Toronto Blue Jays Announce Minor League Coaching Staffs for 2020

The Blue Jays finally announced their 2020 on-field coaching staffs for their minor league system and there are some interesting names, new and old, to go over.


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Buffalo Bisons

Manager: Ken Huckaby
Pitching Coach: Jeff Ware
Hitting Coach: Corey Hart
Position Coach: Devon White
Development Coaches: Jake McGuiggan, David Howell
Trainer: Robert Tarpey
Strength and Conditioning: Aaron Spano
Dietitian: Lauren Poole

While three of the Bisons’ staff from 2019 remain in place in 2020 (Hart, White and Tarpey), two other positions are being filled by former coordinators for the entire minor leagues. Ken Huckaby, who last managed in Dunedin a few years ago, comes in as manager after having been the Blue Jays’ catching coordinator for the past couple of years and Jeff Ware, who was the pitching coordinator, arrives to be the Bisons’ pitching coach. Dietician Lauren Poole gets a promotion from New Hampshire and Aaron Spano moves up from Lansing to be the Strength and Conditioning coach for Buffalo.

The new positions of Development Coaches are for coaches to help players break down the reams of information they’re getting from Rapsodo, TrackMan and other video and technological analytical systems. We know that David Howell comes from Driveline baseball and Jake McGuiggan played baseball at Harvard and was a video assistant for the Jays’ minor league teams as well as the Analyst Coach in Dunedin last year before getting this new position.



Cesar Martin

New Hampshire Fisher Cats

Manager: Cesar Martin
Pitching Coach: Jim Czajkowski
Hitting Coach: Matt Young
Position Coach: Chris Schaeffer
Development Coach: Harry Roberson
Trainer: Caleb Daniel
S&C Coach: Brian Pike
Dietician: Kat Mangieri

There’s a lot of upward movement in this staff with Cesar Martin, Matt Young, Jim Czajkowski and Kat Mangieri all moving up together from Dunedin. Trainer Caleb Daniel was on the Fisher Cat staff in 2019 while Chris Schaeffer was the position coach in Bluefield last year. Brian Pike worked strength and conditioning in Buffalo last year while Harry Roberson is a newish hire. He played baseball for Amherst College, graduating in 2018 and was the hitting coach at Eastern Connecticut State University in the 2019 season before getting a job as an intern with the Blue Jays in Dunedin and Bluefield from May until December. He is now a Player Development Coach for New Hampshire.


Matt Hague

Dunedin Blue Jays

Manager: Donnie Murphy
Pitching Coach: Antonio Caceres
Hitting Coach: Matt Hague
Position Coach: George Carroll
Development Coach: Taylor Hill
Trainer: Luke Greene
S&C Coach: Justin Batcher
Dietician: Leila Hughel-Deeds

Donnie Murphy gets his first managing gig with the Blue Jays after being the hitting coach in New Hampshire last year while Antonio Caceres has been in the organization for a long time, most recently as the pitching coach for Lansing last year. Matt Hague rejoins the Blue Jays’ organization after retiring from playing. He was with the Blue Jays in 2015, playing in 10 games at the big league level and winning the International League MVP that year as a Buffalo Bison. George Carroll moves up from the GCL to be the Position coach for the Dunedin Blue Jays and Justin Batcher moves up from Vancouver along with Trainer Luke Greene. Leila Hughel-Deeds has had some high profile jobs including the Director of Sports Nutrition for Valdosta State University and holds a Master of Science degree from Valdosta State. I’m not entire sure which Taylor Hill the Blue Jays have hired for their development coach position. It could be the pitcher who went to Vanderbilt and was selected by the Nationals in the 6th round in 2011, getting into nine MLB games and most recently pitching in the Mexican League and in the American Association in 2019. Or it could be the Victoria’s Secret model who threw out a first pitch at a Chicago White Sox game in 2015. But probably not. The wisdom she could share with MiLB players? “I looked at the guy and I threw it at him.” #Truth.


