The Daytona Tortugas coaching staff for the upcoming season has been announced. Manager Julio Morillo is returning for the same job that he had last season. He’ll be joined by pitching coach Willie Blair, hitting coach Nate Irving, and coaches Lenny Harris and Osmin Melendez.

Morillo is now in his 5th season with the Reds as a part of the player development staff. He played in Cincinnati’s farm system from 2010 through 2015, reaching Triple-A that season. In 2016 he joined the Reds big league club as a baseball operations assistant and also served as the Spanish language translator for the team before moving into a coaching role in 2021 when he served as the Arizona Complex League development coach. In 2022 he was the ACL Reds manager before taking the same job in Daytona last year. In his two seasons as a manager, Morillo is 88-91.

Also returning to the staff is pitching coach Willie Blair. It is his second season with the Reds organization as well as Daytona’s pitching coach. Prior to joining the Cincinnati organization he was with the Detroit Tigers organization for six seasons. Before that he worked with the San Diego Padres as a bullpen coach and a pitching coach within their farm system. Blair pitched in the big leagues in parts of 12 seasons from 1990-2001. He worked as both a reliever and a starter during his time in the majors.

Nate Irving will be joining the Tortugas staff in 2024 as a hitting coach. He has been with the organization for six years. The 2024 season will be his third season in player development – he was working with the big league staff for three years prior to that. In 2023 he was the hitting coach for the Arizona Complex League Reds. Back in 2022 he was with Chattanooga where he served as the game planning and catching coach. As a player he was a 34th round pick of Arizona out of the University of Virginia in 2014 and played for the Diamondbacks organization in 2014 and 2015 before playing three years of indy ball.

Lenny Harris is back in Daytona for the fourth time, and for his third year in a row. He was the bench coach in 2019 before returning for the 2022 and 2023 seasons. The 2024 campaign will be his eighth season in Reds player development. Prior to joining Cincinnati as a coach he worked for the Miami Marlins, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Washington Nationals in a variety of coaching roles. As a player he spent parts of 18 seasons in Major League Baseball – including seven years with the Reds.

Osmin Melendez is a newcomer to Daytona after serving as a coach with Dayton in 2023 – his first year with the Reds organization. Prior to joining the Reds he worked in player development for both the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates in a variety of roles. As a player he spent two years in the Baltimore Orioles farm system.

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Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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20 Responses

  1. MK

    4 Coaches and a Manager seems to be a new approach. Typically the last few years it has been three coaches and it hasn’t been real long since there was just two. The majors has 10 uniformed staff and it always seemed to me the minor league players needed more coaches than big leagues. This is a positive move.

    • Doug Gray

      Last year Daytona actually had six coaches (the other full season teams had five). They had the manager, pitching coach, hitting coach, two “coaches”, and then a performance coach. The ACL Reds have seven – manager, two pitching coaches, two hitting coaches, a “coach”, and a performance coach.

      • Doc

        What, no spitting coach? How do they ever learn? Leslie Nielson must be very disappointed.

  2. DaveCT

    Big plus IMO to have a Spanish speaking manager at Daytona, with all the Latino kids going into their first year of full season ball, which is tough enough for an 18 year old as it is.

  3. Stock

    Last week there was a blog ranking the Reds organizations pitching close to the bottom of list by baseball america (I think).

    I decided to look at the last 35 years and determine which time periods were strong and which were weak.

    I broke it into four different time frames.

    1990 – 2001 – 12 Years – Marge Schott years. Why pay scouts. All they do is sit and watch baseball games.

    2002 – 2007 – 6 Years – Carl Lindor years. I bought this to keep the team in Cincinnati. I will hire scouts to do what they do best.

    2008 – 2016 – 9 years – Early Bob years. I’m hiring friends and family.

    2017 – 2024 – 8 years – Bob gets his act together. I know 2024 hasn’t even started yet but I am pretty stoked about it already so it is included here. Also too early to judge 2022 – 2024

    It is probably too early to judge 2020 and 2021 but McLain and Abbott forced the issue last summer.

