The Wichita Wind Surge announced today in conjunction with the Miami Marlins its inaugural coaching staff for the 2020 season.
Keith Johnson been named the first manager in Wind Surge history and will be joined on the coaching staff by pitching coach Jeremy Powell, hitting coach Justin Mashore, defensive coach Danny Black, bullpen coach Esmerling De La Rosa, athletic trainer Greg Harrel, and strength and conditioning coach Robert Reichert.
Johnson has accumulated 752 career wins as a manager, two-thirds of which have come at the Triple-A level in seven seasons at the helm of the Salt Lake Bees and this past season managing the New Orleans Baby Cakes. Johnson debuted as a manager in 2008, the first of three seasons managing at the Single-A level in the Angels organization, culminating in a California League Championship Series appearance with Rancho Cucamonga in 2010. The 2013 Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year, Johnson compiled a 468-504 record as the Bees manager. In 2019 he managed New Orleans to a 73-65 record and then led a team full of prospects The Salt River Rafters to the Arizona Fall League title. A fourth-round selection by the Dodgers in the 1992 draft, Johnson spent the final two seasons of his 12-year playing career in Salt Lake, having reached the majors with the Anaheim Angels in 2000.
“We are honored by the Miami Marlins commitment to Wichita and welcome KJ and his staff to this great baseball city as we open this beautiful new ballpark,” said Lou Schwechheimer, Managing General Partner of the Wind Surge. “We remain committed to fulfilling our role in Player Development for the Marlins and look forward to an exciting season for all.”
Powell returns to the Marlins Triple-A club for his third season as pitching coach and his ninth season in the Marlins system. He previously had two-year stints at Single-A Advanced Jupiter, where his 2017 pitching staff ranked second in the Florida State League in ERA and shutouts, as well as Single-A Greensboro and the Gulf Coast League rookie-level affiliate after making his coaching debut in 2010 in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. Selected by the Montreal Expos in the fourth round in 1994, Powell pitched in parts of three seasons (1998-2000) in Montreal before playing in Japan for Nippon Professional Baseball from 2001-08, where he recorded four seasons with at least 10 victories.
Mashore returns to the Marlins Triple-A club for his second season. He spent seven seasons in the Texas Rangers organization, the last three of which were spent as the major league assistant hitting coach. After four years in the minors, including 2014-15 at Triple-A with Round Rock, Mashore helped the 2015 Rangers become the first team in MLB history to have nine players hit at least 17 home runs. He started his coaching career in 2003 in the Toronto Blue Jays system following an 11-year playing career, which began in 1991 when he was a third-round draft pick of the Detroit Tigers.
Black begins his first season as Defensive Coach for Wichita, he has worked as the defensive coach each of the last three seasons with the Marlins Class A affiliate in Jupiter, Florida. He was selected by the Marlins in the 14th round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Oklahoma.
Black played for six seasons in the club’s Minor League system. He was named an MiLB.com Organizational All-Star in 2011 and 2012 and was named a Florida State League All-Star in 2012.
De La Rosa begins his first season as a bullpen coach. He began his coaching career last season with Class AA Jacksonville in the Marlins organization. De La Rosa was signed as a free agent of the Marlins in 2009 and played eight seasons in the minors as a pitcher.
In his second stint in the Marlins organization, Harrel is back for his fourth season with Marlins Triple A club, following 10 years in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, the last two of which were spent with Triple-A Oklahoma City. He was on the Dodgers' major league training staff from 2012-13, and previously worked as the Marlins' Triple-A athletic trainer in Albuquerque in 2004.
Reichert has served as a strength and conditioning coach in the Marlins organization since 2012 after receiving a kinesiology degree from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, and was with Double-A Jacksonville in 2016-17 and spent the last two seasons with Triple-A New Orleans.
Wichita opens the 2020 campaign in Round Rock on April 9 and will play its first home game on April 14 against Memphis. Season Tickets are on sale now. Fans can purchase mini ticket packages starting on February 4 and single game tickets will go on sale in early March. For additional information visit the team’s website at www.windsurge.com or call 316.221.8000.