DUNEDIN, FL- The Toronto Blue Jays have announced the on-field coaching staff for the Dunedin Blue Jays 2021 season. Luis Hurtado named Manager in the Blue Jays system for the third straight season, first in 2019 with the Bluefield Blue Jays and last season with the Lansing Lugnuts before the
DUNEDIN, FL- The Toronto Blue Jays have announced the on-field coaching staff for the Dunedin Blue Jays 2021 season. Luis Hurtado named Manager in the Blue Jays system for the third straight season, first in 2019 with the Bluefield Blue Jays and last season with the Lansing Lugnuts before the season was canceled. Matt Young returns as the Dunedin Hitting Coach, holding the same position in 2019. Pitching Coach Phil Cundari begins his first season as a coach in the system, joining the organization in 2020 to be the Pitching Coach for the previous Low-A Lansing Lugnuts. George Carroll will serve as the position coach in 2021 after working in the Gulf Coast League in 2019. Drew Hayes begins his first season on a coaching staff in the Blue Jays organization as a Development Coach. Roelvis Vargas joins Dunedin as the Athletic Trainer from the Dominican Summer League Blue Jays in 2019, and Matt Hunter comes to Dunedin as the Strength and Conditioning Coach. Rounding out the staff, Lauren Poole is named the Dietitian, and Ben Freakley is set to serve as the Mental Performance Coach.
Luis Hurtado takes over as manager for the 2021 season set to be the first Manager for the Dunedin Blue Jays at the newly renovated TD Ballpark, which opened for the 2020 Toronto Blue Jays Spring Training season. Hurtado’s last managing stop came in 2019 where the Bluefield Blue Jays finished the season 31-36 for fourth in the Appalachian League East Division.
As the Manager, his team hit for a .266 average, a .349 OBP, and finished with 58 home runs. The pitching staff ended the season with a 4.88 ERA, a .266 opponent batting average, and 519 strikeouts. The Maracay, Venezuela native last played catcher for the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s, as a part of the Toronto Blue Jays system. In total, Hurtado played seven seasons in the Minors finishing with a career .229 AVG. in 129 games played. He played a total of four games in his career with the Dunedin Blue Jays, most recently in the 2011 season.
Matt Young returns to Dunedin serving as the Hitting Coach for the second consecutive season due to the 2020 canceled season. Young’s hitting instruction led to one of the best lineups in the Florida State League of 2019. The team hit 76 home runs with 557 RBI and a team OPS of .710. The 2019 Dunedin Blue Jays also finished first in the FSL in runs scored (609), 2B (220), RBI (557), OBP (.339), and OPS (.710). Young played 25 games in the Majors, one season with the Atlanta Braves and five games with the Detroit Tigers.
Pitching Coach Phil Cundari comes to Dunedin for his first year in the coaching ranks. Cundari is a native of Cliffside Park, New Jersey, and he most recently coached at Rutgers University as the pitching coach in 2019. He was named the National Pitching Coach of the Year in 2011 when he coached at Seton Hall for 17 seasons. In his time with Seton Hall, Cundari saw 28 of his pitchers be signed by a Major League Baseball organization. The pitching coach was selected in the 4th round by the Oakland Athletics in 1985, but his career was cut short due to arm injuries. Off the field, he is a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in mental toughness training for athletes.
Position Coach George Carroll enters his third season of coaching in the Blue Jays’ organization beginning in the Gulf Coast League. Carroll took on a coaching role after two years playing in the Blue Jays system and one season in the Independent Atlantic League for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. He has focused mostly on instruction with the catchers in the system after playing catcher his whole career before retiring from baseball.
Development Coach Drew Hayes is originally from McKenzie, Tennessee. Hayes was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 11th round of the 2010 MLB Draft out of Vanderbilt University. He pitched in the Majors during the 2016 season. Previously worked at Trinity Christian Academy where he coached baseball and football while teaching English and Government. He will be instrumental in helping players develop through data and analytics.
Roelvis Vargas begins his third season with the Toronto Blue Jays as the Athletic Trainer, previously working with the Dominican Summer League Blue Jays in 2019.
Matt Hunter comes to Dunedin as the Strength and Conditioning Coach after originally being assigned to coach with the Vancouver Canadians in 2020.
Lauren Poole is entering her third season with the Blue Jays, and first in Dunedin as the Dietitian. She grew up in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from the University of North Texas while playing softball. She went on to study at the University of Oklahoma and obtained a master’s degree in dietetics.
Ben Freakley is the Head of Mental Performance with the Toronto Blue Jays working out of the Player Development Complex on Garrison Road. Freakley holds a masters’ degree in Sport Psychology and Sport Management from Georgia Southern University
The Dunedin Blue Jays are the Low-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays and a member of the Low-A Southeast League. The Blue Jays open the 2021 season on the road for a five-game series against the Tampa Tarpons at George Steinbrenner Field beginning on Tuesday, May 4th.