Dodgers Minor League Managers – Part One

This is part one of a two part series on profiles of the Dodgers minor league managers.  Today we will present the full season minor league affiliates while tomorrow we will profile the rookie league managers.

Oklahoma City Dodgers – Travis Barbary

Barbary is in his first year as a manager in the Dodgers minor league system. He was given a brief profile on LADT when the OKC Dodgers 2019 coaching staff was announced.

Tulsa Drillers – Scott Hennessey

Hennessey was born in Olathe, Kansas and attended high school in his home town at Olathe North high school. He was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the 43rd round  of the 1990 First-Year Player Draft.

His professional career started in 1990 with the Gulf Coast League Royals and ended the following season, at age-20, with the Baseball City Royals of the  A+ Florida State League.

There is a bit of a gap in the information about his career following his brief professional appearance for two seasons. The gap is only in the years served at Cowley County Community College where  Hennessey was an assistant coach during the school’s NJCAA World Series Championship in 1997-98.

Following that he worked as the head coach from 1998 through 2006 at two different high schools in Florida – Episcopal and Arlington Country Day  High Schools in the Jacksonville area – where he won a state title in 2006 at Arlington Country Day.

Beginning in 2007 Hennessey scouted for the Dodgers and among his signees were  Chris Anderson, Dee Gordon and Darnell Sweeney.

When Ryan Garko resigned as manager of the Tulsa Drillers in late July 2017, Hennessey took over as an interim manager with the team sporting a 50-50 win/loss record and seemingly little opportunity to make the play-offs. He sparked them to a 27-13 record over the final 40 regular season games, including a club record 15-game home winning streak, to claim the North Division second-half title.

The Drillers downed the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in the North Division Playoff Series and won the first two games of the Texas League Championship series on the road only to lose the next  three at home and were forced to watch the Midland Rockhounds celebrate a championship at ONEOK Field.

It is unclear what the Dodgers had in mind for Hennessey following the 2017 but Drillers president/general manager Mike Melega knew what he wanted. He made a plea with the Dodgers to bring  him back for the 2018 season and the rest is history.

The Drillers went on to capture their first league championship in 20 years in 2018 and Scott Hennessey got the usual baptism with a bucket of water dumped over his head.

“I can’t say enough good things about Scott and the job he has done this season,” Melega said. “He sets the tone in the clubhouse and has the undying respect of his players and couldn’t be better to work with in the front office, either. Having Scott at the helm makes winning the TL championship more special to me and the entire Drillers organization.”

Hennessey did receive an unexpected reward following the Drillers championship run. He was invited to Dodger Stadium and at age-48 on September 24 he put on a big league uniform for the first time for a major league game.

He returns as the Drillers manager for the 2019 season  He is anxious on helping the Drillers repeat as Texas League champions in 2019 and was equally excited to go to spring training with the Dodgers.

“I’m real excited to get to big league spring training, just to see what the daily routine is for those guys just getting started, how they go about it,” said Hennessey, who got his taste of the majors as an extra coach late last season with the Dodgers. “I want to learn as much as I can like I did when I was up last year.”

Rancho Cucamonga Quakes – Mark Kertenian

Kertenian is a native of Pasadena, California and not surprisingly grew up a Dodger fan. He played his high school baseball at Arcadia High School and followed that with  two years at Los Angeles City College, before transferring to Point Loma Nazarene. He played as a utility player with time both on the mound and in the field. He was never drafted.

Since completing his degrees, he has put many notches in his baseball coaching belt.

Kertenian has worked as an assistant coach  at Cal State Northridge (2001-10 ) and was also an assistant at Nevada (2013-14) before assuming the same role at Florida International University (2015-16). Along with his work in coaching he gained a reputation as a recruiter.

“Mark has been the recruiting coordinator at two outstanding Universities, the University of Nevada and Cal State Northridge, and in his college career he has been very instrumental in bringing in tremendous recruiting classes, as well as, doing a great job of developing players,” said FIU head coach Turtle Thomas. “That obviously is the biggest thing you are looking for from your student-athletes, which is bringing in student-athletes and developing them into outstanding college baseball players. That’s what Mark has shown over the years in which he has been in college baseball.”

Kertenian, as with the college players he coached, has aspirations of a professional career and went looking for an opportunity for the 2017 season. He found one with the Dodgers that was to his liking  when he observed how the Dodgers were going about streamlining their player development system.

