The news has been coming out in drabs and dribbles for a couple of weeks, but we’re now all set with the Mariners’ Player Development staff for 2023. This includes everyone tasked with helping minor-leaguers develop, from the more big-picture focused program designers to the affiliate coaches who work directly with players on a daily basis. Those new to the organization are marked with a star (*).
Player Development Coordinators, Coaches, and Strategists:
Rather than having a “home base” at any one affiliate, these are the folks who are mostly headquartered at the complex in Peoria, at T-Mobile Park, or spend time jumping from affiliate to affiliate. In general, their role is more big-picture and concerned with overall implementation, consistency, and communication across all levels rather than the day-to-day of helping individual players, although that’s certainly a piece as well, and you’ll find many players at the major-league level who attribute their success to working with some of the people on this list, many of whom are returning to the organization.
Louis Boyd, Field Coordinator: The Mariners love Boyd, who they drafted out of Arizona in 2017 and who played as a Mariners farmhand until making the switch to a player/coach role in 2019, for his ability to relate to players with his recent, relevant playing experience and the way he embodies the principles of Mariners baseball. They’ve promoted him up the chain rapidly, and he now enters his second year as Field Coordinator, a role previously held by the similarly-beloved Carson Vitale.
Austin Knight, Field Coordinator (Latin America): This will be Knight’s seventh season with the Mariners but his first in a more managerial role as the Field Coordinator for the DSL complex. Last year Knight managed the Low-A Modesto Nuts; this year, he returns to the DR, where he managed the DSL team in 2019. Players under his tutelage speak fondly of Knight, especially Jonatan Clase, who credits Knight’s leadership for helping him transform from an under-the-radar signing to one of the organization’s top prospects.
CJ Gillman, Hitting Coordinator: Gillman, returning for his second season, is proof the Mariners don’t just poach Reds players but their coaches, too, as he got his start in pro ball in the same role with Cincinnati. Prior to that, he was an Assistant Coach at the United States Air Force Academy while also working in recruiting from 2014-2019.
Tyger Pederson, Assistant Hitting Coordinator*: The brother of Champ and Joc, Pederson has been with the Cardinals for the past few seasons; before that, he coached for MLB development programs in Taiwan.
Max Weiner, Pitching Coordinator: The wunderkind of the Mariners’ pitching development program, now entering his fifth season with the team, Weiner was recently named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list for sports.
Matt Pierpont, Assistant Pitching Coordinator: Pierpont, a longterm Rockies farmhand (2013-2019), receives a promotion from High-A Everett Pitching Coordinator to an organization-wide one.
Zac Livingston, Catching Coordinator: After a long tenure coaching the Mariners’ complex team in Arizona, last season Livingston filled the role vacated by former catching coordinator Tony Arnerich when he was promoted to the big-league club; he will return in that role this season.
Stephanie Hale, Mental Skills Coordinator: Hale has been a Mental Skills Coach with the organization for a couple of seasons but receives a promotion to the Coordinator role in the Mental Skills department. She gets high praise from players who have worked with her, like Double-A pitcher Travis Kuhn, who credits Hale with helping him regulate stress during the season.
Mat Snider, Player Development Coordinator: Despite this being his fifth season in the organization, I’m ashamed to say I don’t know much about Mat Snider other than his awesome Instagram handle (@snidepiece22). I also think his dad has a Twitter with the equally-excellent handle “OlderMatSnider.”
Ryan McLaughlin, Player Development Coordinator: McLaughlin gets a promotion after spending time working with various affiliates as a hitting coach; the Mariners hired him as a 23-year-old prior to the 2021 season when he was fresh out of NYU (Go Violets!).
Adam Bernero, Mental Skills Coach: When I ask Mariners minor-leaguers about who helps them on the mental skills side, the first name out of their mouths is often Bernero, who both has a Masters in Sports Psychology from the University of Denver and pitched over parts of seven MLB seasons, making him a unique blend of someone with both a deep study of the subject and someone who has literally stood in the shoes of the players he’s helping.
Kellen Lee, Mental Skills Coach*: Lee was previously with the Giants as a Mental Skills coach before coming to the Mariners, where he helped support former Mariner/now-Giants Braden Bishop and his brother Hunter in their #4MOM charity work for Alzheimer’s. His younger brother is Astros catching prospect Korey Lee.
