DeFrancesco Named Manager of 51s for 2018 Season

51s ANNOUNCE 2018 SCHEDULE
TEAM OPENS 36th PCL SEASON
THURSDAY,APRIL 5 VS. EL PASO AT CASHMAN FIELD

The Las Vegas 51s PROFESSIONAL baseball team of the Pacific Coast League (PCL), Triple-A affiliate of the New York Mets, announced today, in conjunction with the Mets Media Relations Department, that Tony DeFrancesco was named manager for the Mets Triple-A affiliate for the 2018 season. DeFrancesco becomes the 24th manager in the history of the Las Vegas franchise (1983 – 2017, 35 seasons).

The 51s coaching staff was also announced as Glenn Abbott was named pitching coach and Joel Chimelis was named hitting coach. The athletic trainer position is Grant Hufford and Josh Fields will return for his second season as the strength coach. In addition, Jeremy Accardo was named bullpen coach and Kiyoshi Tada was named assistant athletic trainer. The right-handed pitcher Accardo was a member of the Las Vegas 51s for two seasons (2009-10, Toronto Blue Jays affiliate) and is the franchise leader with 37 saves. In 2017, he served as pitching coach for Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Mets.

DeFrancesco, 54, has compiled 33 seasons overall in professional baseball, including 23 seasons as manager (over .500 seasons in 19 of 23 years). He has also been manager in the PCL for 14 seasons from 2003-07, 2009-17. He was a member of the Houston Astros organization for the past seven seasons (2011-17) and was the manager for Triple-A Oklahoma City for four seasons (2011-14) and Triple-A Fresno for three seasons (2015-17). He was the manager of the PCL squad at the 2017 Triple-A All-Star Game.

DeFrancesco has compiled an overall managerial record over 23 seasons of 1,625-1,414 (.535) and an impressive PCL managerial record over 14 seasons of 1,103-890 (.553) which includes four PCL championships (2003, 2004, 2007, 2015), two Triple-A National Championships (2007, 2015) and eight division titles. He was named the 2003 PCL Manager of the Year and the 2015 Minor League Manager of the Year by Baseball America. The four PCL titles is tied with Hall of Famer Del Crandall for the most championships in league history. Crandall’s championships with Albuquerque were in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982.

He first joined the Oakland A’s organization as a minor league manager prior to the 1994 season, following a nine-season professional playing career as a catcher in the Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds organizations (reached Triple-A with both organizations). In 2003, he managed in his first season at Triple-A Sacramento (Oakland A’s) and guided the River Cats to the PCL championship. In 2008, he earned his first full-time Major League coaching job, as third base coach for the A’s, before returning to Sacramento to manage in 2009.

He then moved to the Astros organization following the 2010 campaign to manage Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2011. In 2012, he was elevated from Oklahoma City to Houston and was named the Astros interim manager on August 19, replacing Brad Mills who was fired. He managed the final 41 games of the season and on August 24, he earned his first Major League victory, defeating the New York Mets, 3-1, at Citi Field. He compiled an overall record of 16-25 (.390) and with the Astros switching to the American League for 2013, DeFrancesco was the final manager to lead the Astros as a National League franchise.

“I’m excited to be a part of the Mets organization and to also work with the 51s organization,” 51s Manager Tony DeFrancesco said. “I have been coming to Las Vegas for 14 years as the opposing manager and I enjoy working with everyone in the Las Vegas front office. I have developed a great relationship over the years with Don (Logan) and his staff.

“The PCL continues to be a very competitive league, with a high caliber of future major league stars, and our goal is to get to the playoffs and win the championship. I’m excited about our coaching staff and I have worked with Glenn Abbott in the Oakland organization and I know Joel Chimelis from the Astros organization.”

The Suffern, New York native attended Suffern High School and then played two seasons for Seton Hall University (1982 & 1984). DeFrancesco began his professional career when selected by the Boston Red Sox in the ninth round of the June 1984 First-Year Player Draft.

