Handicapping the Nationals’ minor league coaching staff selections for 2014 is fairly easy considering the organization’s loyalty to its managers and coaches at each level over the years.
None of these appointments have been officially announced yet, but likely will be solidified by the end of the year.
There are openings at the top levels with managers needed at Double-A and Triple-A. Double-A Harrisburg manager Matt Lecroy has already been announced as the Nationals’ new bullpen coach, while Tony Beasley takes over as field coordinator for Bobby Henley, who became the third base coach for the Nationals last month when Trent Jewett left to be the Mariners’ bench coach.
As I wrote last month, my best guess would be that Patrick Anderson would move up from the GCL Nats to low Single-A Hagerstown. The GCL Nats went 49-9 and won the championship, compiling one of the best all-time records in minor league history.
If Anderson goes to Hagerstown, I would expect Tripp Keister to move from the Suns to high Single-A Potomac. Keister was once again outstanding in getting the Suns into the postseason, his first year as skipper in Hagerstown.
The domino effect would continue in Woodbridge, Va., Brian Daubach could be promoted from high Single-A Potomac to Double-A Harrisburg as the new Senators manager. The former big leaguer has tons of experience and is valued by the players that play for him and the front office.
I have heard the organization is absolutely thrilled with the work of Gary Cathcart, who splits his duties between coordinator of instruction and manager at short-season Single-A Auburn. He takes over at Auburn in June when the draft picks arrive. I am expecting Cathcart to again be a crucial part of the Nationals coaching lineup at the minor league level.
That leaves a question mark in Syracuse. I don’t have a definite successor yet for Beasley, so I imagine this spot will be filled by someone outside of the organization.
It was an unprecedented year of success on the field for minor league players and their teams at pretty much every level last season for the Nationals, so no big shakeup is necessary with the coaching staff, and I expect a calm transition this winter. We should find out soon if my guesses are correct.