I was going to apologize for the brief preamble followed by a pair of press releases, but then I realized most of you would probably prefer that to my pompous pontification. The folks mentioned below really do deserve more than what I’m giving them here, it’s just that I’m out of town on a work trip — don’t worry, there’s nothing worth stealing in my house — and my time is super limited.
So with that in mind, here’s what you need to know about the Cubs’ minor league infrastructure.
The Chicago Cubs today announced their minor league managers and coaching staffs for the 2024 season. A detailed list of each club’s managers and coaching staffs are included on the following page. The Cubs minor league clubs include Triple-A Iowa, Double-A Tennessee, High-A South Bend, Low-A Myrtle Beach, the Arizona Complex League Mesa Cubs and the Dominican Summer League Cubs.
Marty Pevey returns as manager of the Iowa Cubs for the 12th-consecutive season, extending his franchise-record tenure while his 680 victories are also a franchise mark. Entering his 16th season in the organization, he has over 30 years of professional experience, beginning with 13 seasons as a player. All told, Pevey owns a 1,324-1,354 minor league managerial record and his 1,324 victories are eighth-most among active minor league skippers through 2023. The I-Cubs last year went 82-65, good for the third best record in the International League West Division.
Lance Rymel enters his first season as manager of the Tennessee Smokies following two seasons at the helm in South Bend. He guided the 2022 South Bend Cubs to the Midwest League title. This is his ninth season as a coach or manager in the Cubs organization, where he also managed Single-A Eugene in 2019 and the Cubs Dominican Summer League squad in 2017-18. He began his coaching career in 2016 following a three-year minor league playing career as a catcher in the Cubs chain from 2012-14. Rymel was selected by the Cubs in the 28th round of the 2012 Draft out of Rogers State.
Nick Lovullo enters his first season as manager of the South Bend Cubs. He previously managed the Arizona Complex League Mesa Cubs in 2023 after joining the organization in 2022 as Tennessee’s bench coach. He played six seasons as an infielder, primarily in the Red Sox chain from 2016-20 and in the Marlins farm system in 2021. The son of Diamondbacks manager, Torey Lovullo, Nick was selected by Boston in the 20th round of the 2016 Draft out of the College of Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.
Buddy Bailey will return to manage the Myrtle Beach Pelicans and is in his 36th season as a minor league manager. Bailey owns 2,355 regular season victories, the most among active minor league managers and third among all-time minor league managers. In 2023, he guided the Pelicans to the Carolina League playoffs for the second consecutive season. Bailey managed South Bend in 2019 following three campaigns as manager for Myrtle Beach from 2016-18.
Corey Ray enters his first season as manager of the Arizona Complex League Mesa Cubs after serving as Myrtle Beach’s bench coach during the 2023 campaign. Selected by Milwaukee in the first round (fifth overall) in the 2016 Draft, he played seven years, all with the Brewers organization, including an appearance in the 2017 Futures game. The Chicago native was a 2016 Golden Spikes Award finalist at the University of Louisville.
Carlos Ramírez enters his sixth season as a manager for the Cubs Dominican Summer League team, and his ninth season as a coach or manager in the organization. He was a coach for the Dominican League club from 2016-18 following three seasons as a catcher in the system from 2012-14.
Enrique Wilson is in his seventh season with the Cubs Dominican Summer League club and his third as a manager after serving as a hitting coach. He had a nine-year major league playing career with Cleveland (1997-2000), Pittsburgh (2000-01), the Yankees (2001-04) and the Cubs (2005) in which he batted .244 with 22 home runs in 555 games.
The Chicago Cubs today announced their minor league coordinators for the 2024 season.
Kevin Graber enters his second season with the Cubs as minor league field coordinator while also serving as the baserunning coordinator for the first time. He was previously as a part-time associate scout with the Yankees from 2009-22 while also working for the Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., as senior associate director of admission and varsity baseball coach starting in 2008. Graber, a former infielder who played professionally in the independent leagues both domestically and in Australia, attended Winthrop University, earned his Bachelor’s degree in Public Communications from The College of Saint Rose in 1992 and earned his Master’s in Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2008.
