New Crew: Renegades 2023 field & support staff announced
Wappingers Falls, N.Y. (Feb. 3, 2023) – The New York Yankees announced their minor league field and support staffs for the 2023 season on Friday. Sergio Santos will take over as the manager of the Hudson Valley Renegades, the Yankees High-A affiliate. Santos takes over as the 18th manager in
Wappingers Falls, N.Y. (Feb. 3, 2023) – The New York Yankees announced their minor league field and support staffs for the 2023 season on Friday. Sergio Santos will take over as the manager of the Hudson Valley Renegades, the Yankees High-A affiliate.
Santos takes over as the 18th manager in team history and third in three years during the Yankees era. He is joined on the coaching staff by Pitching Coach Preston Claiborne (1st season), Hitting Coach Kevin Martir (1st season), and Defensive Coaches Rob Benjamin (2nd season) and Derek Woodley (1st season). They will be joined by Athletic Trainer Brandon Rodríguez (1st season), Strength Coach Isiah McDonald (1st season), Clubhouse Manager Ryan Shute (3rd season), Video & Travel Assistant Carlos Cespedes (1st season), and Advanced Scouting Analyst Matt Wells (1st season).
“I’m extremely excited for the start of the season,” said Santos. “I know our staff is top-notch, and I’m looking forward to the players who are going to be here and experience the Hudson Valley. I hope everyone comes and supports the Renegades because it’s going to be a great year.”
Santos begins his second season coaching in the Yankees organization in 2023, and his first with the Renegades. In 2022, he managed the FCL Yankees to the Florida Complex League Championship, defeating the FCL Rays 2-1 in the FCL Championship Series. The team finished with a 38-17 (.691) record, winning the FCL North by 10.0 games and posting the second-best record in the league. Prior to joining the Yankees, Santos was a coach and mentor at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, California from 2018-22.
Born in Los Angeles, Santos was selected in the first round (27th overall) of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks out of Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California. He spent the first seven seasons of his professional career as a shortstop before converting to pitching in 2009. He made his Major League debut on April 8, 2010 with a scoreless relief inning for the Chicago White Sox. Santos pitched for six seasons in the majors with the White Sox (2010-11), Blue Jays (2012-14), Dodgers (2015) and Yankees (2015).
Santos racked up a career-high 30 saves in 2011 with Chicago, and across 194 career MLB appearances posted a 3.98 ERA and 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings. During the 2011 season, Santos established a new Major League record by posting 25 straight scoreless appearances on the road to start the season, a record that had previously been held by Mariano Rivera. His time in the majors with the Yankees lasted only 3.0 innings across two appearances before an elbow injury ended his season.
He becomes only the sixth manager in Renegades history with MLB playing experience, joining Bump Wills (1995-96), Charlie Montoyo (1998), Edwin Rodríguez (1999), Dave Silvestri (2000), and Jared Sandberg (2010-12).
Claiborne begins his third season in the Yankees organization after spending the previous two seasons as the Yankees pitching coach in the Florida Complex League. He was originally slated to join the organization as the pitching coach for the GCL Yankees West in 2020 before the cancelation of the minor league season owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Claiborne was selected by the Yankees in the 17th round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of Tulane University and spent five seasons in the organization. He made 62 relief appearances with the Yankees from 2013-14, going 3-2 with a 3.79 ERA.
Notably, Claiborne tied the Modern Era (since 1900) Major League record by issuing zero walks over his first 14 career appearances and did not walk a batter over his first 19.1 IP, the second-longest such streak by any Yankees pitcher to begin his Major League career (John Frill-20.2IP in 1910). He also spent time in the Texas, San Francisco, and Cleveland organizations before retiring in 2018. Claiborne resides in Rockport, Texas.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Martir begins his third season with the Yankees and his first with the Renegades after serving as the hitting coach for Single-A Tampa over the past two seasons. He came to the Yankees in 2020 after spending 2019 as a coach for the GCL Phillies East, and was slated to be the hitting coach in Rookie-level Pulaski before the season was canceled owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. In his time with the Tarpons, Martir has worked with such high-profile Yankees prospects as Anthony Volpe, Everson Pereira, Jasson Dominguez, Austin Wells and Spencer Jones. During both seasons, the Tarpons finished first and second in the Florida State League in home runs.
Martir was a star catcher at the University of Maryland from 2013-15, and was named a D1baseball.com Third Team All-American and a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award, given annually to the nation’s top catcher, in 2015. He was drafted by the Astros in the 18th round of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft and spent two years in the Houston organization before moving on to the Brewers and Phillies organizations and having a short stint with the independent Gateway Grizzlies of the Frontier League. Martir’s one professional home run came against the Renegades at Dutchess Stadium in 2016 while he was playing for the Tri-City ValleyCats.
Benjamin begins his second season coaching for the Yankees in 2023, returning to the Renegades as a Defensive Coach after serving as the Hitting Coach in 2022. He joined the Yankees in 2022 after serving as a hitting coach in the Seattle Mariners organization from 2018-2021. Under his guidance last year, the Renegades led SAL North teams in OBP (.341) and runs (649), and finished second in AVG (.241), SLG (.392) and home runs (129). Hudson Valley also led all South Atlantic League teams in walks (597) and stolen bases (230).