“Having players drafted and signed, and having them return and talk to me about their experiences, it was becoming evident … that the Dodgers and how they’re developing their farm system and staffs was the best,” Kertenian said. “It’s a very holistic and amazing approach to development, so I pursued the Dodgers heavily.”

In his first year as a professional manager with the Ogden Raptors he helped the diverse squad of youngsters capture the Pioneer League Championship. During the 2018 season he secured a repeat championship, although this time with the AZL Dodgers.

In an interview with Hot Stove Baseball Talk Kertenian  was asked about  his success to date and if he feels any pressure moving to the Dodgers Class A+ Rancho Cucamonga Quakes for the 2019 season.

“The task at hand will be for the staff and players, doing what they need to do to fuel themselves and go forward. It’s everybody’s opportunity, especially from the player’s standpoint, to be where they have been working to be. No player or coach wants to end his career at High-A Rancho, the focus will be on moving towards that next level, not necessarily trying to win a championship.”

Great Lakes Loons – John Shoemaker

What can we say about the venerable John Shoemaker that hasn’t already been said?

Very briefly, he was selected by the Dodgers in the 35th Round  of the 1977 First-Year Player Draft amateur draft and played four seasons in the Dodgers chain from 1977-1980. In 1981 be became a hitting coach with the Vero Beach Dodgers. Of note, he was also drafted by the Chicago Bulls of the NBA in their 1978 draft.

“Shoe”, as he is affectionately called, is entering his 43rd season in the Dodgers organization and 26th season as a minor league manager. The 62-year-old native of Mount Vernon, Ohio has managed in 11 different locations for the Dodgers and returned to the Loons in 2018 for the second time. He has been a minor league manager for a staggering 3363 games.

It is impossible to even suggest how many young players whose lives he has impacted during his long coaching career.

“The tree of baseball players that have grown from Shoe’s influence is endless,” says Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis, who credits Shoemaker with helping save his career in 2007. “It’s amazing how many people’s lives he has touched.”

Yet he never made it to MLB while others with whom he has worked have become big league managers – Mike Scioscia, Ron Roenicke, Jerry Royster, Terry Collins and Kevin Kennedy. He certainly had a dream of coaching at the MLB level yet accepts what baseball has given him in return and is most likely more loyal to the Dodgers than even Tommy Lasorda might have been if he had inherited Shoe’s lot.

He says he has loved the Dodgers too much to ever consider moving to an organization that would offer more upward mobility. It is his ability to impart this love to impressionable young players that apparently makes him so valuable right where he is.

“I feel the job that I have at this moment is the most important job in the organization, that’s  how I operate,” he says. “If I never went to the big leagues as a regular coach, I wouldn’t think I was cheated. This is baseball. This is teaching and developing young men. How can anyone think I was cheated?”

“I think he probably suffered from being such a good instructor and coordinator,” former Dodger GM Dan Evans says. “He would only impact 25 guys in the major leagues, while he can impact dozens of people in the minor leagues.”

John Shoemaker is the first Dodger since Davy Lopes to wear a captain’s “C”. In July 2015 he was honored by the Dodgers in the clubhouse at Lindquist Field in Ogden.  In front of a  wildly cheering team  Shoe received an honor unmatched in all of minor league baseball. They put a “C” on his jersey, where it will remain for the rest of his career. He will forever be the Dodgers’ Captain of Player Development.

This article has 75 Comments

  1. This is sort of an inside joke that only a few will get.

    Michelle, The Beatles

    Michelle, ma belle
    These are words that go together well
    My Michelle
    Michelle, ma belle
    Sont les mots qui vont tres bien ensemble
    Tres bien ensemble
    I love you, I love you, I love you
    That’s all I want to say
    Until I find a way
    I will say the only words I know that
    You’ll understand
    Michelle, ma belle
    Sont les mots qui vont tres bien ensemble
    Tres bien ensemble
    I need to, I need to, I need to
    I need to make you see
    Oh, what you mean to me
    Until I do I’m hoping you will
    Know what I mean
    I love you
    I want you, I want you, I want you
    I think you know by now
    I’ll get to you somehow
    Until I do I’m telling you so
    You’ll understand
    Michelle, ma belle
    Sont les mots qui vont tres bien ensemble
    Tres bien ensemble
    I will say the only words I know
    That you’ll understand, my Michelle

  2. Nice piece. I learned some things. Many people consider Jaime Jarrin an underappreciated Dodger legend. John Shoemaker fits into that category as well.

