Senior director of player development Jeff Graupe announced at the organization’s caravan stop in Florida that Pat Kelly will return as manager of the Blue Wahoos.

“[I’ll] let the cat out of the bag a little bit before we’re going to announce everything, but he will be back,” Graupe told Pensacola season ticket holders. “He’s one of the managers in our system that I never worry about. When he’s given a plan for a player, it just gets executed.”

Kelly, a baseball lifer who has managed in the Cincinnati Reds system since 2007, posted the first winning season in the franchise’s five-year history with an 81-59 mark. The Wahoos are 144-134 in his two years at the helm, both of which were punctuated by postseason appearances.

Other minor league coaching assignments are being still finalized, including the rest of Kelly’s staff. To focus on more individualized instruction, general manager Dick Williams will add another full-time coach at every level of the minors this season.

“I think that will be really beneficial to the players’ development,” Williams said. “Major league coaching staffs have grown to seven, sometimes eight coaches; minor league staffs are typically three. To add another coach is going to be a big deal in terms of the amount of work that coaches can do with the individual players.”

The Reds have to replace hitting coordinator Ryan Jackson, who left the organization to pursue his own business, and fill at least three openings between Louisville and Billings. Roving pitching instructor Jeff Fassero assumed an interim role with the Bats when Ted Power became the Reds’ bullpen coach in July, while Joe Thurston will not return. In the same vein as last year’s pitching summit, any coaches who are new to the organization will convene in Goodyear before the first players report to camp.

“Because we’ve integrated some new coaches, we want to get them all on point and on message before they start working with the pitchers,” Williams said. “We brought in some new hitting coordinators and hitting coaches as well. We’re going to do some summits more focused on the coaching staff this year.”

About The Author

Kourage Kundahl covers the Southern League as a scouting contributor for Baseball Prospectus after writing the Pensacola Blue Wahoos’ team blog for three years. He also writes for Redleg Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @kouragekundahl.

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