The Padres announced the coaching staffs for their minor league affiliates on Wednesday as the organization prepares for spring training camp to open in just over a month.
After 2022 saw the most significant turnover on the player development staff since after A.J. Preller became general manager, the organization has once again brought in a number of new faces. While five of the six managers across the minor league system were in the Padres organization last year, the club has added four pitching coaches to their ranks.
Phillip Wellman, who has managed the Padres’ Double-A affiliate since 2016, will take the reins at El Paso for his first taste of managing at Triple-A in 35 seasons in the minors. He’ll lead a seasoned group of coaches as the Chihuahuas’ staff turns over completely from last year. Scott Mitchell, new to the organization will serve as pitching coach in his first year with the organization, pairing with Jimmy Jones, who has been in the system for 15 years, most at Double-A. While Mitchell is new to the Padres, he spent eight years coaching in the Marlins organization and a decade as the Pirates’ pitching coordinator.
They’ll be joined on the staff by hitting coach Raul Padron, who has been on Wellman’s staff for five years, and bench coach Brian Esposito, who joined the organization as the High-A manager last year after managing at the Triple-A level for the Pirates.
Wellman’s previous post in San Antonio will be filled by newcomer Luke Montz, who has spent his previous four years in player development with the Red Sox. The former minor league catcher will be joined by Jeff Andrews, whose nearly 30-year career as a pitching career has included stints with five clubs, including the Padres in the 1990s. He coached in the Rangers system while Preller, Chris Kemp and, other Padres executives were there.
Hitting Coach Pat O’Sullivan and bench coach Felipe Blanco, who each filled the same roles in Lake Elsinore last year, will fill out the Missions’ uniformed coaching staff. Both also worked together in short-season Tri-City to begin their affiliated coaching careers. O’Sullivan has been a popular instructor with several of the club’s hitting prospects.
The Fort Wayne TinCaps will be led by Jonathan Mathews, who, while new to the manager’s seat, spent three years as the hitting coach in Fort Wayne before serving on the Chihuahuas staff in the same capacity in 2022. He’ll lead a staff of pitching coach Carlos Chavez, hitting instructor Aaron Bray and bench coach Shane Robinson. Bray, 35, is the newcomer to the Padres organization. He spent his first coaching season in affiliated ball last year with the Red Sox.
Robinson, who ended his playing career in 2021, spent last season on the Missions staff, while Chavez spent eight years coaching in the Oakland system before working with the Padres’ Arizona Complex League squad.
Low-A Lake Elsinore will get former manager Pete Zamora back after the long-time Padres staffer spent a year each in San Antonio and El Paso. Zamora earned Cal League Manager of the Year honors in 2019 in his previous season managing the Storm.
He’ll be joined on the staff by Carlsbad native Thomas Eshelman, who pitched on Zamora’s San Antonio staff last year. The 28-year-old righty was originally a third-round draft pick of the Astros and pitched for the Orioles in parts of three seasons relying on command and guile more than velocity. Jed Morris, who was the Padres hitting coach in the ACL last year and former TinCaps bench coach Jhonaldo Pozo each take on the same role for their first seasons with the Storm.
The Complex League club will once again be managed by Lukas Ray when they begin play in the summer. The trio of Robbie Price, LeoRosales, and Yoel Monzon will serve as pitching coaches while former Padres farmhands Miguel Del Castillo and Edinson Rincon remain on a staff that now also includes Eric Del Prado and Brian Betancourth.