The Chicago Cubs have announced their minor league managers, staff, and coordinators for 2015. Generally, there are very few changes, which strikes me as an excellent thing, given how well 2014 went from a developmental standpoint.
The only manager not returning as a manager is Dave Keller, who managed the Daytona Cubs in 2014, and who is being shifted to a field coordinator role in Latin America. His spot at High-A – now the Myrtle Beach Pelicans – will be replaced by Mark Johnson, who won some accolades last year as the manager of the Low-A Kane County Cougars. In turn, Johnson’s spot at Low-A – now the South Bend Cubs – will be taken by Jimmy Gonzalez, who last year managed the Cubs’ rookie ball team in Mesa.
Darnell McDonald, whom you may remember was very well-received by the Cubs’ organization last year, and who was brought into the fold to stay after he retired, is now the coordinator of the new “minor league mental skills program.” I’m not entirely sure what that is, but it sounds like a good idea, and anything that keeps McDonald involved with the Cubs’ young talent also sounds like a good idea.
More on the Cubs’ minor league managers and coaches from the Cubs’ press release:
Marty Pevey begins his third season as Triple-A Iowa’s manager after serving as Chicago’s catching coordinator for three seasons from 2010-12. Pevey served as the Single-A Peoria manager in 2009, his first season with the organization. Pevey has a combined 31 years of professional experience (13 years as a player and 18 years as a manager, coach or coordinator), and was named the 2009 Midwest League co-Manager of the Year. Joining Pevey at Iowa will be newly hired pitching coach, Mike Cather, who spent 2014 as Triple-A El Paso’s pitching coach in the Padres system. Cather enters his 10th season as a coach after six seasons in the Red Sox system and three seasons in the San Diego organization. Originally drafted by the Rangers in 1993, he pitched in parts of three seasons with the Braves from 1997-99. Brian Harper returns for his third season as Iowa’s hitting coach after managing Double-A Tennessee in 2011 and Single-A Daytona in 2012. A former catcher, Harper played 16 seasons in the majors with seven teams. Rounding out the coaching staff is former Cubs farmhand Leo Perez, who begins his seventh season as a coach in the organization and first with Iowa. Scott Barringer returns for his second season as the athletic trainer with Iowa and third in the Cubs organization.
Buddy Bailey begins his fourth-straight season (and fifth overall) as Tennessee’s manager after guiding the Smokies to a 214-203 (.513) mark in the last three seasons. Bailey spent three years as Daytona’s skipper prior to joining the Smokies, compiling a 215-196 (.523) record, including a 2011 Florida State League Championship. Next season will mark Bailey’s 27th year as a manager and his 10th with the organization. Storm Davis begins his third season with the organization and his second as Tennessee’s pitching coach after serving in the same role with Daytona in 2013. The former righthander went 113-96 with a 4.02 ERA during a 13-year big league career. Desi Wilson, entering his eighth season with the organization, returns as the hitting coach for a third year after handling the same duties at Daytona in 2012. The only new member of the Smokies staff, Guillermo Martinez, joins as an assistant coach after serving in a similar role last season with Single-A Boise. Shane Nelsonrounds out the staff as the team’s athletic trainer for the second-straight season.
Mark Johnson takes over as the manager of the Cubs new Single-A affiliate, Myrtle Beach. Entering his fifth season in the organization, Johnson spent the last two seasons as manager at Single-A Kane County, where he led the Cougars last season to a 91-49 record and a Midwest League championship after sweeping through the playoffs with a 7-0 record. Johnson began his managerial career in 2011 with Boise after enjoying a 17-year professional playing career that included 332 major league games with four clubs. Handling pitching coach duties at Myrtle Beach will be David Rosario, who begins his 11th year in the Cubs system and served with Johnson last season at Kane County. Mariano Duncan returns for his third season as the club’s high-A hitting coach after serving the previous two campaigns as Tennessee’s hitting coach (2011-12). The 12-year major league veteran (1985-87, 1989-97) joined the Cubs in 2011 after spending the previous five seasons (2006-10) as the Dodgers major league first base coach. Rounding out the coaching staff is Chris Gutierrez who began his coaching career last season as an assistant coach with Single-A Kane County. Peter Fagan returns to Myrtle Beach as the athletic trainer.