  4. Stock

    The Marge Schott years.

    12 years. 10 players had a WAR greater than 2 from what I found. I do not claim to have missed several players.

    Classes in the top 10 at this point.

    #10 – 1990 – Total WAR 14.3 – Dan Wilson 14.3
    #8 – 1995 – Total WAR 26 – Brett Tomko 16.4, Jason LaRue 9.6
    #2 – 1998 – Total WAR 53.3 – Adam Dunn 25.6, Austin Kearns 16.7, BJ Ryan 11 (Todd Coffey just missed at 1.9)

    Total WAR of 12 Classes – 121.8 (Average 10.15/year)

    The Players:

    25+: Adam Dunn
    10 – 25: Austin Kearns, BJ Ryan, Brett Tomko, Aaron Boone and Dan Wilson
    5 – 10: Jason LaRue, Scott Williamson and Pokey Reese
    2 – 5: Scott Sullivan

    • Reaganspad

      I really though Brett Tomko was going to have a nice career

  5. Stock

    The Carl Lindor Years:

    6 years. 12 players had a WAR greater than 2 from what I found. I do not claim to have missed several players.

    Classes in the top 10 at this point.

    #9 – 2006 – Total WAR – Drew Stubbs 11.8 and Chris Heisey 4.8
    #6 – 2005 – Total WAR 33.2 – Jay Bruce 20.3, Travis Wood 8.7, Sam LeCure 2.1 and Adam Rosales 2.1
    #4 – 2004 – Total WAR 48.2 – Johnny Cueto 31.7 and Homer Bailey 16.5
    #3 – 2007 – Total WAR 49.2 – Todd Frazier 24.6, Didi Gregorius 12.5, Zack Cozart 10 and Devin Mesoraco 2.1
    #2 – 2002 – Total WAR 58.3 – Joey Votto 58.3

    Total WAR of 6 Classes – 209.2 (Average 34.87/year)

    The Players:

    25+: Joey Votto and Johnny Cueto
    10 – 25: Homer Bailey, Jay Bruce, Didi Gregorius Drew Stubbs and Zack Cozart
    5 – 10: Travis Wood
    2 – 5: Chris Dickerson, Sam LeCure, Adam Rosales, Chris Heisey and Devin Mesoraco

    • Reaganspad

      Drew Stubbs…. So much to be written once he consistently produces

  6. Stock

    Bob’s early years years.

    9 years. 10 players had a WAR greater than 2 from what I found. I do not claim to have missed several players.

    Classes in the top 10 at this point.

    #7 – 2009 – Total WAR 29.9 – Mike Leake 18.2, Billy Hamilton 11.7
    #5 – 2010 – Total WAR 37.4 – Yasmani Grandal 37.4

    Total WAR of 9 Classes thus far – 92.5 (Average 10.28/year).

    Players still active:

    The Players: Billy Hamilton, Yasmani Grandal, Robert Stephenson, Jesse Winker, Mike Lorenzen, Tyler Stephenson and Alexis Diaz

    Prospects or players who may eventually have a WAR of 2.

    Tony Santillian, Jimmy Herget, Vladimir Gutierrez and Taylor Trammell

    25+: Yasmani Grandal
    10 – 25: Mike Leake, Billy Hamilton
    5 – 10: Jesse Winker, Mike Lorenzen
    2 – 5: Yonder Alonso, Robert Stephenson, Tony Cingrani, Tyler Stephenson, Alexis Diaz

  7. Stock

    Bob’s has figured it out years.

    12 players have played in the majors. At least 2 players in every year between 2017 and 2021.

    Classes in the top 10 at this point.

    None. But the 2017 class should be at the end of the year if Greene and Friedl stay healthy in 2024

    Total WAR of 7/8 Classes thus far – 25.5 (Average: Way too early).

    All players still active.

    Prospects or players who may eventually have a WAR of 2.

