By Jerry Del Priore
Former Brooklyn Cyclones manager Pedro Lopez and ex-player Ender Chavez are slated to help lead the Columbia Fireflies, the South Atlantic League (SAL) A affiliate of the New York Mets, in 2018.
Lopez, in his 11th season with the Mets organization, managed the Cyclones in 2009 and will do the same for the Fireflies, while Chavez will assume hitting coach duties for Columbia.
The Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, native has enjoyed success with New York’s minor league system. In 2013, the Eastern League (EL) named him Manager of the Year after leading Binghamton to a record 86 wins and a trip to the postseason. In 2014, he guided Binghamton to an 83-59 record (.585) and the Mets captured the EL Title with a three-game sweep of Richmond. In addition, he piloted Binghamton to three straight EL playoff appearances (2013-15) for the first time in franchise history.
Lopez’s coaching career began in the Texas Rangers system, where he worked at various levels from 2000-2007 before joining New York.
“I’m excited to be back in the South Atlantic League and for having the opportunity to work with the young talent,” Lopez said in a press release. “I’m also looking forward to winning some games, and giving the fans another fun year at Spirit Communications Park.”
Chavez, the brother of former Met Endy Chavez, has spent the past two seasons as the hitting coach for the Kingsport Mets (Rookie) and the three previous campaigns as the hitting coach for the Gulf Coast League Mets (Rookie).
The Valencia, Venezuela, native also played in New York’s organization from 2002-2003, and again in 2007, helping St. Lucie win the Florida State League Championship in 2002.
Chavez suited up for Brooklyn in all his three season with the Mets’ farm system, driving in 23 runs in 356 at-bats in 117 contests.