For the first time in a number of years, the excitement for the MLB-level Orioles is at least as much as or even greater than the excitement of the coming wave of prospects. With Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson already on the team and Grayson Rodriguez hopefully making it on Opening Day, that’s where to find the hype. The farm remains important, of course, with the Orioles needing to keep developing good prospects if they’re going to be able to continually be competitive.
On Thursday afternoon, the Orioles announced the minor league coaching staffs for the coming season. In contrast to earlier years in the Mike Elias era of the O’s, there is a lot of year-to-year stability among the coaches in the minors. That includes all seven minor league managers from last season returning to their same roles this year. A significant number of the other coaches are also back, with some shuffles between levels. Very few of the hires are fresh to the organization.
Here’s the full list of the coaching staffs for each level of the organization. Coaches who are in new roles are marked with *. Those who were not coaching in the Orioles organization at all last year are marked with **.
Triple-A Norfolk Tides
- Manager: Buck Britton
- Pitching coach: Justin Ramsey
- Hitting coach: Brink Ambler*
- Fundamentals coach: Ramón Sambo
- Development coach: Joshua Rodrigues
Ambler served as the hitting coach for the Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds last season and is getting bumped up to the Triple-A squad for 2023. The Orioles must have liked what was going on down there.
The rest of this group is the same as last year. Both Britton and Ramsey started out at Delmarva when Elias’s people took over the front office and have made their way up to Norfolk. If you’re wondering if either one of those guys has a big league staff job in their future, you’re not the only one doing so.
Double-A Bowie Baysox
- Manager: Kyle Moore
- Pitching coach: Forrest Herrmann*
- Hitting coach: Sherman Johnson**
- Fundamentals coach: Tim DeJohn
- Development coach: Ryan Goll*
Herrmann and Goll have moved up from High-A Aberdeen to join this staff, along with trainer Allyse Kramer, who joined the organization last year. Additionally, returning fundamentals coach DeJohn has been named the minor league infield coordinator for the whole of the Orioles farm.
Johnson is the lone new hire to the organization from this group. He’s recently tired from a pro playing career that dated from 2011 to last year, including a ten-game stint with the Angels in 2018. As a player, Johnson walked in 14.5% of all of his minor league plate appearances, so hopefully some of that can rub off on the Orioles prospects.
High-A Aberdeen IronBirds
- Manager: Roberto Mercado
- Pitching coach: Austin Meine**
- Hitting coach: Zach Cole
- Fundamentals coach: Chase Sebby*
- Development coach: Billy Facteau*
Mercado’s IronBirds squad from last season rolled to a 78-54 record and appeared in their league championship series. He’ll be tasked with trying to get a largely if not entirely different group of prospect to do as well this year. Mercado’s staff includes one brand new hire to the O’s organization. Meine is a former college coach, hired by the O’s after serving as the pitching coordinator at UNC-Charlotte for two years.
Sebby is moving up to this level after serving the same role for the Florida Complex League Orioles last season. Facteau swaps from Bowie to Aberdeen while staying as a development coach.
Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds
- Manager: Felipe Rojas Alou Jr.
- Pitching coach: Adam Bleday*
- Hitting coach: Josh Bunselmeyer*
- Fundamentals coach: Daniel Fajardo
- Development coach: Collin Murray
This was another affiliate that had some real success last year and it’s most of the same coaches who will be back. Alou has now been in the Orioles organization for 16 seasons, though this is only his second as a manager.
Bleday and Bunselmeyer move up to join this full-season affiliate staff after spending last season as part of the FCL coaching staff.
Florida Complex League Orioles (two teams)
It appears, based on the number of coaches, that the Orioles are again fielding two teams at this short-season rookie level. That’s been the case since 2021. Not every team chooses to do this. The press release does not directly state that there are two teams. The only difference from last year is that there’s only one manager for the two teams, whereas last year two managers were named. I don’t know why.
- Manager: Christian Frias
- Pitching coaches: Jordie Henry** / Adam Sadoski
- Hitting coaches: Jaylen Ferguson / Christian Poulsen*
- Fundamentals coaches: Collin Woody / Troy Marrow
- Development coaches: Isaiah Paige* / Teegan Leader*
The only brand new hire in this group is Henry, who has joined the Orioles after having been working with the Baltimore-based Prime Sports Performance as its director of pitching. Hitting coach Poulsen comes to a US-based league after working with Dominican Summer League Orioles prospects last year.
Dominican Summer League Orioles (two teams)
- Managers: Chris Madera / Elbis Morel
- Pitching coach: Dioni Pascual
- Hitting coaches: Julian González / Jake Ratz**
- Fundamentals coaches: Miguel Jabalera / Ramón Lubo