    2017: Jeter Downs, Jacob Weatherrly and Jose Barrero
    2018: Lyon Richardson, Mike Siani and Noah Davis
    2019: Rece Hinds
    2020: TJ Hopkins, Jacob Hurtubise, Bryce Bonnin, Christian Roa and Jackson Miller
    2021: Carlos Jorge, Leonardo Balcazar, Blake Dunn, Julian Aguiar, Jay Allen, Matheu Nelson, Javi Rivera and Mike Trautwein
    2022: Cam Collier, Ricardo Cabrera, Sal Stewart, Esmith Pineda and Cade Hunter
    2023: Rhett Lowder, Alfredo Duno, Ty Floyd, Sammy Stafura, Sheng-En Lin, Ethan O’Donnell, Cole Schoenwetter, Connor Burns and Hunter Hollin
    2024: Nick Kurtz or JJ Wetherholt, Adolfo Sanchez, Naibel Mariano and hopefully many more.

    Where are they thus far in WAR (2024 Steamer projected WAR in ()

    5 – 10: TJ Friedl (2.2)
    2 – 5: Hunter Greene (2.7), Jonathan India (1.4), Graham Ashcraft (1.9), Matt McLain (3.3) and Andrew Abbott (2.1)
    0 – 2: Stuart Fairchild (0.1), Elly De La Cruz (1.9), Josiah Gray (1.1), Nick Lodolo (2.3) and Carson Spiers (0.1)

    Total projected 2024 WAR for these players is 19.1

    It would take only 5 years to pass the Schott and Early Bob classes but 10 to surpass the Lindor class. That said there are more prospects coming and these will improve from year to year. So I think 10 years from now this class will be superior to the Lindor class. I really like the 2021 and 2023 classes and I think I will like the 2024 class.

    • Stock

      Just for fun. Here are my predictions for Final WAR:

      25+: Greene, Friedl, EDLC, McLain, Collier, Cabrera, Duno and (Kurtz or Wetherholt)
      10 – 25: India, Lodolo, Abbott, Dunn, Stewart and Lowder
      5 – 10: Gray, Aguiar and O’Donnell
      2 – 5: Fairchild, Richardson, Hurtubise, Roa, Balcazar, Floyd and Matheu Nelson

      This puts the future WAR of these 8 classes at more than 300.

    • DaveCT

      Stock I wrote a similar post on RLN the other day, on the organizational pitching development history article. Mine had a different emphasis, that being Reds strategies and practices, so it’s an interesting complement here.

      “Walt Jockety’s “trading for players close to the major leagues,” in the previous rebuild was an utter failure. Worse, it was a false attempt at a rebuild because management didn’t have the commitment to rebuilding. It was “retooling” or whatever milquetoast excuse they had.

      Bryan Price may have had success as a ML pitching coach, but the overall pitching development program was an old school disjointed approach of letting the various pitching coaches at every level try working with the pitching staffs. There was little to no philosophy, strategy or practices or procedures. It was essentially make it up as you went along. If you doubt this, just find the Robert Stephenson quote where he had been left at AAA to figure it out on his own. As a Reds fan, that is heartbreaking.

      What DJ has done, post Boddy, as organization pitching director/coordinator (and with the departed Caleb Catham) is implement a top-to-bottom pitching development PROGRAM. If you dig around and look at coach and pitcher interviews, you will find references to a much more extensive commitment to video, for instance. Further, and this is key — all coaching hires and players had to be totally committed to the methods. If they weren’t, c’ya. We also became much, much better at identifying pitching talent to be acquired. We are now in the 4th year of the program.

      Other than Antone and, for half a season, Lively, none of those cited from the 2012 era will see the mound for the Reds. What this means to me is that we should not evaluate anything more than the past 4 years development and the last 7 years (Hunter Greene) drafting/signing/trading as a current measure of where the organization is currently. We already know the old measures. We can use them as prior standards to, hopefully, leave in the dust.

      If you keep in mind that there is also in place a parallel top-to-bottom hitting development PROGRAM, for the first time ever, breaking from the archaic past, then look at the wealth of talent overflowing the system, it’s almost humanly impossible not to be optimistic. This isn’t laissez fire coaching and player development as per 2012. It’s industry standard 2024, if not more.”