With the winningest Minor League system in baseball, the Houston Astros don't have a lot of reason to make big changes wiithin the organization this offseason.
The club announced its affiliate field staffs Thursday, and the 2015 managers will return for five of seven teams.
The Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies, which won the Pacific Coast League crown and the Triple-A National Championship this year, will welcome Tony DeFrancesco for his sixth straight season helming the Astros' highest affiliate. He'll be joined by pitching coach Dyar Miller, who has been the organization's Minor League pitching coordinator for the past three seasons, and hitting coach Ralph Dickinson, who spent last year as a roving hitting instructor.
Rodney Linares, the 2015 Texas League Manager of the Year, will be back with the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks for his ninth season with the Astros. Pitching coach Doug Brocail and hitting coach Dan Radison also are returning to the Hooks.
Omar Lopez, who's been with the organization since 1999, will be back with Class A Advanced Lancaster after leading the JetHawks to their fourth straight California League playoff appearance. Michael Burns, who was Houston's rehabilitation coach in 2013 and 2014, has been named pitching coach. Hitting coach Darryl Robinson also will be back in the fold.
The Class A Quad Cities River Bandits posted the best winning percentage in the Minors (88-50, .638), and 2015 Midwest League Manager of the Year Josh Bonifay will be the first recipient of that award to return to his club. Pitching coach Dave Borkowski and hitting coach Joel Chimelis will be back as well.
Lamarr Rogers, who led the Rookie-level Greeneville Astros to an Appalachian League title in 2015, was promoted to helm the Class A Short Season Tri-City ValleyCats. In his second season in the organization, Ace Adams will become the ValleyCats' pitching coach. Russ Steinhorn will return as the club's hitting coach for a fourth season.
The Astros haven't yet named a manager for the Greeneville team, which will have Chris Holt as pitching coach and Cesar Cedeno as hitting coach.
Marty Malloy will manage the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Astros for a third season. Erick Abreu will serve as pitching coach and Luis Mateo as hitting coach.
In addition, seven members of the Astros' baseball operations staff were promoted after the Minor League system overall posted a .553 winning percentage and the big league club reached the American League Division Series. Quinton McCracken, who was director of player development from 2013-2015, is now the director of player personnel. Allen Rowin, who was assistant director of player development, has been named director of Minor League operations and will play a lead role in roster management.