WICHITA, Kansas – The Wichita Wingnuts have had the same four-man coaching staff for each of the past two seasons. Prior to the addition of bench coach Jim Foltz in 2014, the trio of manager Kevin Hooper, pitching coach Luke Robertson, and hitting coach Jose Amado have built and guided the Wingnuts together since 2010. That will not be the case in 2016. Amado has accepted a position within the Arizona Diamondbacks organization as the hitting coach for their Short Season team in Hillsboro, Oregon.
Wingnuts manager Kevin Hooper shared his thoughts, “Having spent the past six years together, Jose will be dearly missed by our entire organization. He provided a great deal of comfort for me, personally. I knew what I was going to get out of our hitters day in and day out.”
The 40-year old Amado owns the distinction of playing for two different teams in Wichita, helping the Wranglers win the 1999 Texas League Championship and then playing for the Wingnuts during their inaugural season in 2008.
A native of San Cristobal, Venezuela, Amado demonstrated terrific plate discipline throughout his career, drawing 421 walks against just 281 strikeouts. Amado hit .290 or better in nine of his 14 professional seasons, and finished at .333 or better in four of them. His best season came in 2006 when he split time with the Northern League’s Joliet Jackhammers and the Mexican League’s Cordoba Cafeteros, hitting a combined .355 with 23 home runs and 99 RBI—all career-bests. Amado totaled more base hits (1,387) than games played (1,220) in his career, and owns a lifetime .373 on-base percentage.
“I first developed a relationship with Jose when he was a player for the Wranglers and I worked for the team. As a result, I was excited to bring him into the Wingnuts family not only as a player, but later as a coach,” said President and General Manager Josh Robertson. “He lived up to everything we asked of him and the numbers show it. I hope he continues to move up in the ranks and am excited that he will continue to call Wichita his home.”
The hitters that Amado coached often times posted numbers that were similar to his playing days. The Wingnuts paced the American Association in batting average three times and finished in the top four in five of six seasons. Under his guidance three players won the league’s batting title and the Nuts finished with the fewest strikeouts as a team on two different occasions.
While delivering the organization’s first championship, the 2014 team may have been the biggest offensive juggernaut he molded. The team led the American Association in runs scored, hits, batting average, doubles, RBI, total bases, and hit by pitches. Six position players were named American Association South All-Stars with OF Brent Clevlen being named the league’s Player of the Year. Clevlen also won the batting title.
Hooper knows it won’t be easy to replace Amado in his other role either, “The connection we had together on the field, with him coaching first base, will be hard to replace. Jose deserves a lot of credit for our success over the years. I wish him nothing but the best and can’t wait to see him move up the chain in the Diamondbacks organization.”
The ninth season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 19th against the Lincoln Saltdogs.