He played in a total of nine seasons in the minor leagues as a catcher in the Boston and Cincinnati organizations. He appeared in 567 career games and batted .232 (381-for-1,640) with 60 doubles, 17 home runs and 167 RBI.

51s ANNOUNCE 2018 SCHEDULE
TEAM OPENS 36th PCL SEASON
THURSDAY,APRIL 5 VS. EL PASO AT CASHMAN FIELD

The Las Vegas 51s professional baseball team of the Pacific Coast League (PCL), Triple-A affiliate of the New York Mets, will begin their 36th season of play in the Silver State against the El Paso Chihuahuas, Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres, on Thursday, April 5 at Cashman Field at 7:05 p.m. The initial homestand will consist of a five-game series against El Paso from Thursday-Monday, April 5-9.

The 51s, which will begin their sixth season as the top farm club of the Mets, compiled an overall record of 56-86 (.394) in 2017 and finished in fourth place in the Pacific Conference Southern Division.

Las Vegas has compiled a five-year record of 365-353 (.508) as a Mets affiliate which has included two playoff appearances (2013 & 14).

The 140-game schedule (70 home, 70 road) will once again feature many promotional nights that will include 51s jersey giveaways, Budweiser Dollar Beer Nights and highlighted by the traditional “Fireworks Extravaganza” on Tuesday, July 3rd against Salt Lake at Cashman Field.

The Las Vegas franchise has reached the 300,000 plateau in “home” attendance for 35 consecutive seasons (1983-2017) at Cashman Field.  In 71 dates (2017), Las Vegas’ total was 359,059 for an average of 5,057 which included six sellouts. The season-high crowd was 10,854 for Kris Bryant Bobblehead Night vs. Salt Lake on August 19.  The all-time attendance total now stands at 11,668,787.

In 2017, Minor League Baseball remained an attractive form of affordable family entertainment. The regular season attendance surpassed 41 million fans for the 13th consecutive year.  The total of 41,832,364 marked the fifth-highest attendance total in the history of the organization, which was established in 1901 and currently consists of 176 teams in 15 leagues.

The 51s will host the Southern Division of the Pacific Conference opponents: Albuquerque Isotopes (Colorado Rockies), El Paso Chihuahuas (San Diego Padres) and Salt Lake Bees (Los Angeles Angels) for eight games each.  The 51s will also host the Northern Division (Pacific Conference) opponents for eight games each: Fresno Grizzlies (Houston Astros), intrastate rival Reno Aces (Arizona Diamondbacks), Sacramento River Cats (San Francisco Giants) and Tacoma Rainiers (Seattle Mariners).

The Southern Division opponents of the American Conference comprised of the PCL defending champion, Memphis Redbirds (St. Louis Cardinals), Nashville Sounds (Oakland A’s), New Orleans Zephyrs (Miami Marlins) and Round Rock Express (Texas Rangers) will visit Cashman Field.  The 51s will host Memphis and Round Rock for four-games each and Nashville and New Orleans for three-games each.

The 51s will travel to the Northern Division opponents of the American Conference comprised of the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Milwaukee Brewers), Iowa Cubs (Chicago Cubs), Oklahoma City Dodgers (Los Angeles Dodgers) and Omaha Storm Chasers (Kansas City Royals). Las Vegas will face Iowa and Oklahoma City for four games each and Colorado Springs and Omaha for three-games each.

2018 season tickets and mini-plan packages (11, 22, 36-game plans) are available by calling the 51s office at (702) 943-7200.  Individual game tickets for the 70-game home schedule will go on sale in March.

The 51s will broadcast all games on Lotus Broadcasting on NBC Sports Radio AM 920 ‘THE GAME’, which will carry live all 142 regular season games. Also, all games will be available on the 51s website (Major League Baseball Advanced Media, MLBAM) at www.LV51.comRuss Langer, the 10-time Nevada Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA), is in his 18th season behind the microphone calling 51s baseball.

All 51s games (home & away) will also be broadcast on MiLB.TV via LV51.com.