Luis Hurtado

Lansing Lugnuts

Manager: Luis Hurtado
Pitching Coach: Phil Cundari
Hitting Coach: Ryan Wright
Position Coach: Dave Pano
Trainer: Hiroki Yoshimoto
S&C Coach: Casey Callison
Dietitian: Kara Terry

Hurtado moves up from managing the Bluefield Blue Jays last year to his first full-year managing assignment. Cundari is a long-time college coach, having coached for 17 years at Seton Hall and then for two years at Rutgers. He was the 2011 National Pitching Coach of the Year and was a fourth-round draft pick of the Oakland A’s in 1985, reaching Double-A before he was pushed out of playing by an arm injury. Interestingly, Cundari is also a licensed psychotherapist and worked as a sports performance consultant which, I’m thinking, could be a great addition to the Lugnuts’ staff. Wright is another hire from the college ranks after coaching for over three years with Montana State University. He also coached at Capital High School in Boise, Idaho and he played at Oklahoma City University, hitting .320. Dave Pano returns to the Lugnuts again in 2020 as does trainer Hiroki Yoshimoto while Casey Callison moves up from Bluefield. I haven’t been able to find much about Kara Terry, the Lugnuts’ new dietitian.


Andy Fermin

Vancouver Canadians

Manager: Brent Lavallee
Pitching Coach: Demetre Kokoris
Hitting Coach: Andy Fermin
Position Coach: Danny Canellas
Trainer: Brandon Hammerstrom
S&C Coach: Matt Hunter

The Vancouver Canadians will have a Canadian at the helm in 2020 as North Delta, B.C. native Brent Lavallee leaves his college coaching job at LSU Shreveport to join the Blue Jays. He also played at LSUS, hitting 18 home runs and driving in 78 runs in his senior year. Demetre Kokoris and Danny Canellas both return to Vancouver in the same roles they held last year while Andy Fermin gets his first crack at being a hitting coach after being a position coach in the Jays’ organization, most recently in New Hampshire. Hammerstrom was the trainer in Bluefield last year while it’s tough to pin down who this particularly Matt Hunter is since it’s a fairly common name.


Bluefield Blue Jays

Manager: Jose Mayorga
Pitching Coach: Rafael Lazo
Hitting Coach: Paul Elliott
Position Coach: Aaron Matthews
Trainer: Roelvis Vargas
S&C Coach: Tommy LaBriola

Jose Mayorga is a big new name for the Bluefield Blue Jays after he managed for the Blue Jays in the DSL last year. Elliott and Lazo return to the Bluefield Blue Jays in the same positions they had last year while Aaron Matthews was most recently seen as Vancouver’s hitting coach last season. Vargas was the trainer for the DSL Blue Jays last year and LaBriola was newly hired by the Blue Jays after being a sports performance intern at Georgetown University from June to October and doing other internships and assistantships since doing both a Bachelor’s degree and Master of Science degree at Salisbury University.


Dennis Holmberg

GCL Blue Jays

Manager: Dennis Holmberg
Pitching Coach: Cory Popham
Hitting Coach: Michel Abreu
Assistant Pitching Coach: Matt Tracy
Trainer: Jon Woodworth
S&C Coach: Taylor Haslinger

Both Holmberg and Abreu return to the GCL Blue Jays to reprise their roles from 2019 while pitching coach Popham moves up from being the assistant pitching coach in the DSL last year. Assistant pitching coach Matt Tracy (assuming it’s the same Matt Tracy) begins his coaching career with the GCL Blue Jays after being hired to pitch batting practice at the major league level last year, giving MLB hitters a chance to see former pro pitchers on the mound during BP. Jon Woodworth has been a trainer for many years, going back to 1980 with the Utica Blue Jays. He’s been as high as Triple-A and won Trainer of the Year in 1993 in the Florida State League and in 1999 in the International League. Woodworth was in the High Performance department in Dunedin last year as the Gulf Coast League Athletic Trainer, Certified and Latin American Coordinator. Taylor Haslinger appears to have been the Strength And Conditioning Intern Assistant at Webber International University for the past two years and has also been an intern at the University of Kentucky and with the Boston Red Sox. He has a Bachelor’s degree from Florida Gulf Coast University in Exercise Science.


Dominican Summer League

Field Coordinator: Pablo Cruz
Manager: Dane Fujinaka
Pitching Coach: Yoel Hernandez
Hitting Coach: Petr Stribrcky
Position Coach: Jose Mateo
Assistant Coach: Jesus Figueroa
Trainer: Alain Pacheco
Assistant Trainer: Ysidro Reyes
S&C Coach: Imbewer Alvarez
Asst. S&C Coach: Roswell Del Rosario

Fujinaka joins the Blue Jays’ staff as the manager after coaching stops at Menlo College, Sacramento State and Illinois State. Cruz, Hernandez, Stribrcky, Mateo, Figueroa, Reyes, Alvarez and Del Rosario all remain in the jobs they held in 2019 while Alain Pacheco joins the staff.


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