The San Diego Padres today announced the coaching staffs for their minor league affiliates for the 2019 season, and for the first time in Fort Wayne’s 27-year franchise history, the TinCaps will return their entire coaching staff from one season to the next.
Anthony Contreras, 35, is set to manage the TinCaps for a fourth consecutive year. After guiding the ’Caps to the 2017 Midwest League Championship Series, he now will become the franchise’s first manager to lead the team for more than three seasons.
Burt Hooton, who will be 69 years young by opening night, comes back for his seventh campaign as the team’s pitching coach. The former Major League All-Star and World Series champion is the only Fort Wayne coach to serve more than four seasons with the club.
Jonathan Mathews, the Iowa native who will be 47 come April, is on board for his second year as the team’s hitting coach.
Jhonny Carvajal, 45, is also returning for his third go-around as fielding coach.
Meanwhile, Allyse Kramer enters her third season as the team’s athletic trainer and Sam Hoffman rejoins the crew for his second stint as strength coach.
“Our organization is thrilled to welcome everyone back,” TinCaps President Mike Nutter said. “It’s great for us to know that not only will we have a group capable of developing future major league players, but also one that appreciates Fort Wayne and is committed to giving back to the fans in our community.”
In 2018, the TinCaps featured a historically young team for the Midwest League and, despite a multitude of significant injuries, came within a game of reaching the playoffs for what would have been the ninth time in 10 years. The team produced four Midwest League All-Stars (C Luis Campusano, LHP Nick Margevicius, LHP Aaron Leasher, and LHP Travis Radke) as well as the MWL’s Left-Handed Pitcher of the Year (Osvaldo Hernandez) and Lefty Reliever of the Year (Radke). Fort Wayne’s fluid roster of 55 players over the course of the season included 18 players who were still teenagers during the season. (The average age for a Midwest League player is 21.) Hooton’s pitching staff boasted the best strikeout to walk ratio in the league and also had the lowest walk rate.
“I’m extremely excited to be back in Fort Wayne to lead another talented group of young men,” Contreras said. “I’m very fortunate to be back with my whole staff from last season and to work alongside Mike Nutter and his first-class staff at Parkview Field.”
The Padres, who have been affiliated with Fort Wayne since the 1999 season, will reveal the TinCaps’ 2019 roster at the conclusion of Spring Training in late March. Baseball America, MLB.com, and others regard San Diego’s farm system as the best in the sport.
“We’re excited to announce our 2019 TinCaps coaching staff led by Anthony Contreras,” said Sam Geaney, Director of Player Development for the Padres. “AC returns his coaching staff and we look forward to sending another talented group of young players to Parkview Field.”
Up-and-coming top Padres prospects who potentially could appear with the TinCaps in 2019 include first-round draft pick Ryan Weathers, a 19-year-old left-handed starting pitcher, and 19-year-old shortstop Xavier Edwards, another top 40 selection from last year’s draft.
The TinCaps open their 2019 season on Thursday, April 4 (7:05 pm) at Parkview Field against the Lansing Lugnuts (Toronto Blue Jays affiliate). Season tickets and group outings are currently available for purchase. Tickets to individual games will go on sale in mid-February. Click here for more information on tickets.
2019 Fort Wayne TinCaps Coaching Staff
Manager: Anthony Contreras
Pitching Coach: Burt Hooton
Hitting Coach: Jonathan Mathews
Fielding Coach: Jhonny Carvajal
Athletic Trainer: Allyse Kramer
Strength Coach: Sam Hoffman
More Notes on the 2019 TinCaps Coaching Staff
· Contreras: The only former Fort Wayne player to return to the team as manager… Played for the Fort Wayne Wizards in 2008… An infielder, drafted by the San Francisco Giants out of San José State in 2005 (9th round)… Played in San Francisco’s organization from 2005-2007 and then in the San Diego Padres’ organization from 2008-13, reaching as high as Triple-A… Began coaching career in 2014 and became manager of the Rookie-Level Arizona League Padres… Managed the Short-Season A Tri-City Dust Devils to the Northwest League Finals in 2015… Through his first four seasons as a skipper, has had 10 former players reach the major leagues
· Hooton: This will be his 44th year in professional baseball… Second overall pick of the 1971 Draft out of the University of Texas at Austin… Selected by the Chicago Cubs… Pitched for the Cubs (1971-75), Los Angeles Dodgers (1975-84), and Texas Rangers (1985)… National League All-Star, MVP of the National League Championship Series, and World Series champion in 1981… Threw a no-hitter for the Cubs against the Philadelphia Phillies in his fourth career start on April 16, 1972… Known for his knuckle curve pitch… After finishing playing career, completed degree at Texas, then began coaching career in 1988… Has coached at every level from Short-Season A through the big leagues… Pitching coach for the Houston Astros from 2000-04… Past pupils include Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens, and Billy Wagner… Has been in uniform for more than 6,400 games across his career in MLB, MiLB, and NCAA
· Mathews: On San Diego’s big league staff in 2017… Previously a coach in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ farm system. For the D-Backs, served as a hitting coach for the Midwest League’s Kane County Cougars in 2016 and South Bend in ’14… In between stints in the Midwest League, was the Diamondbacks’ Advanced-A hitting coach with the Visalia Rawhide in 2015… Served as a coach for the Baltimore Orioles’ Class A Delmarva Shorebirds in 2013… Spent 14 years as an assistant coach at Indian Hills Junior College in Ottumwa, Iowa (1999-2012), where he also taught economics… In Minnesota Twins organization, was manager for Rookie-level Elizabethton Twins from 1998-99 and hitting coach for Advanced-A Fort Myers in 1997 on a team that included David Ortiz, A.J. Pierzynski, and Jacque Jones… Part-time coach at the University of Iowa from 1995-96… Earned a master’s in athletic administration at Iowa in 2000…. Was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 42nd round of the 1994 MLB Draft…. Played for Colorado’s Arizona League affiliate and Short-Season A affiliate in ’94… Father (Rick) is a longtime scout/coach with the Rockies
· Carvajal: Infield Coach for the Dominican Summer League Padres in 2016… Native of Venezuela… Played primarily second base, third base, and shortstop in Minor League Baseball from 1993-2003, reaching as high as Triple-A… Played for the Cincinnati Reds, Montreal Expos, Arizona Diamondbacks, and San Francisco Giants’ organizations… Also played professionally in Italy as recently as 2011
· Kramer: First female athletic trainer in franchise history… Spent 2016 with San Diego’s Short-Season A affiliate, the Tri-City Dust Devils… California native… Earned bachelor’s degree from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego… Earned a master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and worked on the Longhorns’ sports medicine staff
· Hoffman: Strength coach for the Padres’ Short-Season A affiliate, the Tri-City Dust Devils, in 2017… Wisconsin native… Previously worked in the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization from 2015-16… Earned a bachelor’s degree from Marquette and a master’s in exercise physiology at Northern Michigan University