  3. “I feel the job that I have at this moment is the most important job in the organization, that’s how I operate,” he says. “If I never went to the big leagues as a regular coach, I wouldn’t think I was cheated. This is baseball. This is teaching and developing young men. How can anyone think I was cheated?”
    Think that says everything you need to know about John Shoemaker.

  4. You guys and MJ had fun yesterday. I thought I was the oldest on this blog until Gordie blew me out of the water.

    Nice article D.C. I often wonder what the managers and coaches are paid. I am sure it is not enough. AF hired Spanish speaking coaches for every team. This has to help with kids coming from Cuba etc.

    I have been with Mark since 2006, I think. I remember he had to suspend two people. They were not nice and Mark should of suspended them long before he did. I really appreciate every one. We can disagree without being nasty. Great job everyone and go Dodgers.

  5. Shoemaker is a class act. I love that the Dodgers have guys like Shoe around. Thanks for the reminder DC, about the minor league coaches and managers we tend to forget about and their important role developing our future big leaguers.

    Real games begin 3 weeks from tomorrow. How about that weird Thursday opener? Anyone as concerned as I am that 2/5 of our rotation hasn’t pitched yet and our shortstop hasn’t appeared in a game thus far?

    Some Spring Observations
    Muncy has yet to play 2B.
    Turner needs to save some for the regular season games.
    Joc is rooting for Alex to win the LF job.
    DJ still has power and stikeouts and somehow his batting average is higher than his OBP
    Beaty and Estevez disagree with their spots on the prospect rankings.
    The most ABs have gone to a 28 yo outfielder that no one has ever heard of and has no chance at making the team.
    Some of us forgot Andrew Toles exists.
    Lux and Ruiz need more seasoning.
    We have 2 rotations and bullpens and both will be better than many MLB teams.

    1. In case you are interested, here’s a John Shoemaker interview I did back in 2011:

      1. Esoteric Clash lead in. One of my top ten bands ever. Listened to that song yesterday. Zach Lee and Garret Gould, what duds, eh? You can really see what a wise man Shoemaker is. What a great fit to teach the youngsters coming up.

        You have a broadcaster’s voice, Mark. I think you missed your calling.

    2. Good point about Muncy not seeing any reps at 2b. That should pump the brakes on any serious thoughts of him getting substantial playing time there. Look like Taylor/Keekay job-share to me.

      1. I’m would rather they make one of them the starting second basemen and the other the utility guy. Whoever hits better gets to keep the starting job. You can make arguments for either. Kike has platoon splits and a little more pop. Taylor doesn’t have platoon splits but steals more bases, more doubles.

        1. I’d rather see Taylor there and Keekay used as a utility guy but Keekay might hit 30 HRs if he ever got an everyday gig. A good problem to have I think.

          1. I asked someone on another blog what his prediction was for 2b playing time and he said 54/54/54 among Taylor/Muncy/Keekay.

            I think we now suspect Muncy won’t see that many game there.

            Funny how the trade of Puig and Kemp was a lot about Bellinger, as they clearly want him playing RF every day. I always thought it was more about Verdugo and maybe Harper.

  6. I posted something on last thread but probably not too many people saw it.

    Anyone got any options on The Athletic subscriptions, is it worth it, would love to hear comments.

    Thanks, and Think Blue.

    1. I responded to it this AM.

      Yes I have the subscription, and yes it is very much worth it. It has good coverage of other sports as well.

  7. Damn sounds like have some seasoned veterans in this group! I”m 47; born in 1971. Am I the youngest one here?? Should I be calling all of you sirs and ma’ams??

    1. I thought it was the “younger” here, but you are 2 years younger than me …

      1. Bum

        Since I have three brothers that are much older then me, I have the song track of the 60s in my mind, and I love the Beatles.

        Like Paul McCarthy wrote, “ When I find myself in times of trouble Mother Mary often talks to me, and gives me words of wisdom, Let it Be”.

        But I do I find it amusing at this point.

        1. DC exactly!

          It is only about what is in your mind, because age is just a number.

          And like Bumchuck mentioned, if 60 is the new 40, 70 is the new 50, and so on.

          We all made it to the 21 century.

        2. That’s awesome DC! But, I can’t bring myself to watch or listen to Toby Keith. 😉

          1. 59 – I am classic country all the way which started to disappear in the mid-eighties. I could not name a Toby Keith song but this one came at the end of the movie and is done in classic country style. Good ballad type lyrics and background music. No squealing guitars and clanging drums which overpower the vocalist.

