Myrtle Beach welcomes Bailey back as skipper
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (January 18, 2018) - In conjunction with the Chicago Cubs, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans have announced their on-field staff for the 2018 season. After becoming the 11th minor league manager to ever reach 2,000 victories last year, Buddy Bailey returns as Myrtle Beach's manager for the third consecutive season. The Pelicans' staff will also feature holdovers Anderson Tavarez (pitching coach) and Ty Wright (hitting coach). Carlos Rojas will take over as the club's assistant coach while Logan Severson will serve as the team's athletic trainer and Keegan Knoll will work as the squad's strength coach.
The 2018 campaign will be Bailey's 30th season as a minor league manager, including his 13th with Chicago's organization. According to Baseball Reference, Bailey's 2,003-1,840 (.521) record means the Madison Heights, Va., native is just seven wins away from breaking into the top 10 in Minor League Baseball history. Bailey's tenure in baseball has also included time with the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox organizations.
Bailey steered Myrtle Beach in 2016 to an 82-57 (.590) overall record and the Pelicans' fourth Mills Cup Championship. Myrtle Beach's Carolina League title marked the club's second in as many years, making the Pelicans the first team in the circuit to repeat as champions since the Winston-Salem Spirits, also a Cubs affiliate, did so in 1985-86. It was also the second championship of Bailey career. He also guided the 2011 Daytona Cubs to the Florida State League Championship.
In 2017, Bailey led the Pelicans to the Carolina League's First Half Southern Division title and the club's 11th playoff appearance in the 19-year history of the organization, including their seventh straight. He is 155-124 (.556) during his tenure so far with the Birds.
A 16th-round pick by Atlanta out of Lynchburg College in 1979, Bailey is currently in his third stint in the Carolina League. He spent four seasons as a catcher and first baseman in the Braves' system. Bailey also played part of the 1982 season with the Durham Bulls, then of the Carolina League. He later managed the Lynchburg Red Sox during the 1991 and 1992 seasons, going a combined 144-130 (.526). During his time in the Boston organization, Bailey also earned the 1996 and 2003 International League Manager of the Year awards while with Triple-A Pawtucket.
Entering his 18th season as either a player or coach in the Cubs' organization, Tavarez returns to Myrtle Beach as the club's pitching coach for the third straight campaign. In 2017, he helped the Pelicans' pitching staff finish in the top half of the league in virtually every category, including second in both home runs (88) and walks (430).
A native of Santiago in the Dominican Republic, Tavarez pitched in Chicago's farm system from 2000-05 before working as a pitching coach with the DSL Cubs from 2007-12, rookie-level Mesa Cubs in 2013-14 and Short Season Class A Eugene in 2015. With Myrtle Beach in 2016, Tavarez helped tutor both the Chicago Cubs and Carolina League Pitcher of the Year Trevor Clifton , with the staff leading the circuit in several categories.
Myrtle Beach's assistant coach a year ago, Wright transitions into a hitting coach role with the Pelicans in 2018. This season will mark his 11th as either a player or coach in Chicago's organization. Originally drafted by the Cubs in the seventh round of the 2007 draft out of Oklahoma State University, Wright enjoyed a seven-year playing career in Chicago's system, reaching as high as Triple-A Iowa. He batted .292/.352/.429 with 60 home runs and 381 RBIs in 724 games from 2007-2013 before playing with the independent Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League in 2014, when he hit .265/.328/.399 with 13 homers and 64 RBIs in 112 contests.
The infield coach for the DSL Cubs in each of the last two seasons, Rojas joins Myrtle Beach's staff as the club's assistant coach in 2017. His coaching odyssey with the Cubs' organization started with the VSL Cubs in 2015.
Born in Nueva Esparta in Venezuela, Rojas enjoyed a 10-season playing career in the minors from 2003-2012 in the Cubs, Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians' organizations. The former infielder reached as high as Triple-A Iowa and Norfolk (Baltimore), posting a career .223 average in 987 games. He was originally signed by Chicago as a non-drafted free agent in 2001.
Severson enters his third season as a trainer in the Cubs' system and first with Myrtle Beach. The native of Morris, Ill., served in the same role during the last two seasons with Low-A South Bend, as well as the 2015 campaign with Short Season Class A Eugene. He began his professional career as an intern with Triple-A Iowa in 2012 before working as a graduate assistant athletic trainer while earning his master's degree at Western Illinois University from 2013-15.
Knoll joins the Cubs' organization after working as an assistant strength and conditioning coach with Long Beach State University (Calif.) since 2013. A graduate of the University of Illinois in 2012, Knoll worked with several of the Long Beach State's athletic teams. He also boasts experience that includes stints at the University of Illinois-Chicago and Athletes' Performance - LA, where he worked with the MLS Cup Champion LA Galaxy.