Press Release from the Mississippi Braves
In conjunction with the Atlanta Braves, the Mississippi Braves announced its 2018 field staff earlier today. Jackson, MS native Chris Maloney was named manager of the Double-A Braves for the upcoming season.
He’ll be joined by pitching coach Dennis Lewallyn and hitting coach Carlos Mendez. TJ Saunders also returns as the Double-A Braves trainer.
The 2018 season is Maloney’s first season in the Braves organization where he becomes the seventh manager in Mississippi Braves history. Maloney was in the St. Louis organization for more than 20 years and served as a first-base (2012-15) and third-base (2016-17) coach with the St. Louis Cardinals for the past six years. Before joining the big-league club, he led the Memphis Redbirds, the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate, for five seasons (2007-11). Maloney also spent three seasons (2002-04) as manager at Triple-A New Orleans in the Astros’ system.
Maloney, a native of Jackson, Mississippi, graduated from Mississippi State University in 1983. The former outfielder-first baseman was signed by the New York Mets as a non-drafted free agent before being purchased by the Cardinals in 1986. He began his managerial career in 1991 as manager for Rookie Johnson City. Over the course of 17 seasons as a manager in the Cardinals’ system, Maloney posted a record of 1016-870. In his three seasons at New Orleans, Maloney posted a 212-220 record. He has also been named Manager of the Year in three different leagues: the New York-Penn League (1992), the South Atlantic League (1993) and the Texas League (1998).
After spending the 2017 season at High-A Florida, Lewallyn returns for his fifth season overseeing the M-Braves pitching staff (2013-16, 2018). The 2018 season marks Lewallyn’s 36th season as a coach in professional baseball and his sixth season in the Braves organization. Under his direction, the 2015 M-Braves had the second-best ERA in the Southern League at 3.55 for the second consecutive season. The 2014 staff had a 3.37 ERA. The 2018 season is Lewallyn's ninth season in the Southern League. He previously served in the same capacity with the Tennessee Smokies (2007-10). Lewallyn spent time in the big leagues with Dodgers (1975-79), Rangers (1980) and Indians (1981-82).
The 2018 season will be Carlos Mendez’s first with the M-Braves and will mark his 11th season overall in the Braves organization. Mendez spent his first nine seasons as hitting coach at four different levels across the Braves farm system including Danville (2008-10), Rome (2011-12), Gulf Coast League (2013), Danville (2014), Lynchburg (2014), Carolina (2015-16), and Kissimmee (2017).
Mendez is a former first baseman and designated hitter, originally signed by the Kansas City Royals as a non-drafted free agent in 1991. During his 16-year career (1991-2007), Mendez posted an overall minor league batting average of .297 while playing with five organizations including Kansas City, Detroit, Oakland, Baltimore and Atlanta. In 2003, Mendez spent nearly four months with the Baltimore Orioles over two stints and played in 26 games for the club.
Trainer TJ Saunders returns to the M-Braves for his second season. Saunders joined the Braves in 2017 after spending the previous eight years as trainer in the Tigers organization, including the last three (2014-16) with Double-A Erie.
The Mississippi Braves open the 2018 season at Trustmark Park Thursday, April 5against the Tennessee Smokies. Season tickets and mini plans are on sale now. Businesses looking for unique ways to advertise should explore opportunities with the M-Braves. For more information, call 888-BRAVES4 or stop by the M-Braves Front Office Monday through Friday, 9 AMto 5 PM.