The Charlotte Stone Crabs, Advanced 'A' affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, are pleased to announce their coaching staff for the 2017 season led by third-year manager Michael Johns. Pitching coach Steve Watson will also return while the team gets three new additions in coaches Manny Castillo and German Melendez and athletic trainer Aaron Scott.
Johns, 41, returns to the Stone Crabs for his third year after guiding the team to their first Florida State League Championship in 2015. During the 2016 season, Johns steered the Stone Crabs to a 64-71 record while working with top prospects Brent Honeywell, Nick Ciuffo and Justin Williams during parts of the year. Johns had a brief playing career after being selected in the 19th round of the 1997 draft by the Colorado Rockies. Johns joined the Rays organization in 2008 as a coach for Tampa Bay's short season affiliate in Hudson Valley, New York.
Steve "Doc" Watson will be entering his sixth season with the Stone Crabs after previously serving as the pitching coach in Hudson Valley (2013) and Jupiter (2010). Watson was Charlotte's pitching coach in 2011-2012 before heading up Hudson Valley's staff for a season in New York. After retiring as a player in 1984, he began his coaching career in the Reds organization and became a manager for the first time in 2008 with the Gulf Coast League Marlins. Watson played five seasons in the minors and led the Florida State League with 55 appearances in 1983 while playing for the Tampa Tarpons.
Manny Castillo joins the Stone Crabs for the first time after serving as a coach with the Rays short season affiliate in Hudson Valley (2009, 2014-15) and their Class 'A' affiliate in Bowling Green (2010-13, 2016). Castillo, 59, played three seasons in the Major Leagues, spending time with the Kansas City Royals (1980) and Seattle Mariners (1982-83), hitting a combined .242 during that span. Castillo finished his 10-year minor league career as a .294 hitter, breaking out to hit .335 with Triple-A Omaha in 1981. During his coaching career, Castillo has spent nine years as a manger in the Dominican Summer League, leading his teams to four playoff appearances and one league championship.
German Melendez is also a first-year Stone Crabs coach and has 10 years of playing experience in the minor leagues. After playing out of the country for three seasons, Melendez came to the states in 2002 and hit .291 with the Martinville Astros. He played catcher for three seasons and pitched for four in the minors before finishing his playing career in 2008. Melendez began his coaching career with the Rays Venezuelan Summer League team in 2010-2012 and managed them from 2013-15. In 2016, he was the manager for the Rays Dominican Summer League team.
Aaron Scott is a new face to the Rays organization in 2017 after spending two seasons in the Phillies minor league system as their Athletic Trainer at Double-A. Prior to his time with the Phillies, Scott also was a trainer with the Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Lions and Berlin Thunder of NFL Europe. He graduated with a degree in athletic training from the University of Northern Iowa in 2001.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.