The Toronto Blue Jays announced their 2021 coaching staffs for the minor leagues and there are a lot of familiar faces to those who have been keeping track of the organization (and even those who have paid slightly less attention). The clubs staffs are headlined by managers Casey Candaele (Buffalo), Cesar Martin (New Hampshire), Donnie Murphy (Vancouver), Luis Hurtado (Lansing), Brent Lavallee (GCL) and Dane Fujinaka (DSL).
Casey Candaele has been on the Blue Jays’ payroll for several years now and wasn’t supposed to be on the field last year with Ken Huckaby supposed to manage the Buffalo Bisons in 2020. Huckaby isn’t with the organization anymore and Candaele has managed in the organization before (in addition to his MLB playing career) and will also wear the dual hat of Field Coordinator as well as manager. Joining Candaele will be Jeff Ware (pitching coach), Corey Hart (hitting coach), Devon White (position coach), Jake McGuiggan (development coach), Caleb Daniel (trainer), Justin Batcher (strength and conditioning coach), Kat Mangieri (dietician) and John Lannan (mental performance coach).
This is essentially the same lineup that the Blue Jays had in place for 2020 with the exceptions of Huckaby as manager as well as the support staff. Bob Tarpey isn’t returning as the training while Daniel was scheduled to be the trainer in New Hampshire last year. The same situation happened with Mangieri, who was supposed to be the staff dietician in New Hampshire in 2020. Batcher would have been the strength and conditioning coach in Dunedin, had there been a 2020 season and the position of mental performance coach is new with former MLB pitcher John Lannan taking that role for Buffalo and Dunedin.
Martin is one of the Blue Jays’ rising managerial stars and he was supposed to manage New Hampshire last year before the shut down. He’ll be joined by Jim Czajkowski (pitching), Matt Hague (hitting), Chris Schaeffer (position), Evan Short (development), Luke Greene (trainer), Casey Callison (strength and conditioning), Kara Terry (dietician) and Rob DiBernardo (mental performance).
Matt Hague is taking the position of hitting coach as the only change from the core staff that was supposed to be in place last year. Hague, a former big leaguer, was a roving instructor last year and he is also the organization’s “Swing Consultant.” Rob DiBernardo joins as the mental performance coach for both New Hampshire and Vancouver.
Vancouver now becomes the Blue Jays’ High-A club and Donnie Murphy, who would have managed the High-A Dunedin Blue Jays last year heads out to Vancouver for 2021. He’s joined by Antonio Caceres (pitching), Ryan Wright (hitting), Danny Canellas (position), Taylor Hill (development), Brandon Hammerstrom (trainer), Tommy LaBriola (strength and conditioning), Geoff Stallman (dietician) and Rob DiBernardo (mental performance).
Caceres would have been the pitching coach in Dunedin last year while Matt Hague would have been the hitting coach. Wright was joining the organization last year as the hitting coach for Lansing and so he gets bumped up a level in the process. George Carroll would have been the position coach and Canellas takes over, a year after he was supposed to be the position coach in Vancouver.
Some changes may be that because the High-A team will now be based in Vancouver, Canadian work permits may need to be secured for those staff joining the team.
The Dunedin Blue Jays are now the Blue Jays’ Low-A club (we’ll miss you, Lansing Lugnuts) and they’ll be managed by Luis Hurtado, who was scheduled to manage the Lugnuts last year. He’s joined by Phil Cundari (pitching), Matt Young (hitting), George Carroll (position), Drew Hayes (development), Roelvis Vargas (Trainer), Matt Hunter (strength and conditioning), Lauren Poole (dietitian) and Ben Freakley (mental performance).
The shuffle from coaches’ expected assignments from 2020 continues as Cundari remains with the Low-A team (he was supposed to be in Lansing last year) while Matt Young comes down from New Hampshire. George Carroll takes over as position coach.
In the Gulf Coast League, Brent Lavallee is the manager with Jose Mayorga (bench coach), Cory Riordan (pitching), Paul Elliott (hitting), Dennis Holmberg (position), Zach Stewart (development), Jon Woodworth (trainer), Taylor Haslinger (strength and conditioning), Trevor Lomax (dietician) and Matthew Galvez (mental performance).
Lavallee is a Canadian and was supposed to manage the Vancouver Canadians last year while Mayorga, who will be his bench coach, was supposed to manage in Bluefield last year. Elliott was also supposed to fill the same role in Bluefield last year and Holmberg, long time Bluefield manager, was supposed to manage the GCL.
Finally, in the Dominican Summer League, Pablo Cruz is the field coordinator with Dane Fujinaka returning as manager. Yoel Hernandez (pitching), Andy Fermin (hitting), Petr Stribrcky (hitting), Deiferson Barreto (position), Jose Mateo (position), Alain Pacheco (trainer), Ysidro Reyes (trainer), Imbewer Alvarez (strength and conditioning), Roswell Del Rosario (asst. strength and conditioning) and Matthew Galvez (mental performance).
The staff in the DSL is pretty much the same as it was supposed to be last year with Barreto getting the gig as position coach in addition to Jose Mateo and Andy Fermin getting the second hitting coach position.
There are, of course, more staff in Dunedin with Gil Kim as the director of Player Development, Charlie Wilson (Director, Minor League Operations) and Joe Sclafani (Assistant Director, Player Development) leading the crew. Hunter Mense is the hitting coordinator while Dallas McPherson is the skill development coordinator. Danny Solano is the infield coordinator and Matt Buschmann is the director of pitching development as well as the major league bullpen coach. Cory Popham and Matt Tracy are the pitching development coordinator and Reed Kienle is the minor league hitting analyst. Evan Short is the pitching skills coach and strategist while David Howell is the complex pitching coach and Demetre Kokoris is the rehab pitching coach with Luis Silva as the rehab position player coach.
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