JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, the Double-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins, announced on Friday that Randy Ready will serve as the club's manager for the 2018 season presented by Community First Credit Union. Ready returns to Jacksonville after leading the Jumbo Shrimp to the playoffs in 2017, and also returning from last year's staff are pitching coach and Jacksonville native Storm Davis, defensive coach Jose Ceballos, and athletic trainer Cesar Roman. New to the staff for this season are hitting coach and Jacksonville native Kevin Witt, strength and conditioning coach Julio Diaz, and video assistant Daniel Axelrod.
This will be Ready's third season in the Marlins organization, and under his leadership the Jumbo Shrimp won the 2017 Second Half South Division title with a 39-31 record, and a 69-71 record overall.
"I'm looking forward to working with our guys and putting our club together; it's an exciting time to start 2018," Ready said. "I loved the second-half push we had from our players last year, and getting to the playoffs was a big feather in our cap for the organization. I thought the first year of the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp was a success for everyone included."
Prior to joining the Marlins organization with the High-A Jupiter Hammerheads in 2016, Ready spent 2015 coaching the Dallas Tigers Select 16 U team, winning the Perfect Game World Series. In 2013, Ready was the manager of Triple-A Gwinnett in the Braves organization. Prior to that, he was Minor League hitting coordinator for the Texas Rangers in 2012 and was the Major League hitting coach for the San Diego Padres for three seasons (2009-11). He began his coaching career with Detroit as manager of Short-A affiliate Oneonta from 2002-03. He also served as manager in the Padres organization with Triple-A Portland (2008-09), Double-A San Antonio (2007), and Single-A Fort Wayne (2004-06). He reached the postseason in each of his first six years overall as manager, including a Texas League championship in 2007.
A sixth-round draft pick in 1980 by the Milwaukee Brewers, Ready appeared in 777 big league games over parts of 13 Major League seasons with Milwaukee (1983-86), San Diego (1986-89), Philadelphia (1989-91, 1994-95), Oakland (1992) and Montreal (1993) while batting .259 with 40 home runs and 239 RBI.
Davis, a graduate of University Christian High School and a Jacksonville resident in the offseason, led the Jumbo Shrimp pitching staff to a playoff appearance last season. This is his third season in the Marlins organization, beginning as the pitching coach for the Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs in 2016. Davis was previously a pitching coach in the Chicago Cubs organization for three years from 2013-15. He spent the 2014 and 2015 seasons in the Southern League as the pitching coach for the Tennessee Smokies, and was the High-A Daytona Cubs pitching coach in 2013. Davis was also the pitching coach for the Single-A Hickory Crawdads from 2011-12. Davis has also coached in Jacksonville before, serving two stints as the head baseball coach at The Bolles School from 1997-2001 and 2008-09. Davis pitched in the Major Leagues for 13 seasons from 1982-94, and was a member of three World Series clubs, winning it all with the Baltimore Orioles (1983) and Oakland Athletics (1989). He posted a 113-96 record and 4.02 ERA over 442 games (239 starts) in the Major Leagues.
Witt, a graduate of Bishop Kenny High School, is in his first season with Jacksonville and his second season as a coach in the Marlins organization after serving as the hitting coach for the Triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes last year. Prior to joining the Marlins, Witt held the role of Director of Player Development at Marucci Elite Houston. He joined Marucci Elite Houston in November 2012, and worked with players from eight years old to 18. Witt was a first-round selection (28th overall) of the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1994 draft out of Bishop Kenny. He played in parts of five major league seasons with the Blue Jays, Padres, Tigers, and Devil Rays between 1998 and 2006. He also played 12 seasons in the minors between 1994 and 2006, including time in the Southern League in 1997 with the Knoxville (now Tennessee) Smokies, where he hit .289 with 30 home runs and 91 RBI, and he was a 1997 Southern League Postseason All-Star as a utility player. In 2006 with the Durham Bulls he was named the Triple-A All-Star MVP and International League MVP, hitting .291 with 36 home runs and 99 RBI.
Ceballos is in his second season on the Jacksonville staff, and his fourth season overall as a coach in the Marlins organization. Prior to joining Jacksonville's staff in 2017, Ceballos was a coach with the Single-A Greensboro Grasshoppers in 2015 and 2016. Ceballos, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, had a seven-year playing career in the Marlins organization, reaching as high as Double-A with Jacksonville in 2012.
Roman is in his 12th year overall as a trainer in the Marlins organization and fifth season in Jacksonville. Before the Marlins, he worked in the Texas Rangers organization (2003-06). He served as an athletic trainer in the World Baseball Classic for Team Puerto Rico in 2009 and 2013 and for Team Panama in 2006.
Diaz is in his first season as a strength and conditioning coach in the Marlins organization. This is Diaz's sixth year in baseball, and he joins the Marlins after he was the strength and conditioning coach for the rookie-level Danville Braves in the Atlanta Braves organization last season. Diaz was a strength and conditioning coach in the Houston Astros organization from 2013-16. He has served as an athletic trainer with Baseball COLICEBA (PR), the Handball Federation of Puerto Rico and the men's baseball and volleyball teams at the University of Puerto Rico. Diaz received his bachelor of science degree in athletic therapy from the University of Puerto Rico. He is a certified strength and conditioning coach through the NSCA. Diaz is bilingual and is a member of the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee.
Axelrod is in his first season as a video assistant in the Marlins organization. A graduate of Indiana University, Axelrod spent last season as a video intern with the Short-Season Class-A Spokane Indians in the Texas Rangers organization.
UP NEXT: The Jumbo Shrimp open the 2018 season presented by Community First Credit Union on April 5, in Jackson, Tennessee. The 2018 home opener is Wednesday, April 11, at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. Season ticket renewals and new packages for the 2018 season may be reserved with a nonrefundable 25 percent down payment by calling a Jumbo Shrimp account representative at (904) 358-2846 or at the ballpark Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
ABOUT THE JUMBO SHRIMP: The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp offer affordable family fun at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. Their inaugural season garnered the Southern League's Don Mincher Organization of the Year, Promotional Trophy, and Jimmy Bragan Executive of the Year, won by General Manager Harold Craw. To experience the excitement with the terrific value of ticket and group options, call the Jumbo Shrimp at (904) 358-2846 or visit www.jaxshrimp.com.