Ed Paparella, Hitting Strategist: Paparella enters his third season with the organization. Hitting nerds will enjoy his Twitter, which is chock-full of hitting analysis and observations (@pap_swings).
Ken Roberts, Pitching Strategist: Roberts begins his second season with the organization; he got some big-league cups of coffee in 2015 with the Rockies after being drafted by the team in 2010.
The Mariners will also continue to employ former players as Special Assignment Coordinators: Alvin Davis, Mike Cameron, Hisashi Iwakuma, Franklin Gutiérrez, and Dan Wilson will all continue in their roles working with big-leaguers and minor-leaguers alike.
High Performance Staff:
The High Performance Staff includes trainers, strength and conditioning coaches, sports science analysts and mental health coordinators. The department is overseen by Senior Director of High Performance Rob Scheidegger, who was a new hire in 2021 after spending nearly 20 years in UW’s athletics department, where he rose to the role of Head Athletic Trainer after working with both the softball and football programs. Scheidegger, who got his bachelor’s degree at CWU, is responsible for managing the medical and athletic training staffs, and supervises almost all other aspects of player development (strength & conditioning, sports science and performance nutrition) throughout the organization.
Department of Sports Science:
Kate Weiss (Director of Sports Science); Devon Silver (Biomechanics and Sports Science Analyst, Minor Leagues)
After being promoted to the role of Director in 2021, Weiss begins her third season with the Mariners organization, having previously worked as a Sports Science Coordinator with the Dodgers. Her responsibilities include collecting and distributing all high-performance data (player health, readiness, performance, nutrition, everything). Silver begins his first season as a Sports Science Analyst after interning with the club for the past two seasons. He specializes in working with motion capture equipment and throwing biomechanics.
Kyle Torgerson (Head Athletic Trainer); Taylor Bennett (Assistant Athletic Trainer); Kevin Orloski (Assistant Athletic Trainer); Kazuhiro Yamamoto (Manual Therapist); Michael Feliciano (Minor League Athletic Training Coordinator)
Torgerson, who grew up in Edmonds and attended UW for his bachelor’s in Physiology, returns for his fourth season with the club; he previously worked with the D-Backs for seven seasons and has the Taijuan Walker seal of approval. Bennett, whose career with the Mariners began right up the road from T-Mobile at Everett, enters his third season with the club, as does Orloski, a ten-year vet of the Dodgers organization. Feliciano enters his fifth year with the Mariners; of Puerto Rican heritage, his dad is a big Edgar fan, and we love that. Yamamoto returns for his second season with the club; his training resume includes disciplines as diverse as theatre and dance, along with swimming, diving, and women’s rugby. Yamamoto, who trained at Ritsumeikan University in his native Japan, specializes in Japanese Seitai, a traditional form of manual therapy in which the soft tissue is manipulated along key pressure points, similar to shiatsu massage, allowing the body to self-heal.
Strength and Conditioning:
Matt Rutledge* (Major League Head Strength & Conditioning Coach); Derek Cantieni (Major League Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach)
The lone new hire out of this group, Rutledge comes to the Mariners organization after three years with the Yankees. Cantieni, a former Padres farmhand, begins his sixth season with the club.
John Walker (Manager of Rehabilitation/Return To Play); Cristian Guzman (Mental Health Coordinator, Minor League); Jeff Mathers (Minor League Performance Coordinator)
Walker has over 20 years of experience as a physical therapist, and began his career with the Reds, so obviously he’s a Mariner now. This will be his fifth season with Seattle. Guzman spent three years with the Mets as a bilingual Mental Performance Coach before coming to Seattle in the 2022 season as a Peak Performance Coach. Mathers spent six seasons with the Tigers organization before joining up with the Mariners in 2019; his hometown of Elmira, NY declared October 11, 2018 “Jeff Mathers Day” to celebrate him making his big-league debut as part of the Tigers’ major-league coaching staff. Fun fact: Elmira is just 10 minutes away from Horseheads, NY, hometown of Mariners prospect Michael Limoncelli, whose TJ rehab Mathers helped supervise.
Coaches for specific affiliates will be published in a later article and linked here.