Jimmy Gonzalez begins his second season as a manager in the organization, taking over the Cubs new Single-A affiliate in South Bend. Gonzalez made his managerial debut last season with Rookie-League Mesa after serving as hitting coach with the club in 2013. A former catcher, he played 14 minor league seasons after he was selected in the first round of the 1991 Draft by Houston. Brian Lawrence enters his first season as South Bend’s pitching coach after serving in the same role with Boise in 2014. Lawrence made his coaching debut in 2012 in the Independent Frontier League and spent 2013 as the pitching coach of Single-A Lake Elsinore in the Padres system. The former righthander went 50-63 with a 4.19 ERA during a six-year big league career with the Padres and Mets. Jesus Feliciano moves up to South Bend after serving as the hitting coach last season at Boise in his debut year as a coach. He enjoyed a 16-year playing career from 1998-2013, including action in 54 games with the Mets in 2010. Osmin Melendez will serve as an assistant coach after coaching with Mesa last season and managing the Cubs Venezuela rookie league team in 2013. Jonathan Fierro begins his third season as an athletic trainer in the organization after serving in Kane County in 2014 and Boise in 2013.
Gary Van Tol returns for his third season as the club’s short season-A manager as the Cubs begin a new affiliation with the Eugene Emeralds. Van Tol guided Boise to consecutive 41-35 records in his first two seasons, securing a playoff berth both years. Prior to becoming a manager, Van Tol served as bench coach in Boise for five years and has extensive experience as a coach in the college ranks, including as an assistant at his alma mater, Gonzaga. Joining the staff at Eugene will be pitching coach,Anderson Tavares, who spent the last two seasons with Rookie-League Mesa. Tavares played in the Cubs system from 2000-05 and worked as a pitching coach with the Cubs Dominican Summer League team from 2007-12. Ricardo Medina enters his first season as hitting coach with Single-A Eugene after two years with Mesa. He has been involved in the Cubs organization since 1999 as a coach, manager or scout. A new addition to the organization, former major league outfielder Terrmel Sledgerounds out the coaching staff as an assistant coach. Mike McNulty joins Eugene as the team’s athletic trainer after serving in the same role last season with Mesa.
Carmelo Martinez enters his 18th season in the organization, and begins his second stint as manager with Mesa after serving in the role from 1999-2003, and again in 2006. He has a career record of 159-185 (.462) as Mesa’s manager. Martinez previously served as the Cubs Latin America field coordinator for six seasons and played in the majors from 1983-91 with the Cubs, Padres, Phillies, Pirates, Royals and Reds. Ron Villone begins his fourth season as a coach in the Cubs organization and first with Mesa. A former left-handed pitcher, he played in all or part of 15 major league seasons from 1995-2009 with 12 teams. Oscar Bernard begins his first season as the hitting coach for Mesa after spending the previous two seasons as the Dominican Cubs hitting coach. Ty Wright joins the staff as an assistant coach after an eight-year playing career, seven of which came in the Cubs system. Toby Williams begins his second season in the organization and first as Mesa’s athletic trainer.
Juan Cabreja returns for a second-consecutive year as manager of the Dominican Cubs after previously managing the club from 2007-08 and managing the Cubs second Dominican club in 2012. He led the team to a 42-28 mark last season and has a 244-204 (.545) overall managerial record. Armando Gabino enters his first season as a pitching coach in the organization after a playing career that saw him pitch in seven games over two seasons with the Twins and Orioles. Claudio Almonte also joins the organization as the Dominican Cubs hitting coach after managing the Mariners Dominican Summer League team in 2014. Jose Alvarez begins his second season as the club’s athletic trainer.
Pedro Gonzalez begins his second year as the Venezuelan Cubs manager after going 28-40 in his first season. He will be joined by pitching coach, Eduardo Villacis, and hitting coach, Franklin Blanco. Villacis enters his first season with the organization, while Blanco begins his ninth year with the organization and his third-straight season in Venezuela. Arnoldo Goite returns as the club’s athletic trainer.
And more on the Cubs’ coordinators from the Cubs’ press release:
Tim Cossins returns for his third season as the organization’s minor league field/catching coordinator following 10 years in the Miami Marlins farm system, including the final six as the minor league catching coordinator. He was also a manager in the Marlins minor league system from 2003-07. Cossins began his coaching career in 2000 and in 2001-02 was the Major League bullpen catcher for Kansas City. The former catcher played eight minor league seasons (1993-2000) in the Rangers, Yankees and Expos organizations.
Derek Johnson returns for his third year as the Cubs minor league pitching coordinator following 11 seasons (2002-12) at Vanderbilt University as the team’s pitching coach, including the last three as the school’s associate head coach/pitching coach. He earned National Pitching Coach of the Year honors in 2004 and National Assistant Coach of the Year honors in 2010. In 2011, he helped lead the school to its first-ever College World Series appearance. While at Vanderbilt, he helped develop six pitchers that were selected in the first round/supplemental first round of the MLB Draft, including David Price.
