Nats announce 14 new roles, 20 hires for player development

Mike Rizzo

The Nationals signaled a new era for their franchise last July, when they traded over 30% of their active roster to restock their farm system and shift their focus to competing in the future. Almost six months later, Washington now has the minor league staff to match.

Washington announced Tuesday a series of hires and newly created positions on their player development staff, an area of the organization that had been undermanned in recent years. According to The Washington Post, the Nationals employed the smallest player development staff of any team in baseball last season with 46 full-time staff members.

“We are incredibly excited to announce our expanded player development staff,” Director of Player Development De Jon Watson said in a statement. “We added 14 new roles and brought in more than 20 new staff members to the system. This group boasts a wealth of playing and coaching experience at both the Minor League and Major League level. The expanded resources throughout the system ensure that our players will have everything they need to develop, improve and prepare themselves for the next level.”

Among the 14 new positions is a developmental coach at each of the Nationals’ four minor-league affiliates as well as one for their Florida Complex League team. The team also hired a nutritionist (Emily Kaley), mental skills coordinator (Dana Sinclair), athletic trainer (Cesar Roman), quality control coordinator (Bill Mueller) and director of player development technology and strategy (David Longley). Former New York Mets bench coach Dave Jauss was also hired as a senior advisor under Watson.


Some familiar names for Nationals fans include Randy Knorr, a former bench coach under Davey Martinez who will now be their catching coordinator, and Bob Henley, who held jobs as both a first and third base coach in Washington but will now be field coordinator. Former Nationals pitcher Joel Hanrahan was also hired as the pitching coach at Low-A Fredericksburg and 15-year MLB veteran Coco Crisp is their new outfield/baserunning coordinator.

The sudden prioritization of player development falls in line with the Nationals’ new direction as an organization. The team will enter the 2022 season with its lowest expectations in a decade. While some of the Nationals’ trade acquisitions such as Josiah Gray and Keibert Ruiz have already reached the majors, many others still require polish in the minors — as do several of their recent top draft picks and international signings.

With a revamped player development staff, the Nationals hope to be more successful at turning prospects into major leaguers than they’ve been the last few years and construct a new core of talent that will help the organization compete for the playoffs in seasons to come.