A growing sign that the 2021 season is nearing is the announcement of minor league coaching staffs. That came Monday for the Dodgers, with several notable changes, including old friend Jamey Wright as the pitching coach in Triple-A and legendary coach John Shoemaker adding yet another city to his minor league managing résumé.
This is a season of change for minor league baseball as a whole, with a restructuring across the sport, paring down to four domestic affiliates per organization plus teams at complexes in spring training cities and the Dominican Republic. In December, major league teams invited four affiliates — the Dodgers chose to stick with the same top four teams, though with Rancho Cucamonga and Great Lakes swapping Class-A levels — with minor league teams having a month to sign 10-year development contracts. As J.J. Cooper of Baseball America, the deadline to accept those deals is this Wednesday, but given that Dodgers affiliates all announced their coaching staffs on Monday, it’s safe to assume they are all on board.
The biggest new addition is Jamey Wright as the new pitching coach in Triple-A Oklahoma City, the city where he was born and played his high school baseball. Wright pitched 19 years in the big leagues, including making teams as a non-roster invitee in eight straight seasons. Wright pitched for the Dodgers in relief in 2012 and 2014, and signed again with them in 2016 before announcing his retirement at the end of spring training.
Wright was a special assistant in player development with the Dodgers in 2020, working with minor league pitchers.
Travis Barbary is back as manager in Oklahoma City, but rejoining his staff is Bill Hasselman as bench coach and third base coach. Hasselman managed OKC from 2016-18, and spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers managers’ coordinator.
In addition to Wright, a few more old friends are in minor league coaching roles. Elian Herrera, who was a utility man for the Dodgers from 2012-13, returns as the bench coach in Great Lakes, which is now a high Class-A affiliate. Ramon Troncoso, who pitched in the Dodgers bullpen from 2008-11 (including an almost unfathomable 14 games in a 21-day stretch in 2010), is one of two pitching coaches in Rancho Cucamonga, now a low-A team. Troncoso was a pitching coach in the Arizona rookie league last year.
Another notable move is John Shoemaker, a legendary Dodgers lifer entering his 45th year in the organization, will now manage the Quakes. Rancho Cucamonga is the 12th minor league city he will have managed in in his illustrious career, one that has seen him coach over 133 future major leaguers.
“John is one of the most respected and well-liked people in the baseball world and he comes with an incredible reputation for working with not just young Dodgers’ players, but the fans and community as well,” Quakes general manager Grant Riddle said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to introducing him to our great community!”
With Shoemaker, who managed Great Lakes the last three years, now in Rancho Cucamonga, Austin Chubb moves to Great Lakes. Along with Barbary managing Oklahoma City and Scott Hennessey in Double-A Tulsa, the Dodgers have the same managers at the top four levels of their system as they did in 2020.
The restructuring of the minor leagues meant the elimination of rookie-level Ogden, which is now, along with the rest of the Pionner League, part of an unaffiliated “partner league” with MLB. Their manager last year, Tony Cappuccilli, is now a bench coach in Arizona. Raptors hitting coach Dylan Nasiatka and bench coach Johan Garcia now have the same roles in Rancho Cucamonga.
Here are the Dodgers’ 2021 minor league coaches, with new positions/levels in italics:
Triple-A Oklahoma City
Manager: Travis Barbary
Hitting coach: Manny Burriss
Pitching coach: Jamey Wright
Bench coach: Bill Haselman
Bullpen coach: Justin DeFratus
Performance coach: Jeff Taylor
Manager: Scott Hennessey
Hitting coach: Brett Pill
Pitching coach: Dave Borkowski
Bench coach: Chris Gutierrez
Performance coach: Noah Huff
High Class-A Great Lakes
Manager: Austin Chubb
Hitting coach: David Popkins
Pitching coach: Ryan Dennick
Bench coach: Elian Herrera
Asst. pitching coach: Durin O’Linger
Performance coach: Sam Nickelsen
Low Class-A Rancho Cucamonga
Manager: John Shoemaker
Hitting coach: Dylan Nasiatka
Pitching coach: Stephanos Stroop
Pitching coach: Ramon Troncoso
Bench coach: Johan Garcia
Performance coach: Mike Roman
Manager: Danny Dorn
AZL field coordinator/hitting coach: Keith Beauregard
Hitting coach: Jarek Cunningham
Pitching coach: Bobby Cuellar
Pitching coach: David Anderson
Bench coach: Tony Cappuccilli
Bench coach: Fumi Ishibashi
Defensive coach: Pedro Montero
Performance coach: Gage Crosgrove
Performance coach: Brandon Golden
Rookie-level Dominican Republic
Manager: Jair Fernandez
Manager: Cordell Hipolito
Hitting coach: Sergio Mendez
Hitting coach: Johermyn Chavez
Hitting coach: Chase Aldridge
Pitching coach: Roberto Giron
Pitching coach: Andres Urbina
Pitching coach: Hector Rodriguez
Defensive coordinator: Pedro Mega
Sr. Advisor, Campo Las Palmas: Antonio Bautista
Coach: Leury Bonilla
Coach: Dunior Zerpa
Coach: Raidel Chacon
Performance coach: Jose Gutierrez
Performance coach: Rafa Sepulveda