Minor tweaks to White Sox minor league development staff

Omar Vizquel (Jim Margalus / Sox Machine)

There’s a lot that’s troubling and irritating about the low-and-slow nature of Major League Baseball’s hot stove, but ironically, it makes the offseason seem a lot shorter. If Manny Machado and Bryce Harper happened to sign tomorrow — and the latest tweets still fail to suggest such action is imminent — there’d only be one month until pitchers and catchers report.

The calendar isn’t waiting for the biggest free agents, so other mile markers of the offseason fly by on their independent schedules.

For instance, the White Sox announced their player development and minor-league coaching staffs for the upcoming season on Tuesday, and there aren’t any wholesale changes to report.

While Mark Grudzielanek will helm the Charlotte Knights for a second straight season, Omar Vizquel and Justin Jirschele each moved up a level. Vizquel will take over the Birmingham Barons, while Jirschele takes Vizquel’s spot in Winston-Salem. Ryan Newman, who stepped in to manage the Birmingham Barons after Julio Vinas had to step down, will slide down to Kannapolis. With Tim Esmay returning to Great Falls, Ever Magallanes is the only new stateside manager, as he’s making the jump from the Dominican team to lead the Arizona Rookie League affiliate.

The pitching coaches all remain the same …

  • Charlotte: Steve McCatty
  • Birmingham: Richard Dotson
  • Winston-Salem: Matt Zaleski
  • Kannapolis: Jose Bautista
  • Great Falls: John Ely
  • AZL: Felipe Lira

… while Kirk Champion remains the director of minor league pitching instruction, with veteran pitching coach J.R. Perdew and analytics hand Everett Teaford also in the fold.

The hitting coaches have shifted along with the managers. The assignments (with last year’s hitting coaches):

  • Charlotte: Frank Menechino (Andy Tomberlin)
  • Birmingham: Charlie Poe (Cole Armstrong)
  • Winston-Salem: Jamie Dismuke (Poe)
  • Kannapolis: Armstrong (Dismuke)
  • Great Falls: Cam Seitzer (Eric Richardson)
  • AZL: Gary Ward (Ward)

Menechino is a new name, but he’s an old farmhand. The White Sox drafted him in the 45th round of the 1993 draft, and after five seasons in the Sox system, he found a path to the majors after the A’s selected him in the minor-league phase of the Rule 5 draft. He was most recently the hitting coach for the Miami Marlins.

Seitzer, who hit his ceiling in Triple-A with the Tampa Rays before falling into an organizational player role with the White Sox, will begin his coaching career at the age of 29.

As I mentioned in last week’s P.O. Sox, the Sox added Matt Lisle to their staff to serve in the newly minted role of hitting analytics instructor.

The White Sox also added Wes Helms to the roster, but don’t let his name mislead you. Wes helms nothing. He’s merely a coach on Birmingham’s staff.

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As Cirensica

I remember Felipe Lira, he was a very successful pitcher in the Venezuelan winter league for many years but never found a foothold in the majors. Glad he is still involved in baseball.


Most of these guys have 70 grade minor league namea.

Greg Nix

The Wes Helms joke reminded of this


He’s merely a coach on Birmingham’s staff

He has to be like a second cousing to Manny or something hired to comfort him in Arizona during ST. Right? Right?