Fresno Grizzlies

Manager Tony DeFrancesco back with Grizzlies for third straight year

Tony DeFrancesco will manage the Fresno Grizzlies for a third straight season. The Grizzlies won the Triple-A National championship under DeFrancesco in 2015.
Tony DeFrancesco will manage the Fresno Grizzlies for a third straight season. The Grizzlies won the Triple-A National championship under DeFrancesco in 2015. Courtesy photo

The Fresno Grizzlies will be in the care of one of Triple A’s best again.

Tony DeFrancesco, who guided the Grizzlies to a Triple-A National Championship two years ago, will manage the Fresno club for a third consecutive season.

DeFrancesco, 53, has amassed a 1,522-1,325 overall record and achieved winning records in 18 of his 22 years as a manager in the minors.

He’s also won four league titles and 10 divisional crowns.

Fresno manager Tony DeFrancesco has won four league titles and 10 divisional crowns in his 22 years as manager in the minors. Most notably, he led the Grizzlies to a Triple-A National Championship and Pacific Coast League crown in 2015.

In two seasons in Fresno, “Tony D” has a .549 winning percentage (157-129) and helped the Grizzlies win the Pacific Coast League and Triple-A National Championship in 2015.

“As a manager, I go out there and try to get the best out of the guys every day,” DeFrancesco said. “You play to win, you play to develop. I try to develop winning players and teach that it’s not just another game.

“Every game, you’re fighting for something.”

The wealth of talent within the Astros’ farm system has diminished some over the past two years with prospects promoted, traded or simply leaving the organization. But the Grizzlies in 2017 still are expected to field a number of prospects, including outfielder Derek Fisher.

Pitcher Francis Martes, considered the Astros’ top prospect, also could suit up for the Grizzlies after going 9-6 with a 3.30 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 125 1/3 innings in Double A last year.

“Still got a strong pipeline of talent,” DeFrancesco said. “We’re going to be pretty competitive.”

We’ve grown accustomed to winning ways here at Chukchansi Park under Tony D, and with his expertise and the great players we’ve had with the Astros.

Grizzlies general manager Derek Franks

DeFrancesco will joined by Dyar Miller as the team’s pitching coach after making a strong impact last season. The Grizzlies, under Miller’s direction, finished fifth in the PCL with a 4.08 ERA.

Miller also was instrumental in the development of starter Brady Rodgers, who was named PCL Pitcher of the Year, as well as closer James Hoyt, who converted a PCL-best 29 saves with a 1.64 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 55 innings.

The Grizzlies’ new hitting coach is Darryl Robinson. The hitting coach at Class-A Lancaster the past eight years, Robinson was the Cal League Hitting Coach of the Year in 2013.

“We’ve grown accustomed to winning ways here at Chukchansi Park under Tony D, and with his expertise and the great players we’ve had with the Astros,” Grizzlies general manager Derek Franks said. “We are excited to see what’s next.”

▪ Grizzlies reliever and Hanford native Tyson Perez has been added to the list of keynote speakers for the Hot Stove Gala on Feb. 2 at the Fresno Convention Center.

Perez was a Triple-A All-Star in 2015 and part of the Grizzlies national championship team.

Other keynote speakers include former San Francisco Giants third baseman Matt Williams and Astros pitcher Joe Musgrove.

Adult tickets are $75 and children $35. For more information, contact Whitney Campbell at 559-320-2547.

Bryant-Jon Anteola: (559) 441-6362, @Banteola_TheBee

Fresno Grizzlies Hot Stove Gala

  • 56th anniversary: Feb. 2 at the Fresno Convention Center
  • Speakers: Former San Francisco Giants All-Star Matt Williams, Astros pitcher Joe Musgrove, Grizzlies pitcher Tyson Perez
  • Tickets: Adults $75, children $35, table (includes 10 tickets) $700
  • For information: Contact Whitney Campbell at 559-320-2547
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