Anthony Iapoce begins his third season as the organization’s Special Assistant to the GM and Player Development, overseeing the minor league hitting program while contributing to additional projects within the organization. Iapoce spent the 2010-2012 seasons as roving hitting coordinator for Toronto and served as the hitting coach for the Marlins Single-A Jupiter affiliate for two seasons (2008-09). A former outfielder, he played 11 minor league seasons in the Brewers and Marlins organizations, as well as independent ball, after being selected by Milwaukee in the 33rd round of the 1994 draft.
Jose Flores returns for his third season as minor league infield coordinator, his 15th year as a coach or manager. Flores spent two seasons as manager of the Puerto Rico National baseball team (2011-12) and was a bench coach for Ponce Leones in the Puerto Rico Baseball League (2010). He handled similar duties for the Gaguas Criollos baseball club in 2008, the same year he managed the Cleveland Indians Dominican Summer League team. After playing six seasons in Houston’s minor league system (1990-95), he began his coaching career in the Puerto Rico Winter League (2001-06).
Dave Keller enters his 30th season as a minor league coach or manager, his 12th year in the Cubs organization and his first as minor league Latin America field coordinator. He managed Single-A Daytona in 2013-14 and led the club to the 2013 Florida State League title after he served as Iowa’s hitting coach in 2012. In 2011, he was the Cubs major league staff assistant after seven years (2004-10) as the organization’s minor league hitting coordinator. Keller was a major league staff assistant and bullpen catcher for Cleveland from 2001-03 following two years as the organization’s minor league hitting coordinator. He managed in the minor leagues in the Cincinnati (1987-89), Cleveland (1990-94) and White Sox (1996) organizations, and was named the 1993 Carolina League Manager of the Year with Single-A Kinston. The former first baseman played in the Reds organization for three seasons (1982-84).
Mike Mason begins his second season as assistant pitching coordinator after spending the previous six years as Triple-A Iowa’s pitching coach. He has 23 years of coaching experience following a seven-year big league playing career with Texas (1982-87), the Cubs (1987) and Minnesota (1988). Prior to joining the Cubs, he served as Kansas City’s minor league pitching coordinator (2004-07), while also handling interim pitching coach duties at the Major League level in 2004. Mason served as pitching coach for Philadelphia’s Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre club in 2002-03 after serving as Kansas City’s minor league pitching instructor the previous two seasons (2000-01). He began his coaching career in Kansas City’s minor league system from 1991-99.
Tom Beyers returns for his 16th season with the Cubs organization, and his first as the minor league assistant hitting coordinator, following two seasons as Single-A Kane County’s hitting coach. He was the short-season hitting coordinator in 2012 following one season as the minor league hitting coordinator in 2011. Beyers joined the Cubs in 2000 and was a minor league manager or coach for 11 seasons, including manager of Single-A Boise in 2004, a season in which he led the club to the Northwest League title and earned league manager of the year honors. A former outfielder, he spent his first 21 seasons in professional baseball with the Dodgers as a player, coach or manager after he was selected by Los Angeles in the 15th round of the 1979 Draft.
Rey Fuentes begins his third season with the organization and first as Latin Coordinator, Mental Skills Program, following two years as cultural programs coordinator. In this role, he oversees all educational classes and mental skills programs for the Cubs Latin American players. Prior to joining the Cubs, he coached and taught physical education in the Orlando area. Fuentes graduated from Barry University in Miami Shores, Fla., in 2002 with a degree in Exceptional Student Education.
Darnell McDonald begins his first season as the organization’s mental skills program coordinator, and will work with players throughout all levels of the farm system. McDonald served as a Cubs baseball operations assistant in 2014 following his retirement in April after 16 professional seasons. He was selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1997 Draft and played for the Cubs in 2013.
Doug Jarrow begins his eighth season as Chicago’s minor league strength and conditioning coordinator. He previously spent five years in the Dodgers organization, including 2003-05 as the minor league strength and conditioning coordinator and 2006-07 as the Major League strength coach. Jarrow began his career as a minor league strength and conditioning coach with Tampa Bay in 1998 and Pittsburgh in 1999.
Nick Frangella begins his 12th season with the organization and his second as head minor league athletic training and performance coordinator. He spent the previous two seasons as Triple-A Iowa’s athletic trainer.
Chuck Baughman enters his 15th year with the Cubs organization, his second season as assistant athletic training coordinator. He spent the previous eight seasons as a rehabilitation coordinator and joined the organization as Single-A Boise’s athletic trainer in 2001. His career in professional baseball began in 1999 when he was the athletic trainer for Single-A Clinton in Cincinnati’s system.
Rick Tronerud returns for his 20th year with the Cubs and his second as minor league rehab pitching coordinator. He spent the previous 13 seasons with Rookie-League Mesa, serving as the club’s rehab pitching coach. Tronerud joined the organization in 1996 as the pitching coach at Rookie-League Fort Myers after pitching (1972-81) and coaching (1982-89) in Oakland’s farm system.