The Los Angeles Dodgers finalized its coaching staffs for all Minor Leagues affiliates, with plenty of turnover taking place throughout the entire organization. That especially holds true for Low-A Great Lakes, which will have a new manager at the helm for the 2018 season in John Shoemaker.
Shoemaker replaces former manager Jeremy Rodriguez, who led the Loons to a 69-70 record last season. Rodriguez does remain in the Dodgers organization, as he took on a new role as manager for Rookie-level Ogden.
Joining Shoemaker on the coaching staff is Bobby Cuellar, who will serve as the club’s pitching coach. Jair Fernandez will also return as hitting coach, while Seth Conner, a newcomer in the organization, will serve as the assistant coach.
The 61-year-old Shoemaker returns to the Loons for his second stint as the team’s manager, having previously filled the role from 2011-13. He held the same position for the Rookie-level Arizona League Dodgers last season, in which he propelled them to an impressive 37-19 record.
Shoemaker becomes the Loons ninth manager since the team’s inception and their sixth in six seasons. The 2018 season will mark Shoemaker’s 42nd in the organization and his 25th as a Minor League manager.
Drafted by the Dodgers in the 35th round of the 1977 draft, Shoemaker has remained with the organization ever since, with stops as a player (1977-80), manager, coach and coordinator. In 2015, he was additionally appointed as the Dodgers’ “Captain” of Player Development.
Cuellar enters his fourth season with the organization and returns for his second stint with Great Lakes as pitching coach (2016), after spending the past season with Ogden.
Fernandez returns as Loons hitting coach for the second consecutive season, which will also mark his third overall season in the Dodgers organization.
Conner, at just 25-years-old, will complement Shoemaker as the club’s assistant coach. He previously saw time as a player in the Toronto Blue Jays organization and posted a .244 batting average with six home runs and 76 RBI in 187 career games.