Mark Johnson is in his 14th year in the Cubs system and will serve as assistant field coordinator for the third-consecutive season. In nine seasons as a minor league manager, he earned a Midwest League title with Single-A Kane County in 2014 and a Carolina League title with Single-A Myrtle Beach in 2015 before he guided Double-A Tennessee from 2016-18. Johnson played 17 seasons (1994-2010), including 322 major league games with the White Sox (1998-2002), Oakland (2003), Milwaukee (2004) and St. Louis (2008).
Dave Keller begins his 21st year in the organization and first as the minor league roving instructor, following nine seasons as minor league Latin America field coordinator. He brings over 35 years of minor league coaching and managerial experience, managing three clubs to championship series appearances, including a Florida State League title with Single-A Daytona in 2013. The former first baseman played in the Reds chain for three seasons (1982-84) after Cincinnati selected him in the 28th round of the 1982 Draft.
Dai Dai Otaka is in his second year with the Cubs as minor league infield coordinator following a collegiate playing career at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. from 2017-20 and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore during the 2021 campaign, in which he batted .314 in 22 games at shortstop. Otaka was named Yale Baseball Rookie of the Year in 2017 and helped Yale lead the nation in double plays per game his Junior year. He earned his Bachelor’s in Political Science from Yale.
Doug Dascenzo enters his tenth year as the organization’s minor league outfield coordinator, bringing with him 24 years of coaching experience. He played parts of seven seasons in the majors, including five with the Cubs (1988-92). He coached in the Padres system from 1999-2011, including six seasons as a minor league manager. He also coached in the Braves system from 2012-14, including third-base coach for the major league team in 2014.
Casey Jacobson is in his fifth season in the organization, his second as minor league senior coordinator, pitching development following three campaigns as coordinator, pitching development. A former instructor at Driveline Baseball in Kent, Wash., Jacobson coached six seasons in the college ranks with Macalester College (pitching coach, 2014-18) in St. Paul, Minn., and Augustana University (assistant coach, 2019) in Sioux Falls, S.D. The former right-handed pitcher played collegiately at St. Mary’s in Winona, Minn., and Augustana prior to a stint with Roswell in the independent Pecos League in 2013. He graduated from Augustana University with a B.S. in Physics.
James Ogden begins his fifth campaign as the organization’s minor league coordinator of pitching performance. He had a seven-year tenure as pitching coach for Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., where he helped the team to the 2015 Atlantic Sun championship. He graduated from Lipscomb with a B.A. in Oral Communications with a minor in Health in 2008 and earned his Master’s in Education with an emphasis on Instructional Leadership in 2010.
Carlos Chantres is in his sixth season with the organization, and his fifth as assistant coordinator, pitching. The 2024 season will be his 19th as a coach, coordinator, or special assistant. He spent two years with Atlanta, including as a special assistant to player development in 2018, after stints coaching in the Tigers (2015) and Mariners (2016) chains. Chantres spent nine seasons coaching in the Yankees system (2006-14) after 12 minor league seasons (1994-2005) pitching with the White Sox (1994-2000), Brewers (2001), Devil Rays (2002), and Phillies (2004-05) organizations.
Matt Hinkley has been named Arizona pitching coordinator and will oversee minor league development and players working to rehab from injuries at the Mesa complex. In October 2016, he co-founded Kansas City Strength & Conditioning, where he remains a minority owner, before serving as pitching coordinator at Cressey Sports Performance from December 2021-2023. Hinkley earned his Bachelor of Science in Health & Human Performance from Emporia State University in 2015.
Rachel Folden is in her fifth year with the Cubs and her second as minor league hitting coordinator, while also serving as the Hitting Coach for Double-A Tennessee for the first season. She previously served as a hitting coach with the Arizona Complex League club and was the lead hitting lab tech. She created Folden Fastpitch in 2010, providing baseball and softball instruction, and played five seasons (2008-12) in the National Pro Fastpitch league, including time with the Chicago Bandits. Folden is a 2008 graduate of Marshall University, having majored in history with a minor in mathematics and was named to the Marshall Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019.
