The Kingsport Mets, the rookie level affiliate of the New York Mets will name Luis Rivera as their manager for the 2016 season. The team’s staff will also feature pitching coach Royce Ring and hitting coach Ender Chavez. Rivera led the K-Mets to a 40-28 (.588) record in the Appalachian League last season, good for first place in the West Division.
Rivera, 32, will begin his seventh season as a coach in the Mets organization this year. Before becoming Kingsport’s skipper in 2015, he served as the short-season hitting coordinator from 2012 to 2014. Rivera, a native of Puerto Rico, joined Kingsport for the 2011 season as their hitting coach. In 2010, he spent time with Savannah (A) as a player and coach. In his playing career as an infielder, Rivera was with the Mets for four seasons, after spending a season and a half in the Chicago Cubs system. He had 136 at bats with Buffalo (AAA) in 2009, and hit one home run in 347 career games.
In 2015, Rivera enjoyed great success with Kingsport. Aside from finishing with the second best record in the league, he aided in the development of top Mets prospects, such as Luis Carpio and Milton Ramos, and 2015 draftees Patrick Mazeika and Kevin Kaczmarski, both of whom were named co-recipients of the Sterling Award for the team.
Ring, 35, enters his third season as a coach in professional baseball, all with the Mets. He spent all of the 2014 and 2015 seasons instructing the pitchers in Port St. Lucie with the Gulf Coast Mets (R). Ring pitched parts of five seasons in the major leagues from 2006 to 2010, two of which were spent with the Mets. Originally selected by the Chicago White Sox in the first round of the 2002 draft, Ring was dealt to the Mets along with two other players in exchange for 2011 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Roberto Alomar.
In the offseason following the 2006 season, Ring and fellow reliever Heath Bell were sent to the San Diego Padres. Ring would pitch 15 games for the Padres in 2007 before being traded to the Atlanta Braves at the trade deadline, where he played in 2008. His last gig in organized baseball was with the independent Long Island Ducks in 2013, where he was reunited with former Mets batterymate Ramon Castro.
Chavez, the younger brother of former Met hero Endy Chavez, will spend his sixth season as a coach with the Mets in 2016. The 34-year-old spent the previous three seasons as the Gulf Coast Mets (R) hitting coach, and served in the same capacity with the Dominican Summer League Mets (R) from in 2011 and 2012. He played in the minor leagues as an outfielder from 2001 to 2007, with the Colorado Rockies, Washington Nationals and Mets. Chavez was a career .269 hitter in 1702 at bats.
Additionally, the Gulf Coast Mets will be led once again by Jose Carreno, along with pitching coach Josue Matos, who is new to the Mets organization, and hitting coach Yunir Garcia, who spent 2015, his eighth in the system, with the Brooklyn Cyclones.
The Dominican Summer League Mets 1 will feature second year manager Manny Martinez (seven seasons in the organization), along with pitching coaches Benjamin Marte (13 seasons) and Rafael Roque (first season), hitting coaches Leo Hernandez (17 seasons) and Liliano Castro (16 seasons), and catching instructor Alberto Castillo (six seasons).
The Dominican Summer League Mets 2 bring back manager David Davillo (11 seasons), and he will be joined by pitching coach Francis Martinez (nine seasons), hitting coach Rafael Fernandez (first season), and infield coach Yucarybert De La Cruz (second season).