High-A Rome, and coaches Francisco Díaz and Luis Ugueto, who coached with Low-A Augusta and the FCL Braves last season, respectively. Jesús Aviles and Toni Lee will join the club as athletic trainers, Kyle Hegedus will be the strength coach, and Seth Childrey returns for his third season in Mississippi as head of home clubhouse operations.
"This year, our staff is young and very knowledgeable," added Flores. "The players respect them, and they know how to create relationships and good chemistry to make the development process fun but effective."
Flores, 37, returns to Mississippi, where he served as bench coach in 2022. Flores took over as interim manager from April 26 to May 15, 2022, while Bruce Crabbe took a leave of absence from the club. During the 18-game stretch, the M-Braves went 10-8. During his first season as a full-time manager last year, Flores led the R-Braves to a 34-32 record in the second half and an overall 64-68 mark. Rome closed the year with a 21-15 record in August and September. Overall, he holds a 74-76 record as a manager.
Before joining the M-Braves staff in 2022, he served as a coach for Rome in 2021. Flores was a six-year minor league veteran in the Tigers organization before opening the Action Force baseball academy in Orlando. Flores has been in the organization since 2017, working in the rookie leagues.
Angel and his wife Carmen have two sons, Misael (1) and Matias (5). Misael was born during Flores' 2022 season in Mississippi.
McGuire makes his way to Pearl after serving as the pitching for Low-A Augusta in 2023. McGuire enters his fourth season with the Braves, also serving as Pitching Coach for the FCL Braves in 2021 and Rome Braves in 2022. McGuire held multiple coaching positions after graduating from Lenoir-Rhyne University in 2016. The summer after graduating, he served as an assistant pitching coach for the Peninsula Pilots of the Coastal Plains League. In the fall of 2016, McGuire founded Healthy Heat, where he provided private instruction to baseball players of different ages. In 2018, he joined 108 Performance as Director of Pitching before leaving the following year for the Florida Baseball Ranch, where he was the Director of Player Development.
Wilkinson will be the M-Braves hitting coach this season after serving in the same position with the Rome Braves in 2023. Wilkinson spent the 2022 season on staff with the FCL Braves. Entering his fourth season with the Braves, Atlanta initially hired Wilkinson to work in a video and hitting analytics position with the Augusta in 2021. Wilkinson, an Evans, GA native, carries an impressive collegiate playing resume with stops at East Georgia State, Gordon State, Florida A&M, and Mercer.
Diaz joins the M-Braves coaching staff in his second season with the Braves, having served in the same position for Low-A Augusta in 2023. Diaz spent the 2021 and 2022 seasons coaching in Miami's system. Diaz began his professional career with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007, continuing within the Pirates and Yankees systems until 2019.
Ugueto (oo-geh-to) joins Mississippi as a coach after spending the 2023 season in the same role with the FCL Braves. The well-traveled Ugueto played 18 seasons of professional baseball from 1998 to 2016, making 74 appearances for Seattle over the 2002 and 2003 seasons. In addition to nine years in MLB-affiliated baseball, the Venezuela native played internationally in the Italian Baseball League, Chinese Professional Baseball League, North American League, United League, 2013-14 Venezuelan Winter League, and Caribbean Series. After his playing career, Ugueto became a coach at the Carlos Guillén Academy in Venezuela and then became a manager in the Venezuelan Professional League from 2019-2021 with Cardenales de Lara, Tigres de Aragua, and Caciques del Distrito.
Aviles begins his fifth season with the Braves organization in 2024 and first in Mississippi. Aviles spent the 2023 season with Low-A Augusta, with previous stops in Rome and DSL Braves. Aviles received a Master's in Athletic Training from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania in 2015.
Lee begins her first full-time role with the Atlanta Braves organization after serving an internship with Triple-A Gwinnett in 2023. She is the certified athletic training intern at the Braves spring training complex in North Port, FL. Lee recently completed her Master of Science in Athletic Training at the University of South Carolina, where she received the Outstanding Student Achievement Award for her Professional Program. During her master's program, she worked with athletes at a local high school, USC Band & Dance, Baseball, and Soccer, and spent time with the Stripers during the 2022 season.
Childrey returns to Pearl for his third season with the M-Braves as head of home clubhouse operations and sixth year in the Atlanta Braves organization working in minor league operations. Before joining the M-Braves in 2022, Childrey was the lead equipment manager for Liberty University's baseball team from 2015-2018. Childrey received his degree in Sport Management from Liberty in 2018.
Hegedus will be in his third season in the Braves organization and will move from High-A Rome as the strength coach for 2024. Hegedus, a former Youngstown State football player, was previously with the Liberty Flames before joining the Braves in 2022.
The Mississippi Braves and their new staff will begin the 2024 season on the road on Friday, April 5, at Pensacola. The M-Braves will open their 20th and final year at Trustmark Park on Tuesday, April 9, at 6:05 pm against the Biloxi Shuckers.
About the Mississippi Braves:
*Located in Pearl, Mississippi, since 2005, the Mississippi Braves are the Double-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. The M-Braves will commemorate the 20th and final season at Trustmark Park beginning on Opening Day, Tuesday, April 9, against the Biloxi Shuckers at 6:35 pm. You can view a PDF schedule *HERE. Season Tickets, Sponsorships, Group Outings, and more are now available by calling 888-BRAVES4 or visiting mississippibraves.com.
About Diamond Baseball Holdings:
Diamond Baseball Holdings (DBH) was formed in 2021 to support, promote, and enhance Minor League Baseball Clubs affiliated with Major League Baseball through professional management, best practices, innovation, and investment (DiamondBaseballHoldings.com).