The Double-A Erie Seawolves Manager was hired by the Pittsburgh Pirates as the assistant hitting coach. He played a key role in player development.
The Pittsburgh Pirates announced yesterday that Mike Rabelo will join new Pirates manager Derek Shelton’s staff as the team’s assistant hitting coach. For Rabelo, he expressed his feelings about the experience when speaking to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
"“It felt like when I got called up to the big leagues as a player. It’s the same feeling. Here I am doing it as a coach, getting this opportunity, this wonderful opportunity to be a part of something special.”"
The 39-year-old Rabelo was 358-274 in six seasons in the Tigers system. His only losing season came in 2015 when he was managing the Connecticut Tigers. He becomes the first manager the Tigers have lost to the major leagues since former Toledo Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish became the Atlanta Braves hitting coach. Rabelo has managed the top prospects in the Tigers system the past few seasons in Erie including Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Alex Fadeo, Tarik Skubal, and Isaac Paredes. David Littlefield, the Tigers vice president of player development, spoke highly of Rabelo when he was announced he was being promoted to Erie in 2018.
"“He’s got an instinctual feel for things, a great relationship with the players, and just continues to get more experience. He’s doing a good job.”"
He recently managed the Tigers prospects in the Arizona Fall League, continuing a big presence for player development. Andrew Graham, the manager of the Lakeland Flying Tigers, still reminds the longest-tenured Tigers minor league manager as he has been with the organization since 2010.
A little piece of history to show off to your friends out there. Tigers then third base coach Terry Francona was hired to be the Philadelphia Phillies manager in 1997 after a season with Buddy Bell and Jim Leyland, who won three minor league titles between High-A Lakeland and then the Tigers Triple-A affiliates, Evansville Triplets. He was hired by Chicago White Sox manager Tony LaRussa in the fall of 1981 as a coach.
For those keeping track at home, this is the third time this off-season in which the Tigers and Pirates have exchanged personal. Dario Agrazal was traded to the Tigers back in November and Tom Prince was hired to be the manager of the Toledo Mud Hens.