Yesterday we discussed the Dodgers minor league managers for the full season teams. Today we are going to focus on the rookie league managers.
Ogden Raptors – Austin Chubb
Chubb was born in Lake Mary, Florida and attended high school in his home town. Following his graduation, he attended State College of Florida in Bradenton, Florida playing for the Manatees for two years. He then transferred to Florida Southern University for his junior and senior years.
As a junior, he hit .295 with five home runs and 26 RBI. In his senior year, Chubb hit .291 with eight home runs and 33 RBI. He had a team high 17 doubles.Following his senior year with the Moccasins, he was selected by the Washington Nationals in the 21st round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.
Chubb had a four-year minor league career in which he played 91 games and hit .213. On January 6, 2015, he was released by the Nationals and signed by the Dodgers on January 23. Chubb played only 10 games with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in 2016 while spending four stints on the 7-DL list which limited his playing time to that handful of games.
Chubb elected free agency following the 2015 season and was subsequently signed as the hitting coach for the Ogden Raptors of the rookie level Pioneer League.
One can only wonder what it was, or is, that has so quickly entrenched Chubb in the coaching ranks. Perhaps this tweet by then Dodgers Director of Player Development, Gabe Kapler, on Chubb’s one game with the Great Lakes Loons on May 15, 2015 helps answer the question.
“So proud of Austin Chubb. Watching him hit for the Great Lakes Loons is inspiring. Grinder, great teammate, valued in our organization.”
After but one season with the Raptors as a hitting coach he took over as manager of the Dominican Summer League Dodgers 2 for the 2017 season. In doing so he became the first American born manager in the history of the famous Campo Las Palmas. Additionally he guided his DSL to a 6-4 win over the DSL Dodgers 1 to capture the league championship.
He turns to Ogden for the 2019 season, the site of his first coaching assignment, this time as the manager.
Arizona League Dodgers – Jair Fernandez
Fernandez was born in Cartagena, Columbia. He began his baseball career in 2004 as a 17-year-old in the Seattle Mariner system and retired after the 2013 season as a 26-year-old in the Chicago Cub organization.
In 1,451 career at-bats, Fernandez hit .242 with 22 home runs and 179 runs batted in.
The right-handed hitting catcher was signed by the Dodgers as a catching coach with the DSL Dodgers in 2015 and served as a hitting coach in the DSL before moving on to the Loons as a hitting coach for the 2017 and 2018 campaigns.
Fernandez was excited to return to the Midwest League in 2017 because of his familiarity with it. He played for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in 2007 and for the Beloit Snappers in 2008.He knew that at age-26 he was not finished with baseball.
“At the end of my (playing) career, I felt a passion for the game and (a passion) to help people become better players,” Fernandez explained. “(Playing) experience always helps, so that you can approach a (player) and give him an answer. You can see the (potentially) best version of a player. That’s my main goal — just to help people get better.”
He worked well with Loons’ manager Jeremy Rodriguez in 2017 sharing enthusiasm for the game with his manager.
“He has a lot of passion and a lot of energy,” Rodriguez said. “I feel like every day he pushes me to bring all the energy I have and bring the positive vibe and attitude that I need to bring to the ballpark.”
“Every player is different, and his biggest strength is that he actually takes the time to get to know each player so that he can communicate with them,” Rodriguez said.
Following the 2018 season Fernandez served as the manager of the Columbia team in the U-23 Baseball World Cup.
DSL Dodgers 1 (Robinson)- Keyter Collado
Collado was born in Santiago in the Dominican Republic. He played in the Dodgers minor league system from 2006 through 2011. Over 136 minor league games the right-handed hitting catcher posted a triple slash of .301/.384/.369. He struck out 50 times while walking 46. He played one game with the Albuquerque Isotopes in each of 2010 and 2011 with three hits in eight at bats.
His playing career came to a sudden end on May 29, 2011 in his lone game with the Great Lakes Loons. Former Loons play-by-play announcer, Brad Golder, recalls the career ending play vividly. It occurred on the tail end of a triple play. Golder describes the play.
“It started with Joc Pederson catching a fly ball and throwing to second to double off a runner,” he said. “The runner on third broke for home and the throw came to the plate. Our catcher was a guy named Keyter Collado, and it was his first play of his first game with the Loons. “There was a huge collision, but (Collado) held on to the ball. But he was also injured on the play and never played for the Loons again. I don’t think he ever played pro ball again, for that matter.”
Golder was correct. That was Collado’s last professional game as a player at age 25. His home plate collision was four days after Giant catcher Buster Posey’s collision that resulted in new rules to protect catchers.
The next season he became a coach serving as the hitting coach with the DSL Dodgers. He stayed in that role for four years. He was then named manager of the DSL Dodgers 2 in 2016 and DSL Dodgers 1 in 2017 and 2018. His 2017 squad made it all the way to final game in the DSL championship only to lose 6-4 to the DSL Dodgers 2.
DSL Dodgers 2 (Guerrero) – Fumimasa Ishibashi
Fumi Ishibashi was born in Maebashi, Japan and attended Los Angeles Pierce College in Woodland Hills, California.
Fumi had a very short career as a player before becoming a coach with the Dodgers. Primarily a catcher, he played for the Japan Samurai Bears in 2005 hitting .197 in 178 at bats.
In 2007, he was signed by the Rockford RiverHawks from the independent Frontier League but was released prior to the start of the season. He then had two spot performances with the Inland Empire 66ers who were a Dodger affiliate at that time. He played in only two games for the 66ers in 2008, going 0 for 2 at the plate. In 2010, he appeared in one game and went 1-for-4 at the plate. His six minor league at bats were enough to fulfill his dream of playing ball in the United States. In 2010 with the 66ers he was a teammate with current Dodgers Kenley Jansen and Pedro Baez.
His coaching career with the Dodgers began in 2011 when he was 27. He was hired as a bullpen catcher and Japanese language interpreter for the AZL Dodgers. He next became a bullpen coach with the Dodgers in May, 2012. Fumi served in that position for three years and then as a coach with the Great Lakes Loons from 2016 through 2018.
As he begins his managing career, at age 35, with the DSL Dodgers he has brought a boatload of experience with him. Perhaps the most important might have been his experience with Reggie Smith. No doubt the Reggie way of looking after young men away from home and/or country is being passed on by Fumi.
“Reggie Smith was like my dad here in the United States, I was treated like family.” The humble instructor went on to add about Smith, “he showed me how to survive and live in the States.”