Leger Takes Helm in Savannah
The New York Mets Announce Sand Gnats 2015 Coaching Staff
Savannah, GA – The Class A Savannah Sand Gnats, together with the New York Mets, have announced the 2015 coaching staff. The new field manager will beJose Leger. Leger takes over for field manager Luis Rojas, who has been promoted to the St. Lucie Mets. Returning to the staff are pitching coach Marc Valdes, hitting coach Valentino Pascucci, and athletic trainer Eric Velazquez.Joining the staff is strength and conditioning coach Kory Wan.
Jose Leger enters his sixth season with the New York Mets and first season with the Sand Gnats. Leger spent three seasons as the manager of the Kingsport Mets (R) of the Appalachian League, where he led Kingsport to a record of 97-104. Before joining Kingsport, Leger managed the Dominican Summer League – DSL Mets 1 for two seasons. In the offseason, Leger was the third base coach with Estrellas Orientales in the Dominican Winter League.
Before his coaching career, Leger spent time as a player in the Minnesota Twins minor league system. Leger attended Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Ga., from 2003-2004, where he was named to the All-Conference team both years. Leger is a native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where he resides with his wife, Estela, and their two sons.
Pitching coach Marc Valdes enters his ninth year in the Mets organization and his fourth overall in Savannah. Valdes spent 2009 and 2010 with the Savannah Sand Gnats. Valdes returns for the second consecutive year after spending 2014 with the Gnats. Between stints in Savannah, Valdes spent time coaching with the Brooklyn Cyclones of the New York-Penn League in 2013 and the Double-A Binghamton Mets of the Eastern League in 2012. Valdes, a Tampa, Fla., native, pitched in the Majors for the Florida Marlins, Montreal Expos, and Atlanta Braves. Valdes also pitched in Japan for the Hanshin Tigers and Chunichi Dragons of the Nippon Professional Baseball League. He played college ball at the University of Florida and was the Marlins’ First Round draft pick in 1993.
Hitting coach Valentino Pascucci enters his second season in coaching and second with the Savannah Sand Gnats. Pascucci’s playing career lasted 13 years and included a stint in the Japan Pacific League. Pascucci was drafted in 1999 out of the University of Oklahoma by the Montreal Expos. The 6'6” outfielder and first baseman hit his way to the majors in 2004 with the Expos and again in 2011 with the Mets. Pascucci, a Bellflower, Calif., native, won the 2012 Triple-A All Star Game Home Run Derby as a member of the Buffalo Bisons.
Athletic trainer Eric Velazquez enters his fifth season with the Mets organization and second in Savannah. Velazquez spent time working with the Brooklyn Cyclones during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Velazquez brought championship experience with him when he joined the staff last season. He was the trainer with the Dominican National Championship and Caribbean World Series winning Leones del Escogido. Velazquez is a native of Los Angeles, CA and resides in Round Rock, Texas.
Strength and conditioning coach Kory Wan will begin his second season with the New York Mets organization and first season with the Savannah Sand Gnats. Wan spent 2014 with Leger and the Kingsport Mets as their strength and conditioning coach. Originally from Tampa, Fla., Wan graduated from Saint Leo University and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.
Luis Rojas led the Savannah Sand Gnats to a record of 231-179 (.554) in his three years as manager. In 2014, Rojas earned his best record while in Savannah (81-51). Rojas managed the 2013 Savannah Sand Gnats to their first title in 17 years defeating the Hagerstown Suns, three games to one, in a best-of-five series. Rojas is set to begin his first season with the St. Lucie Mets of the Florida State League