That change was just the start as the development staff begins to take on a new face. After interviewing numerous internal and external candidates, the Tigers promoted Kevin Bradshaw to fill the vacated field coordinator position.
The moves will continue as we head to the off-season, with several of the coaching staffs throughout the organization taking on a new look.
As of this time, the same coaching staff will return in Toledo. Larry Parrish will return as the club's manager, with AJ Sager and Leon "Bull" Durham as the pitching coach and hitting coach, respectively. There are still some openings for hitting coaches across the big leagues, and there is an industry-wide expectation that Durham may be considered for some of those slots.
Manager Phil Nevin and pitching coach Ray Burris will return to help the 2011 Erie SeaWolves navigate the Eastern League, and they will have a new hitting coach in tow, though that position has not been finalized at this time. In Nevin's first year at the helm in Erie, he guided the ‘Wolves to a 66-76 record, and will look to improve upon that mark in 2011.
The Lakeland coaching staff led by manager Andy Barkett will return for yet another season. In Barkett's third year as manager of the Flying Tigers, he guided his team to a winning record with a 73-65 record, despite plenty of player movement onto and off the roster. Barkett will be joined in the dugout by pitching coach Joe Coleman and hitting coach Larry Herndon.
The biggest turnover in the organization will come at the low-A level, with the West Michigan coaching staff. After three years managing the Whitecaps, Joe DePastino has accepted a new position with the organization, and he will serve as the team's roving catching coordinator.
The 2010 season was not kind to DePastino and ‘Caps fans, as the team finished below .500 for the first time since former manager Matt Walbeck's first season in 2004.
Leading the Whitecaps back to the positive side of the ledger will be former Tiger Ernie Young. The 41-year old has been working with USA Baseball over the last few years, and he will take on his first professional managing gig with the Whitecaps next season.
Young spent 17 years playing professional baseball, including one solid season with Triple-A Toledo in 2003, and a brief cameo in Detroit that same season. Though his major league exploits won't jump off the page at you, he finished his career with 319 career minor league home runs and 1,136 runs driven in.
Mark Johnson will return as the pitching coach in West Michigan, and though not yet final, it is expected that another former Tiger, Ben Oglivie, will join the organization as the hitting coach for the ‘Caps.
Oglivie was a 16-year major league veteran, spending four seasons in the big leagues with the Tigers. He finished his Tigers career with a .275/.326/.444 line in 439 games. Oglivie was named an All-Star three times in his big league career, while also earning a Silver Slugger award in 1980.
With several of these changes finalized, the Tigers 2011 development and coaching staffs are starting to come into focus, though there may still be additional changes on the horizon.