CHARLESTON, S.C. - Following the new managerial appointment of Julio Mosquera to Charleston, the New York Yankees have announced the RiverDogs' full on-field staff for 2018, naming returner Justin Pope the pitching coach for the third consecutive season, and appointing Scott Seabol as the RiverDogs' new hitting coach.
The Charleston staff will look to build on back-to-back playoff seasons for the RiverDogs, who have seen some of the premier talent in the Yankees system, recently rated the second best farm system in the game heading into 2018 by Baseball America, suit up in Charleston to go along with the on-field success.
Under the tutelage of Pope, the RiverDogs pitching staff has produced two of their most dominant seasons on the mound in team history. The RiverDogs set the franchise's strikeout record in back-to-back years with Pope on staff, including an unprecedented 1,252 whiffs in 2017; the Dogs have led the South Atlantic League in ERA each season, as well. Along with that success, the 38-year-old pitching guru has excelled in moving players up the ladder, seeing at least 14 different hurlers garner promotion to the next level each season under his tenure.
"Justin Pope does an outstanding job with the development of our young pitchers on and off the field. We are excited to have him back in Charleston for the 2018 season," said Eric Schmitt, Yankees Director of Minor League Operations.
Pope came to Charleston by the way of the Appalachian League where the West Palm Beach, Fla. native led the rookie ball Pulaski Yankees to a league best 3.08 staff ERA in 2015. He served as the manager of Staten Island from 2012-13 with the Baby Bombers, compiling a 64-86 record under his tenure. He previously worked on the Double-A Trenton Thunder staff as the pitching coach in 2011 after beginning his coaching career with Staten Island as the pitching coach in 2010.
Originally selected as the 28th overall pick by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft, Pope accrued a 38-34 record with a 3.34 ERA over eight minor league seasons with the Cardinals (2001-03), Yankees (2003-07), and Phillies (2008), reaching as high as Triple-A. He was a 2001 All-American with the University of Central Florida and an inductee into the Knight's Athletic Hall of Fame.
A newcomer to the RiverDogs staff, Seabol enters his second season with the Yankees. Originally an 88th round pick by New York in 1996 out of West Virginia University, Seabol's pro career was highlighted by 60 Major League games with the Yankees (2001) and Cardinals (2005).
"Scott joined us last year in Pulaski for his first year of professional coaching," remarked Schmitt. "We look forward to Scott bringing his knowledge of the game to our players and staff after many years in professional baseball as a player."
Seabol made history as the lowest-drafted player to ever appear in a Major League game when pinch hit for David Justice on April 8, 2001 against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. It would take four more years until Seabol got his next shot, now with the Cardinals, when produced his first big league hit and played in 59 games that season as a reserve infielder for St. Louis.
Over his minor league career, the Pennsylvania native was a .287 hitter with 181 home runs in over 1,000 career games spanning 12 seasons with the Yankees (1996-02), Brewers (2003), Cardinals (2003-05), and Marlins (2006-07). He ended his pro career with stints in Korea (2006) and Japan (2008-09).
Other appointments to Mosquera's 2018 staff include Bronx native and first-time coach Dan Fiorito , who will be the Defensive Coach for the RiverDogs in 2018. Michael Sole, last year's South Atlantic League Athletic Trainer of the Year, will return for his second season in Charleston, while Strength & Conditioning Coach Danny Russo joins the RiverDogs after working on the rookie-level Pulaski staff a year ago. Former RiverDogs front office staffer Harris Seletsky also returns for his third season as the clubhouse manager.
Fiorito, 27 and a local product from the Bronx, played collegiately at Manhattan College before being signed as a non-drafted free agent by his hometown team in 2012. The utility infielder slashed .240/.308/.317 with seven professional homers and 98 RBI in 322 minor league games, all with the Yankees, and reaching as high as Triple-A.
About the RiverDogs
The Charleston RiverDogs, the Class A affiliate of the 27-time World Champion New York Yankees, are Charleston's leader in affordable sports entertainment. Recently recognized with the Bob Freitas Award as the top Class A operation by Baseball America in 2017, the RiverDogs are coming off their most successful season when they welcomed over 300,000 fans through the turnstiles for the first time in franchise history.
RiverDogs season tickets, group tickets, and flex plans, including options to the Riley Park Club, are now available for the 2018 campaign, the club's 25th season as the RiverDogs and their "175th in dog years." Tickets are still available for the 14th annual Hot Stove Banquet & Auction featuring former Atlanta Braves Andruw Jones and Ryan Klesko on Friday, February 2. The RiverDogs begin the season on April 12 when they host the Kannapolis Intimidators at The Joe after a week on the road and an exhibition opener at The Joe on April 3 against Myrtle Beach. Ticket information can be secured by contacting the box office at (843) 577-DOGS (3647) or online at www.riverdogs.com/tickets.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.