Steven Pollakov is in his fifth season with the Cubs, his second as minor league hitting coordinator. In 2022, he served as assistant hitting coordinator and was a hitting coach for Low-A Myrtle Beach. Pollakov served as a hitting apprentice in the Houston Astros farm system in 2019, integrating technology and biomechanics into hitting programs. In 2018, he served as catching coordinator in the Boston Red Sox Dominican Republic Academy. Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2016 by the Chicago White Sox, Pollakov is a graduate of Buffalo Grove High School in Illinois.
Greg Brown enters his first season as hitting coordinator/special assistant to the general manager/president after serving as a special assistant last year and the Cubs major league hitting coach in 2022. Before joining the Cubs organization, Brown was the minor league hitting coordinator for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2020-21, following nine seasons as the head coach at Nova Southern University and two years as an area scout with the Houston Astros in 2009-10. The former catcher was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2003 with the Florida Marlins and played four minor league seasons.
Desi Wilson begins his 17th season with the Cubs and his second as minor league position player rehab/development list coordinator following 15 campaigns as a minor league hitting coach, the last six with Triple-A Iowa. Selected by Texas in the 30th round of the 1991 Draft, he appeared in 41 games for the San Francisco Giants in 1996, hitting .271 with two home runs and 12 RBI.
Blaine Kinsley enters his second full season as director of strength and conditioning and performance nutrition following five years with the University of Arkansas, first as baseball assistant strength and conditioning coach then as director of baseball strength and conditioning starting in June of 2019. Kinsley was a strength and conditioning coach in the St. Louis Cardinals chain in 2016-17. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in sports management and health and exercise science from Lenoir-Rhyne University, and from the University of Arkansas, received a Masters of Physical Education in 2020. Kinsley is working towards his PhD in Health, Sport and Exercise Science at Arkansas.
James Edwards is in his eighth season in the Cubs organization and his third as minor league medical coordinator after he was minor league assistant medical coordinator in 2021. He handled athletic trainer duties with Double-A Tennessee (2020), Single-A South Bend (2018-19) and Single-A Eugene (2017), and also served as an intern with the Arizona League Cubs in 2016. He earned a B.S. in Athletic Training from Aurora University and a M.S. in Exercise Science from California University of Pennsylvania.
Sean Folan begins his 10th season with the Cubs and his third as a minor league assistant medical coordinator. In 2021, he served as a rehab athletic trainer and strength and conditioning coach following three seasons as Single-A Eugene’s athletic trainer. Folan earned his Master’s in Athletic Training from Florida International University in Miami in 2014 after he graduated from Concordia University of Chicago in 2012 with a degree in Exercise Science.
Dallas Lopez will serve his second year as the Arizona Complex League strength and conditioning coordinator and is in his 10th season with the organization. He has handled minor league strength and conditioning coach duties with Rookie League Mesa (2015-16, 2022), Single-A Eugene (2017-18), Single-A South Bend (2019) and Triple-A Iowa (2021). Lopez graduated from Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D., with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.
Dr. Samantha Kurkjian is in her first year as Team Sport Psychologist. She joins the organization from LodeStone Center for Behavioral Health where she has served as a Licensed Clinical and Sport Psychologist since July 2022 and held the same role at Illinois State University from August 2016-June 2022. Dr. Kurkjian earned her Doctor of Psychology, Clinical Psychology, and Sport Psychology in 2015 from Arizona School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University Phoenix and her Masters in Clinical Psychology from Argosy University in 2013.
Javier Guerrero is in his fifth season as mental skills coordinator and his 10th season in the organization. He spent 2018-19 as a minor league mental skills assistant following three seasons as a Dominican Republic video operations assistant. He graduated with a B.S. in Clinical Psychology from Universidad Iberoamericana in 2006 and earned his graduate certificate in International Family & Community Studies from Clemson University in 2007.
Along with the Minor League Coordinators, the following staff and advisors have also been named for the 2024 season: Matt Buschmann, Special Advisor, Player Development; Mike Mason, Advisor to Pitching Development; Tom Beyers, Senior Advisor, Hitting; and Edgar Pérez, Latin American Assimilation Coach.
Additionally, the International Scouting department has promoted Gian Guzman to Director, Latin American Scouting, Miguel Diaz has been promoted to Scouting Supervisor, Dominican Republic, Sebastián Rodríguez has been elevated to Associate Scout, Dominican Republic, and Brad Moylan moves into the full-time role of International Scouting Data and Technology Assistant.