The Astros announced their new-look coaching staff for the 2019 season Wednesday — including a series of hires necessitated by the loss of three coaches being hired away by other organizations. Last season’s first base coach, Alex Cintron, will shift to the role of hitting coach — a role he’ll share with Troy Snitker (the son of Braves manager Brian Snitker). Houston also announced the hiring of Don Kelly as the new first base coach and Josh Miller as the team’s bullpen coach.
Cintron, 40 next month, is entering his third season as a coach at the Major League level — each of which has come with the Astros. A veteran of nine Major League seasons as a player, he’s previously worked as the team’s first base coach and as a Spanish translator/advance scout/assistant coach on A.J. Hinch’s 2016 staff. He’ll pair with Snitker to comprise a duo of hitting coaches. Snitker, somewhat remarkably, is just 29 years of age and is moving up from Double-A Corpus Christi, where he served as the Hooks’ hitting coach.
Kelly, too, should be a familiar name for baseball fans, having spent nine seasons in the Majors himself. From 2007-16, the now 38-year-old Kelly played every position on the diamond (including pitcher) while serving as a super-utility player — primarily for the Tigers. His playing career ended quite recently, but he’s already spent two seasons on the Tigers’ pro scouting staff prior to taking this role — his first as a coach.
The 39-year-old Miller was Houston’s minor league pitching coordinator in 2018 — his third season in that role. He’s also worked as a scout for the club and as a minor league pitching coach.
Houston’s coaching staff took a hit this offseason, as three of their coaches took a promotion to join a new organization. Former assistant hitting coach Jeff Albert was hired by the Cardinals as their hitting coach, while bullpen coach Doug White was hired as the new pitching coach for the division-rival Angels. Hitting coach Dave Hudgens, meanwhile, was hired by the Blue Jays as the bench coach under newly minted manager Charlie Montoyo.