In Part I yesterday, we reported the Washington Nationals made coaching changes throughout their Minor League system including some mixing and matching at Low-A and High-A and Short-Season-A as well as a new manager at Syracuse-AAA, and we said there were other moves that we would write in Part II.
The Nationals have parted ways with their pitching coaches at Harrisburg-AA and Syracuse-AAA replacing both Chris Michalak and Bob Milacki. That means that there will be changes with pitching coaches at every level from the Majors to the GCL. Syracuse-AAA and the Washington Nationals would bring in pitching coaches from the outside. Derek Lilliquist was named the pitching coach on Dave Martinez‘s Major League staff.
Harrisburg-AA’s pitching coach will be Michael Tejera who will be promoted from the Rookie-Level Nationals of the Gulf Coast League (GCL). Tejera was a left-handed pitcher for the Marlins and Texas Rangers from 1999 to 2005. He was a well-thought of pitching coach in the GCL before accepting this promotion. Tejera will be working in Double-A which is seen by many as the finishing school before graduation for top prospects.
As we reported yesterday, the other pitching coach changes were Sam Narron will take over as the pitching coach at High-A Potomac Nationals; Tim Redding will take over as the pitching coach at Low-A Hagerstown Suns; and Franklin Bravo will be the pitching coach at the Short Season-A Auburn Doubledays.
While Lilliquist will be working on tweaks and strategy with his Major League pitching staff, the Minor League pitching coaches will be looking to develop pitchers and work on more of a macro development with the pitchers at the lowest levels and refinement at the upper levels of the minor leagues.
There has been a lot of criticism in recent years with pitchers who have been promoted that have struggled with stamina issues and especially on their ability to locate pitches. Most notably was issues with Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez during the 2016 season and Erick Fedde last year.
Also a special h/t to Luke Erickson at NationalsProspects.com who also told me that Michalak was gone from AA. The Nationals should be publishing the official version of all of the Minor League assignments shortly. We should have Part III of this series coming soon.