TROY, NY - The Houston Astros have announced their minor league coaching staffs for the 2018 season, and have assigned Jason Bell to serve as the ValleyCats manager, Erick Abreu as pitching coach, and Jeremy Barnes as hitting coach, who returns for his second season.
Jason Bell becomes the ninth manager in ValleyCats history, taking over for Morgan Ensberg who will now manage the Class A Advanced Buies Creek Astros.
This will be Bell's first year as a manager, and second season with the Astros organization. He spent 2017 as the Development Coach for the Class A Quad Cities River Bandits.
Bell joined the Astros from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, where he served as the pitching coach for the Division I program during the 2016 season.
Prior to his time at Maryland, Bell was the Director of Baseball Operations at Ohio University, where he helped the baseball program to the second-best season in school history.
A native of St. Louis, Mo., Bell played collegiately at Saint Louis University (2010-11) and the University of Central Missouri (2012-14). He was named to the Atlantic-10 All-Tournament team as a freshman at St. Louis, pitching in Game 2 of the NCAA Division I Tournament that year in the Louisville Regional.
Erick Abreu joins the 'Cats staff as pitching coach after serving in the same role last season for the Rookie League Greeneville Astros. Abreu enters his fifth season working in player development for the Astros, following a 12-year playing career which included five seasons pitching in the Astros minor league system (2008-2012), and six years with the Yankees (2002-2007).
Jeremy Barnes is the lone returner to the 'Cats coaching staff, continuing his duties as hitting coach. Prior to last season, Barnes spent four years in Canberra, Australia where he was in charge of the overall development of amateur baseball and coaching development in the Australian Capital Territory for the Canberra Cavalry.
The 'Cats home opener is set for Friday, June 15 vs. the Vermont Lake Monsters. Season tickets, mini plans and flex vouchers for the ValleyCats' 2018 season are currently available for purchase online or by calling 518-629-CATS (2287). Individual tickets will go on sale March 29, Major League Baseball's Opening Day.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.