With so much focus being on the Dodgers’ prospects, each team’s managers will come into focus as those players develop. Here’s who they are, via a press release sent out by the Dodgers.
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers today announced managers for their minor league affiliates for the 2016 season, with Bill Haselman at Triple-A Oklahoma City, Ryan Garko at Double-A Tulsa, Drew Saylor at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, Gil Velazquez at Single-A Great Lakes, Shaun Larkin at Rookie-advanced Ogden and John Shoemaker skippering the Rookie-level Arizona League Dodgers.
Haselman continues his ascent up the Dodgers’ organization ladder as manager of Triple-A Oklahoma City after leading Single-A Rancho Cucamonga to a California League title in 2015. The 49-year-old enters his third year in the Dodger organization and his sixth season as a minor league skipper after leading Single-A Great Lakes in 2014, the Angels’ Single-A Inland Empire in 2012-13 and the Rangers’ Single-A Bakersfield in 2010. The UCLA product was a first-round draft pick of the Rangers in 1987 and went on to play 13 big league seasons with the Rangers (1990, 1998, 2000-02), Mariners (1992-94), Red Sox (1995-97, 2003) and Tigers (1998).
Garko, 34, will take over as Double-A Tulsa manager after 10 professional seasons as an outfielder, catcher and first baseman, including six big league seasons with the Indians (2005-09), Giants (2009) and Rangers (2010). Garko entered the coaching ranks in 2014 as an assistant coach at Stanford University, where he played college ball prior to being selected by Cleveland in the third round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft. Born in Pennsylvania, Garko grew up in Orange County and graduated from Servite High School in Anaheim.
Saylor, 31, joins the Dodger organization as Single-A Rancho Cucamonga manager after four years in the Rockies’ system as hitting coach for Rookie-advanced Grand Junction (2012) and Single-A Modesto (2015), and manager for Single-A Tri-City (2013-14), where his club compiled a 67-85 record (.441) over two seasons. Prior to his time in the Colorado organization, Saylor served as an assistant coach at the University of Akron (2011) and Cleveland State University (2009) following the conclusion of a five-year professional career in the Astros and Marlins minor league systems. He was originally selected by the Marlins in the 13th round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft out of Kent State University.
Velazquez assumes a manager’s role for the first time in his career with Single-A Great Lakes following his coaching debut last season as the fourth coach for the Rookie-level AZL Dodgers. The 36-year-old enjoyed a 17-year professional career as an infielder, including five big league seasons with the Red Sox (2008-09), Angels (2011) and Marlins (2012-13) after being selected by the Mets in the 14th round of the 1998 First-Year Player Draft.
Larkin, 36, joins the Dodger organization as Ogden’s skipper following three seasons coaching in the Indians organization, including his managerial debut last year with Single-A Lake County (71-66, .518). Prior to his time in the Cleveland organization, which included stints as hitting coach at Single-A Mahoning Valley (2013) and Lake County (2014), Larkin served as an assistant coach at several schools in his native Southern California, at his alma mater, Cal State Northridge, from 2011-12, Orange Coast College in 2010 and Newport Harbor High School in 2009. Selected by the Indians in the ninth round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft, Larkin played six professional seasons as an infielder in the Cleveland organization from 2002-07.
After serving as Ogden’s manager in 2015, Shoemaker will lead the AZL Dodgers as he embarks on his 40th season in the Los Angeles organization and 23rd season as a minor league manager. Drafted by the Dodgers in the 35th round of the 1977 draft, Shoemaker has been with the club ever since, as a player (1977-80), manager, coach and coordinator, and, last season, he was appointed as the Dodgers’ “Captain” of Player Development. He was also recognized by Minor League Baseball as the 2015 recipient of the Mike Coolbaugh Award, which is presented annually to an individual who has shown outstanding baseball work ethic, knowledge of the game and skill in mentoring young players on the field.
It’s an exciting group who may not get all the headlines, but are all nonetheless highly important to the Dodgers’ organizational future.