The Nationals announced a flurry of new coaching and organizational hires this morning. Per the club’s official announcement, the club has hired more than twenty additional staff members, including to fill fourteen new roles added to their system. The hirings of fifteen-year big-league veteran Coco Crisp (as outfield/baserunning coordinator) and 2003 AL batting champ Bill Mueller (as quality control coordinator) were reported last night (via Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post).
The expansion follows a trend in the game that has seen clubs invest substantial resources in support staff, particularly in player development. Among others, the new roles in the organization in 2022 include mental skills coordinator, nutritionist, lower level pitching and hitting coordinators, and a developmental coach at each of the Nats’ four minor league affiliates as well as in the Florida Complex League and the Dominican Summer League.
As Dougherty notes in a piece for the Post, the Nationals ranked dead-last in staff size in 2021, with vacancies even at several MLB-standard positions, including catching coordinator. The club also didn’t have a single full-time staffer assigned to handle its video needs, with the video work necessary for advanced scouting left to an intern at each affiliate. While the blame for a long-barren farm system (commonly ranked among the worst in the game before the Max Scherzer/Trea Turner blockbuster at the 2021 deadline netted a return that included high-end prospects Keibert Ruiz and Josiah Gray) lies at least in part on trades that shipped out Lucas Giolito, Jesus Luzardo, and others to boost the big-league squad (a project that culminated in a 2019 World Series victory), a thin developmental staff can’t have helped.
Notable hires throughout the system include Joel Hanrahan, whose seven seasons in the bigs included parts of three in DC, as the pitching coach at Low-A Fredericksburg; Delwyn Young, who spent parts of five seasons with the Dodgers and Pirates, as the hitting coach at Fredericksburg; and Dave Jauss, who’s been a big-league assistant with the Pirates, Orioles, Dodgers, and Red Sox and served as the Mets bench coach in 2021, as senior adviser for player development. A full accounting of the Nationals’ non-major league staff can be found in this thread from Jessica Camerato of MLB.com.