Keoni DeRenne moves up Pirates coaching ladder
Former York Revolution infielder Keoni DeRenne (’07-’09) is entering his fifth season as a minor league coach in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, and will serve as hitting coach for the A-Advanced Bradenton Marauders of the Florida State League in 2016. DeRenne spent the last two seasons as hitting coach for the West Virginia Power of the Class A South Atlantic League. Bradenton also serves as Pittsburgh’s spring training and rookie ball complex.
DeRenne first joined the Pirates prior to the 2011 season, following his retirement as a player-coach for the Philadelphia Phillies, working/playing with four different affiliates from Class A to Triple-A in 2010. He has even garnered some managing experience, skippering the Pirates entry in the Dominican Summer League in 2013.
There are Atlantic League connections throughout Pittsburgh’s minor league coaching staff. DeRenne’s manager in Bradenton is Michael Ryan, the former Somerset Patriots outfielder who played against DeRenne in York in 2008. Ryan played in five MLB seasons, four with the Twins and one with the Angels in 2010, following his time in the Atlantic League. Another former Patriot, Mark DiFelice, is the pitching coach for the Short-Season A West Virginia Black Bears of the New York-Penn League. DiFelice went 19-13 as a starter in the ALPB in 2005 and 2006, and like Ryan reached the Majors after his time in the league, making his MLB debut with the Brewers by appearing in 77 games out of their bullpen from 2008-2011. Interestingly enough, both Ryan and DiFelice hail from opposite sides of Pennsylvania; Indiana and Bryn Mawr, respectively.
The connections don’t stop there: The hitting coach at Triple-A Indianapolis is York County native Butch Wynegar, in his second season at that post for the Pirates. The Red Lion native played 13 Major League seasons for the Twins, Yankees and Angels, earning All-Star honors in his first two big league years, and was runner-up for AL rookie of the year in 1976. Wynegar held the Triple-A hitting coach position with the Yankees at Scranton-Wilkes Barre for several seasons prior, before joining Pittsburgh.
Following a star-studded collegiate career at the University of Arizona, DeRenne played 11 professional seasons, reaching Triple-A with the Diamondbacks, Red Sox and Phillies organizations. He appeared in 339 games for the Revolution during his three years in York, collecting 18 homers and 126 RBI. He swiped 47 bags in that time, to go along with a .363 on-base percentage. Shortly after being named captain of the Revs by Manager Andy Etchebarren entering the 2010 season, DeRenne was signed by Philadelphia for his final professional year. He entered pro ball as a 12th round draft pick of the Braves in 2002.
DeRenne’s most notable moment from his tenure with the Phillies came in a Double-A Eastern League game with Reading at Harrisburg on April 21, 2010. Stephen Strasburg made his third professional start for Harrisburg that day, allowing just one hit in five shutout innings. The lone hit off the phenom was courtesy of DeRenne, who rapped a single in the second inning after Strasburg retired the first seven he faced. Strasburg improved to 2-0, striking out six with a walk.