Prior to joining the Mariners, Benjamin served as the Managing Director and Hitting Coach of 108 Performance Academy in Irvine, California (2017-18), and was a private hitting instructor in New York City (2010-17) and began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant at Baruch College (2002-05), CCNY (2005-07) and St. Joseph's College Brooklyn (2010).
Rob was born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, and he and his wife, Lissette, grew up in the South Bronx and have two sons, Mason and Noah. They currently reside in the Hudson Valley. He has a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from CUNY John Jay, and is currently pursuing a master's degree in Organizational Leadership from CUNY Lehman. Benjamin graduated from Harry S Truman High School in Co-op City.
A decorated college coach with over 300 wins to his credit, Woodley joins the Renegades as a Defensive Coach in his first year in the Yankees organization. He spent the previous 15 years as the head coach at Defiance College, where he ranks second on the Yellow Jackets’ all-time wins list and served as Athletic Director since 2019. Woodley has 30 years of coaching experience at the college level under his belt, including a dozen years at Bethany Lutheran College first as an assistant and then a head coach, and at Manchester University.
Woodley was a two-time Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honoree (2013 and 2019), and his student-athletes were successful on and off the field, garnering 66 All-HCAC selections and 32 Academic All-HCAC honorees. In addition to his coaching and administrative background, Woodley worked as a part time scout for the St. Louis Cardinals from 2000-04, and was a coach for Mankato in the prestigious summer collegiate wood bat Northwoods League from 2000-03.
Rodríguez begins his second season as an Athletic Trainer in the Yankees organization, having spent the 2022 season with Single-A Tampa. Following the season, Rodríguez served as an Athletic Trainer for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League. He spent the previous two seasons in the Baltimore Orioles organization as the interim Latin American medical coordinator in 2021, and a trainer with the Dominican Summer League Orioles in 2020. Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Rodríguez received an Associate’s Degree from the University of Puerto Rico-Ponce, and his B.S. and M.S. in Athletic Training from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania.
McDonald begins his second season as a Strength and Conditioning Coach in the Yankees organization after spending 2022 with the FCL Yankees. He was named the FCL Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year during his first year in professional baseball. In addition to his work with the Yankees, McDonald has worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach under Eric Cressey at Cressey Sports Performance since 2020. He is also the owner and founder of Instinct Performance, a 6,000 square foot baseball facility in Kamloops, British Columbia. A native of Canada, McDonald played baseball collegiately at Thompson Rivers University and graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science. He has also volunteered at the Richmond Olympic Oval and Union Gospel Mission – Vancouver as the Fundraising Leader helping those experiencing homelessness and poverty.
Shute begins his third year as the Renegades Home Clubhouse Manager and fifth in the Yankees organization, previously working for the Short-Season A Staten Island Yankees in 2019 and Rookie-level Pulaski in 2018. Before joining the Yankees, Shute was the Visiting Clubhouse Manager for the Carolina Mudcats during the 2017 season. A native of the Hudson Valley and 2011 graduate of Our Lady of Lourdes High School, Shute spent four summers as a Stadium Operations and Groundskeeping Assistant for the Renegades from 2012-15.
Cespedes begins his first year with the Renegades as the Video and Travel Assistant, and second in the Yankees organization after having spent 2022 as the Video Manager for the FCL Yankees. Previous to joining the Yankees, Cespedes spent three years in a similar role with the Washington Nationals organization. Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Cespedes played collegiate baseball at Chipola College in Florida, Saint Catharine College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Midway University in Midway, Kentucky. He earned his B.S. in Business Administration and Management from Midway in 2018.
Wells begins his first year as the Renegades as the Advance Scouting Analyst, and his first in the Yankees organization. He spent 2022 as a Volunteer Assistant Coach at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, where he helped the Golden Griffs win the 2022 MAAC Baseball Championship. Wells previously worked as a major league intern with the Seattle Mariners’ video department and spent two years as an associate in player development with the New York Mets. A native of Gansevoort, New York, he graduated from New York University in 2018 with a bachelor’s in Sports Management, with concentrations in Organization Management, Sports Media and Sports Law. He played baseball at NYU for four years, appearing in 54 games as a right-handed pitcher.
The Renegades were managed in 2022 by Tyson Blaser, who led the team to a 71-59 record, the second-best in the SAL North and tied for the most wins in a single season in franchise history. Under his tutelage, the Renegades had their 10th consecutive winning season, and 13th in the last 14 seasons. Blaser departs to take over as the Catching Coordinator for the Boston Red Sox.
ABOUT THE HUDSON VALLEY RENEGADES
The Hudson Valley Renegades are entering their third season as the High-A affiliate of the New York Yankees in the South Atlantic League. The Renegades begin their 2023 season at home on Friday, April 7 with a three-game series against the Greensboro Grasshoppers. For more information, please visit hvrenegades.com or call 845-838-0094.
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).