The Oakland A’s announced their 2020 player development staff on Tuesday, and there are some fun names taking on new roles.
Chief among them is Bobby Crosby, who takes over as the manager for the High-A Stockton Ports. Crosby was the A’s 1st-round draft pick in 2001 and won the Rookie of the Year with Oakland in 2004, ultimately playing eight years in the majors, mostly in green and gold. He rejoined the organization in 2018 as a coach in Double-A, but now he’ll take a step up into a managerial position, albeit one level down the minor league ladder.
Meanwhile, former fan favorite Adam Rosales also returns to the organization. He played parts of 11 seasons in the majors, including two stints with the A’s, but on Tuesday the 36-year-old announced his retirement from playing. He’ll serve as a coach for the A’s Arizona Rookie League teams. Presumably he’ll switch over to coaching a Rangers affiliate later in the season before returning to the AZL A’s to wrap up the summer, but no official word on that yet (citation needed).
Beyond those two highlights, the most significant change comes at the top, though this part was actually announced three weeks ago. After 28 years as the Director of Player Development, Keith Lieppman shifts into a Special Advisor role. The highly respected Lieppman has been a mainstay in the organization and is entering his 50th season with the A’s.
Taking over the Director role is Ed Sprague, who was previously Lieppman’s assistant and is entering his fifth season with the club. Sprague is a local product — born in Castro Valley, high school in Stockton, college at Stanford — and he briefly played for Oakland during his 11-year career. His highlights were two rings with the Blue Jays and an All-Star berth with the Pirates, but we’ll always have those 27 games in green and gold from 1998.
There are dozens of other names on the staff, but among the notables:
- Kevin Kouzmanoff moves from Low-A Vermont hitting coach to an AZL Rookie League hitting coach.
- Chris Smith is back for a second year as High-A Stockton’s pitching coach.
- Hiram Bocachica moves from managing in the AZL to coaching for Triple-A Las Vegas.
- Todd Steverson, who spent the last six seasons as the Chicago White Sox hitting coach, returns to the organization in that same role for Triple-A Las Vegas. Prior to his time in Chicago, he spent a decade coaching in the A’s system, including managing in High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A, plus two years as the A’s first-base coach in 2009-10. (Coincidentally, Steverson was replaced in Chicago by Frank Menechino, another former A’s fan favorite.)
- Many other names you may be familiar with (Grady Fuson, Gil Patterson, Steve Scarsone, Tommy Everidge, among others) are all back as well.
Welcome back to all the names above, and welcome home to Rosie!
Minor league managers
Here’s the updated list of managers for each A’s affiliate, including how many seasons they’ve been in their current position. Click the link on the year to see their full managerial resume.
- Triple-A Las Vegas: Fran Riordan (3rd year)
- Double-A Midland: Scott Steinmann (3rd year)
- High-A Stockton: Bobby Crosby (1st year)
- Single-A Beloit: Lloyd Turner (2nd year)
- Low-A Vermont: Rick Magnante (1st year)
- AZL A’s 1: Eddie Menchaca (3rd year)
- AZL A’s 2: Webster Garrison (1st year)
Regarding Magnante, this is his first year in this new role, but he’s spent 12 seasons managing A’s affiliates, including every level of A-ball. Most recently he was the California League Manager of the Year in 2018 for High-A Stockton.
Meanwhile, Garrison has also been managing in the A’s system for years and has merely moved to a new home for 2020. Last year he skippered High-A Stockton, and he’s also spent time leading Single-A Beloit, AZL Rookie League, and Double-A Midland.
As for the returners, Riordan was the Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year last summer for Vegas.
Finally, in case you missed it, last week the A’s announced their 2020 MLB coach staff under manager Bob Melvin, and you can click here to see that list.