    2. Bobby you should always treat your elders with respect. That is how we were taught as children.

  8. Just a few observations:

    If not for LA DODGERTALK, The Athletic would be the best site on the web! 😉 It’s worth it!

    I think the Dodgers have ZERO plans to play Muncy at 2B. I thought they would, but Nooooooooooo! I think the job is CT3’s to lose. Kike will play there once a week, once a week at SS, 3B, maybe RF, CTFand LF. Kike will play almost every day as a utilityman.

    Joc Pederson sn the LF’er, but Alex could take to job. He won’t be given it and Joc could lose it too.

  9. I agree Taylor will be at second. Taylor and Seager will make a very good defense up the middle. In fact the Dodger defense could be very up the middle with Barnes and Pollock.

    I think Verdugo will win the LF spot. If he does not, they have a problem. Both Joc and Verdugo are left handed. Joc is a platoon player. You could platoon Kike with Joc, but now you lose Kike as the super sub. It will all work out.

    1. 70% of pitchers are righties. If Kike’ platoons with Joc he would be available to relieve other players in 70% of the games. Verdugo will play all outfield spots until he wins a spot for himself.

      A report early in Spring training said Joc was spending a lot of time with hitting instructors on hitting lefties that would carry over to helping him hit against righties.

  10. Mark, you could be right about everything you just said. Makes perfect sense for the time being. If the Dodgers can work out a deal for Pederson they might open with Verdugo in LF. I don’t know how many options Verdugo has left, but he could also be a candidate to open the season at OKC.

    But like I said in a previous post, and as others have suggested, the Dodgers will likely look a lot different at the end of the season than they do at the beginning.

    1. If Verdugo hits over .300 this Spring, I don’t see how they can keep him off the roster!

      1. Making the Dodgers’ 25, whether as a reserve or regular, will give Verdugo a salary of about $550,000. If he goes back to OK he rides buses and makes something like $40,000. He needs to make the team. He has earned a spot.

        Verdugo, with his plus bat to ball skills, would be a good pinch hitter. A much better pinch hitter than Joc.

          1. Yeah, Verdugo is not making this roster to be a pinch hitter. He will be the LF if he makes the roster and will be the LF for the next 10 years (unless he’s dealt)

          2. Verdugo is making the team. He gets his shot. BTW ChuckBum. I get my tan by sitting in the English Rain.

  11. Verdugo already knows how to hit lefties.

    And with the possibility that Corey won’t be ready for opening day, both Taylor and Kike will be busy.

    Joc is very familiar with sitting on the bench, and why should Verdugo, if he hits both lefties and righties.

    1. Verdugo also is capable of playing CF occasionally to give Pollock a breather.

      Just for fun, what if Verdugo plays 60 games in LF, 30 in CF, & 30 in RF.

      I know Roberts wants to do slightly less platooning and moving all around but Bellinger can play 162 games, so he can sub in for Muncy at 1B when Muncy DHs or maybe plays a little 3B.

      I don’t know, but I think there’s a way Verdugo can be a near full-time player without being the everyday LF.

      1. Palmdale

        That might be true, but as you know, this is the big leagues, and Verdugo has only had 77 at bats in the majors.

        And it is hard enough for veteran players to try to hit in that type of a situation, so I don’t think the Dodgers would want to put one of their young players, in limbo like that.

        I think that is part of the reason the Dodgers have made a big commitment since spring training started, to say Cody will be starting, and playing everyday this year.

        We do have some guys that can pull that off, but they make it look easier then it is, and I am sure you are very aware of that.

        But you might be right too.

  12. I’m just throwing this out there: If Kershaw isn’t ready for opening day, I would be in favor of Hill getting the start. It really doesn’t matter the order that much but he’s the guy I personally would give the ball too. No offense to Ryu or Buehler.

    1. I’d say Ryu, as we trusted him with Game 1 of the playoffs and he delivered big. Then again, Hill is a vet leader, he’s likely never started on opening day, and this might very well be his last year in LA.

      Of course if Hill started, he’d be taken out of the in the 4th after having thrown 26 pitches and allowing no base runners and having struck out 7 guys (because we can’t have guys seeing him more than once)

  13. How about the possibility of signing Kimbrel? If he would do a one year deal it could happen. Of course, there is that luxury tax thing again. But, if they were willing to go over on Harper then I guess they will to improve the team. Since kershaw is probably out they will need to rely on the bullpen even more. If Jansen and Kimbrel could coincide it could work.

