Frank Viola is one step away from “The Show.”
Viola, former manager of the Leesburg Lightning and 1988 American League Cy Young Award winner, was named the pitching coach for the New York Mets’ Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas on Jan 8. He spent the past two seasons as the pitching coach for the Savannah Sand Gnats, the Mets’ Single-A affiliate in the South Atlantic League.
With the Las Vegas 51s, Viola is expected to play a major role in the development of the Mets’ top prospect, right-handed pitcher Noah Syndergaard.
Viola managed the Lightning — Leesburg’s Florida Collegiate Summer League franchise for three seasons, beginning in 2008. He directed the Lightning to two appearances in the FCSL championship game (2009, 2010), winning the league title in 2008.