Bench coach

Derek Shelton

Shelton, Paul Molitor’s bench coach last season, was a finalist for the managerial posts in Texas and Minnesota. He has been a major league coach for 15 seasons, including five as Cleveland’s hitting coach and seven as Tampa Bay’s hitting coach when Rocco Baldelli was there. “We have known each other for nine years,” Shelton said. “We have been on the same staff and were in the same coaches room for three years together. I think that plays a large part in me knowing his personality, him knowing my personality and then trying to complement off it.”

Hitting coach

James Rowson

Another holdover who also interviewed for the manager’s job, Rowson got a lot of credit when the team made the playoffs in 2017 with across-the-board improvements. Innovative with hitting drills and technology, Rowson isn’t a “one size fits all” coach. “Batting practice should be optional,” he said. “Some days you want to see how the ball is flying. Some days you just want to stand in the box and see how you feel. I think the players at this level kind of have a feel for what will get them ready for their games. Your focus should be more on, ‘What routine am I using that’s helping me feel most prepared?’ ”

Pitching coach

Wes Johnson

The Twins made Johnson the first college pitching coach to step directly to the major leagues. He coached at NCAA runner-up Arkansas last season, and he is an intense user of analytics and gadgetry. He earned a reputation in college as a velocity expert, someone who can help pitchers throw harder. “He was talking about using TrackMan information really before most of the pro teams were,” Twins CBO Derek Falvey said. “The key to it was not just grab data but try to understand a guy’s pitch mix a little better, understand what he could do a little differently, then use it to help him coach.”

Third base coach

Tony Diaz

Diaz spent 19 years with the Colorado Rockies organization and was the team’s first base coach the past two seasons after 17 in various minor league coaching and managing spots. “It was a real important thing to add another Spanish-speaking coach to our coaching roster,” Baldelli said. Diaz will specialize in working with the team’s infielders.

First base coach

Tommy Watkins

Watkins, 38, spent 20 seasons in the Twins system as a player, coach and manager, and didn’t even meet Baldelli until he was hired to join his staff. Watkins will be the team’s baserunning coach. “Every guy that’s ever played with him says nothing but the most phenomenal things about him,” Baldelli said.

Major league coach

Bill Evers

The 65-year-old Evers has been with the Cubs, Yankees and Rays organizations over the past 30 seasons. He was the Rays’ minor league field coordinator the past nine years after being Joe Maddon’s bench coach with the Rays from 2006-07. “Bill Evers has a ton of experience in the dugout, and he’s going to direct our catchers, which is pretty involved,” Baldelli said.

Assistant pitching coach

Jeremy Hefner

Hefner was the Twins major league advance scout last season. His new post will enable him to provide a smoother flow of scouting information to the pitching staff. He forms with Johnson and senior analyst Josh Kalk what General Manager Thad Levine described as the team’s “pitching analytics leadership group.”

Assistant hitting coach

Rudy Hernandez

Hernandez has been in the organization for 18 seasons and was assistant hitting coach for Molitor the past four seasons. Another coach who is fluent in Spanish — the Twins have 13 Spanish-speaking players on their 40-man roster.


staff reports