    What are the chances that seager is on the opening day roster? I am shocked it is a possibility. But, I can’t get too excited about any drivel coming ou of Roberts mouth. He has to interview but that’s too bad. First, Cory was cf, 1b, then the everyday rfielder. Then, Muncy May be the second basemen but hey why waste him there in spring training. Kershaw feels good, feels bad but still opening day starter, I mean wait it is fair that he might not be. He has been sold on verdugo a long time but hey I don’t know if we can find a place or not. Seager is checking all the boxes but I don’t know if he can play in a mlb spring training game. Urias has a shot at a rotation spot but well we better watch his innings so nah! I’m sorry I just can’t listen to him contradict himself in the same interview. But, he has great communication skills

    1. Therealten

      I don’t put a lot in the different things Roberts says at this point of the season either.

      I agree with Brooklyn, that this team won’t look like it will on opening day, at the end of the season.

      Isn’t Kimbrel insisting on being a closer?

      1. I don’t put a lot into anything Roberts says, he says one thing and does another the next day and most of the time he says a lot of words, but doesn’t really say anything.

  14. I don’t know how Kimbrel would feel or Jansen. I suppose that would be a negotiating point. It is probably a huge long shot but hey they had Chapman at one time. Fields is a guy I would be willing to send somewhere for a roster spot.

    1. Therealten

      I actually feel like you about that, because I feel if a player or pitcher really wants to win, they need to leave their ego off the field

      But it is so late, that isn’t a bad idea at all to bring Kimbrel up, especially for a good deal, like you suggested.

      And they did fix him from tipping pitches last year.

    2. Therealten

      That isn’t a bad idea at all, especially if you can sign him for one year like you said.

      And I feel like you, if a player or pitcher wants to win, leave their ego off the field.

      And apparently they fixed Kimbrel’s issue about tipping pitches.

    3. I would love to have Kimbrel-would he take $10M+incentives? Talk about shortening the game-Kelly-Kimbrel-Kenley baby! Have to think if he takes a 1 year deal he goes back to Boston. There are a few other cheap bullpen options still out there unsigned as well. Not sure how the draft pick compensation works, doesn’t the contract have to be above $50M?

  15. If Kimbrel would take a one year deal there would probably be a lot of competition. I could see the cards, nationals, braves, Phillies, and others jumping in the fray. I don’t think anyone gets him for less than the qualifying offer. But obviously he is not happy with his current offers. The longer he goes probably the less leverage he has. Teams are not going to want to invest largely in an investment they can’t fully access.

  16. So has anyone ever had to have an epidural injection into the nerve root? And if so, did your doctor hit the root with the needle? I did and my leg went completely paralyzed for 45 minutes. It was terrifying although I played it off as nothing bid deal.
    I found out today from a different doctor, that it was not common, nor normal. The doctor that did the treatment, is one who worked for the Raiders, 49ers, Sharks and others, and I think he gets too aggressive when treating patients.

    1. No, I never did have one of those, but I did have a brain scan recently… they didn’t find anything…

      1. Not true. You can read and write and probably understand cursive alphabet. Most Americans can’t do that these days.

          1. I have had so many MRI’s I now fall asleep inside of them. I was an electrician and as a young boy working with my father, he had me crawling under houses and in attics pulling wire, so I got used to small spaces is my synopsis. Hospitals and I bonded long ago and that I wrote a couple songs about them, “FEED ON PAIN” and “THE WAITING ROOM”.

  17. Heard an interesting podcast from our boy David Vasseghe. He mentioned that the first half of the season the Dodgers have a very challenging schedule and will be lucky to be .500 by midseason. If you check the schedule he is right, His reasoning is he thinks instead of icing Urius until the end of the until August and September, with Kershaw being on the DL to start the season, the Dodgers may go with him the first two months. With the teams he mentioned the first 3 months(Brewers, Cardinaks, Cubs, Phillies, Braves, Nationals, AL East teams) the man has a point. I think it is huge that we get a good start out of the gate, and that means above all having a healthy Justin Turner, who by now we all know by now is the linchpin to this team. Also, IMO our biggest offseason pick-up is a healthy Cory Seager, who can flat out rake when he is healthy. He is a gamechanger, and as multiple guys on this site have said, can be a top 5 MVP candidate. I keep hearing on SportsNet how the commentators keep mentioning that there is zero World Series hangover this year, and the clubhouse has a big time edge to it to finish some business. I hope it’s true, because we are friggin locked and loaded. By the way, so, so glad we have Freese on the roster, he can play some first base and kill lefties and also spell JT. Let’s do this!!

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