The Tulsa Drillers will head into the 2019 season with the same manager that led the team to its first Texas League Championship in 20 years. Today, the Drillers and Los Angeles Dodgers announced that Scott Hennessey will return as the manager of the Drillers for the upcoming season.
In addition to Hennessey, pitching coach Dave Borkowski, athletic trainer Kalie Swain and performance coach Shaun Alexander will also be back in Tulsa. Newcomers will include hitting coach Adam Melhuse and coach Petie Montero.
The 2019 season will be Hennessey's third in Tulsa. He made his managerial debut with the Drillers in July of 2017 and led the team to a second-half title and eventually to a spot in the Texas League Championship Series where they lost a hard-fought five-game series to Midland.
Last year marked Hennessey's first full season with the club, and he led the Drillers to a 74-65 regular season record and another second-half title. The Drillers again advanced to the Texas League Championship Series where they swept San Antonio in three straight games to claim the franchise's first league title in two decades.
"I am very excited about returning to Tulsa, and I am already looking forward to the start of this season," said Hennessey. "I love the city and the stadium, and Drillers fans are very knowledgeable and create the best atmosphere in the league. There is a lot to be excited about as we will likely open up the season with many of the top prospects in the Dodgers system in Tulsa. I expect the opening roster to include both high-level pitchers and position players."
Since taking over as manager for the Drillers, Hennessey has compiled a 101-78 regular season record. The overall record includes an impressive 61-30 mark at ONEOK Field, a 67% home winning percentage.
Hennessey has also won when it has mattered the most, leading the team to an 11-7 record in the postseason. His championship clinching 11th playoff victory moved him past Bobby Jones for the most postseason wins in team history.
In parts of two seasons with the Drillers, Hennessey has had a number of top prospects under his tutelage. Last year, Dennis Santana and Caleb Ferguson each started the season in Tulsa and made their way to Los Angeles. Ferguson made the National League Division and Championship Series rosters for the Dodgers and compiled a perfect 0.00 ERA in six postseason appearances.
Other highly-touted prospects that have played under Hennessey in Tulsa include Keibert Ruiz, Yusniel Diaz (now with Baltimore), Dustin May and Gavin Lux. All are all listed in the Top 100 prospects in Minor League Baseball according to MLB.com.
Additionally, Will Smith, Mitchell White and D.J. Peters are highly-touted Dodgers prospects that have made their way through Tulsa in Hennessey's time with the Drillers.
Melhuse will assist Hennessey and will replace Terrmel Sledge as the Drillers new hitting coach after Sledge's move to the majors as the new assistant hitting coach for the Chicago Cubs. The 2019 season will mark Melhuse's second year in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. He held the same position last season with Triple-A Oklahoma City.
The former catcher and infielder enjoyed a 17-year professional playing career after being drafted in the 13th round of the 1993 MLB Amateur Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. He appeared in 311 big-league games over eight seasons with Oakland, Colorado, Texas and Los Angeles (NL).
Montero will replace Leo Garcia on the Drillers coaching staff. It will be his third year in the Dodgers organization after serving in the same capacity with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga last season. Montero has also coached for the Rookie-League Arizona Dodgers and the Dominican Summer League Dodgers.
Swain rejoins the Tulsa staff as the club's athletic trainer. It will be her sixth season as a trainer in the Dodgers organization. She spent the 2014-16 seasons with the Great Lakes Loons and the 2017 season with Rancho Cucamonga before coming to Tulsa last season.
Alexander will return to the Tulsa staff as the team's strength and performance coach, his sixth season in the Dodgers organization. Prior to that, he held the same position in the Miami Marlins system from 2012-13.
The Drillers are slated to open the 2019 season on Thursday, April 4 when they host Arkansas at ONEOK Field. The opening homestand will run through April 9 and will include a number of activities and giveaways to honor the 2018 Texas League Championship.
Season memberships are currently on sale through TulsaDrillers.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.