ORLANDO - At the winter meetings this week, David Bell spoke of what an impact his one year in San Francisco had on his playing career and life. The Giants are hoping their new Vice President of Player Personnel has a similarly long-lasting impact on their minor league system.
Bell, hired earlier this offseason, has led a reboot of the minor league staffs and protocols, and on Friday the Giants announced some of the results.
Several familiar names returned to join minor league coaching staffs, most notably Travis Ishikawa, the 2014 postseason hero who will now serve as hitting coach for an Arizona Rookie League team. On a larger scale, the Giants have added a fourth coach at every level, a second rookie team, changed their medical staff for the minor leagues, upgraded their facility in the Dominican Republic and put more of an emphasis on analytics and modern ways to take care of players.
"We're basically completing a pretty significant rebuild of our system," general manager Bobby Evans said earlier this week.
Bell, the former bench coach of the St. Louis Cardinals, was put in charge. Evans said the focus was on giving players the best possible chance to succeed, noting that they now enter professional ball in an age when many prospects have their own mental coaches and come from college programs with state of the art facilities. The Giants built a dynasty on player development, but they have fallen behind in recent years and failed to adequately restock the big league club. This will take time, team officials admit, but they feel the results will be there.
"This is about our farm system in 2020 and beyond," Evans said. "I really want to see David set up an environment and culture in our minor league system that is consistent with who we are as an organization and who David is as a baseball man."
In addition to Bell, former Padres hitting coach Alan Zinter joins the organization as assistant director of player development in charge of offense. Matt Buschmann, a former Diamondbacks pitcher, has the same role and is in charge of "run prevention." After two years as Angels hitting coach, Dave Hansen will be the minor league hitting coordinator. Julio Rangel, a former Indians pitching coordinator, will have the same role for the Giants. Some already in the organization were given new roles, including Double-A manager Kyle Haines (now assistant director of player development, instruction) and Geoff Head, who will leave his clubhouse position to oversee the medical system in the minor leagues.
Here are the new full-season coaching staffs:
Triple-A Sacramento: Dave Brundage (manager), Steve Kline (pitching), Damon Minor (hitting), Nestor Rojas (fundamentals), David Getsoff (trainer), Andy King (strength and conditioning), Travis Higgs (bullpen catcher).
Double-A Richmond: Willie Harris (manager), Glenn Dishman (pitching), Francisco Morales (hitting), Hiro Sato (trainer), Jon Medici (strength and conditioning), Eliezer Zambrano (bullpen catcher).
High-A San Jose: Lipso Nava (manager), Matt Yourkin (pitching), Wilfredo Romero (hitting), Gary Davenport (fundamentals), Ryo Watanabe (trainer), Mark Spadavecchia (strength and conditioning), CJ Picerni (bullpen catcher).
Low-A Augusta: Jolbert Cabrera (manager), Clayton Rapada (pitching), Thomas Neal (hitting), Ydwin Villegas (fundamentals), Vito Maffei (trainer), Jesse White (strength and conditioning), Michael Johnson (bullpen catcher).