Meet the Minor League Managers
As a primer to the upcoming minor league season, here is an in-depth look at the managers of each level of the Cubs’ system.
Marty Pevey, Triple-A Iowa
With a 33-year career of professional baseball, Marty Pevey brings a wealth of knowledge as he enters his third season as the manager of the Triple-A Iowa Cubs.
A catcher for Georgia Southern University, Pevey was drafted in 1982 by the Minnesota Twins in the 19th round. After playing 24 games for Elizabethton of the Appalachian League, Pevey was released by the Twins but quickly signed as a free agent by the St. Louis Cardinals. In 1988, Pevey was traded by the Cardinals as a Double-A player to the Montreal Expos’ organization, where he saw action with the parent club in 1989, batting .220 with a double, a triple, and three RBI in 13 games. An injury sidelined Pevey in 1990, after which he played five more minor league seasons with in the Toronto, Detroit, and Seattle organizations.
The Toronto Blue Jays gave Pevey his first managerial experience, as he was named the skipper of Short Season-A Medicine Hat for the 1996 and 1997 seasons. Pevey was named the Southern Atlantic League Manager of the Year in 1998 when he led the Hagerstown Suns to the playoffs. Pevey’s pitching staff topped the league in ERA as he managed future Major Leaguers Vernon Wells, Michael Young, and Cesar Izturis. The Blue Jays tapped Pevey for their Major League bullpen coach position in 1999, but he was back managing Dunedin in the Florida State League to a championship in 2000. Pevey was also Eastern League Manager of the Year in 2003 with Double-A New Haven, and spent two season managing Triple-A Syracuse.
At the end of the 2005 season, Pevey was named Toronto’s first base coach and remained with the staff until 2008 when he served as third base coach. Pevey was caught up in a general house-cleaning of the Toronto organization after the 2008 season, and signed on to manage the Cubs Low-A Peoria team in 2009. Guiding the Chiefs to a first place finish in the second half, a Peoria team that included RHP Chris Archer, INF/OF Josh Harrison, and three first round draft picks in Ryan Flaherty, Brett Jackson, and Josh Vitters lost in the first round of the playoffs.
Pevey then spent from 2010 to 2012 as the Cubs minor league catching coordinator before being named the Iowa manager in 2013. In two seasons, Pevey has compiled a 140-148 record while assisting in the development of players such as Arismendy Alcantara, Javier Baez, Kyle Hendricks, and Jorge Soler.
Buddy Bailey, Double-A Tennessee
Entering his 36th year of professional baseball, Welby Sheldon “Buddy” Bailey is also beginning his fourth season as manager of the Tennessee Smokies. Selected in the 16th round of the 1979 draft by the Atlanta Braves, Bailey was assigned to Kingsport of the Appalachian League. Primarily a catcher, Bailey played for three more seasons, never rising above the Double-A level. Bailey finished his playing career with a .210 batting average, with six home runs and 45 RBI in 119 games.
The Braves named Bailey the manager of Pulaski of the Appalachian League in 1983, and spent nine years as manager in the Atlanta system. As the skipper of Double-A Greenville in 1988, Bailey won the Southern League championship with a team that included Dave Justice, Mark Lemke, and Kent Mercker. During his time with the Braves organization, Bailey managed future Major Leaguers Steve Avery, Jeff Blauser, Kevin Brown, Vinny Castilla, Ron Gant, and Tom Glavine.
In 1991, Bailey moved over to the Boston Red Sox organization and was named the manager of Lynchburg, winning a division championship in 1992. Bailey was made the manager of the Sox Triple-A team in Pawtucket in 1993 to 2004. Among the Major League players Bailey worked with include Bronson Arroyo, Nomar Garciaparra, Aaron Sele, and Kevin Youkilis. Bailey’s run as the Paw-Sox’s manager was interrupted following the 1996 season as he was an advance scout and minor league coordinator from 1997-99, while serving as the Red Sox’s bench coach in 2000.
Bailey was hired by the Cubs organization as a roving minor league catching instructor before being named manager of High-A Daytona in 2006. Bailey had stints as manager of Triple-A Iowa and Double-A Tennessee before returning to Daytona in 2009. In 2011, Bailey’s D-Cubs won the Florida State League Championship with present day Major League Cubs Welington Castillo and Junior Lake, along with such players as Jeff Beliveau, Justin Bour, Zac Rosscup, Matt Szczur, and Logan Watkins. For the 2012 season, Bailey was promoted to Tennessee and has reached the playoffs each of the last two seasons.
Since 2002, Bailey has also managed the Aragua Tigers of the Venezuelan Winter League. Bailey has worked with numerous major and minor league players, including present Cubs prospects Willson Contreras and Jae-Hoon Ha.
Mark Johnson, High-A Myrtle Beach
Yet another former catcher, Mark Johnson is beginning his 22nd year in professional baseball in 2015 as the manager of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.
Johnson was drafted in the first round by the Chicago White Sox in 1994 and had a 14-year minor league career, batting .252 with 39 home runs, and 363 RBI. In an eight-year Major League career as a back-up catcher for the White Sox, Athletics, Brewers, and Cardinals, Johnson had a career .218 average with 18 home runs and 83 RBI in 332 games.
In 2011, Johnson retired as a player and was signed as the manager of Short Season-A Boise, replacing Cubs favorite Jody Davis. Johnson was an immediate hit, guiding the Hawks to the first of a four year playoff run. Johnson shepherded the 2012 Boise team that included present top 20 prospects Albert Almora, Jeimer Candelario, Pierce Johnson, Bijan Rademacher and Dan Vogelbach to the Northwest League Championship Series, falling just short. The following year, Johnson joined his crew as they were all promoted up a level to Low-A Kane County.
The 2013 season was a trying experience for both the Cougars and Johnson, as his young and inexperienced team met up with the more seasoned players of the Midwest League. The result was a dismal 55-80 finish. Johnson was given a new crew in 2014, one that once again challenged form the Northwest League title in 2013. This time, Johnson and the Cougars were ready as they ran roughshod through the Midwest League, guiding Kane County to the best record in the league and undefeated through the playoffs as the champions. Among the top prospects Johnson managed included Paul Blackburn, Victor Caratini, Candelario, Johnson, Kyle Schwarber, Daury Torrez, Jen-Ho Tseng and Duane Underwood.
Jimmy Gonzalez, Low-A South Bend
In his second year as a manager, Jimmy Gonzalez brings a wealth of experience as he moved up the ranks to pilot the SB Cubs this season.
Selected by the Houston Astros in the first round of the 1991 draft as a catcher, Gonzalez spent a 14-year career as a player in the minors. With stops in the Padres, Mets, and Expos organizations along with the Astros, Gonzalez compiled a lifetime batting average of .229 with 73 home runs and 346 RBI. Following his career as a player, Gonzalez opened his own business as a private baseball instructor.
In 2013, Gonzalez was hired as a hitting instructor based on his familiarity with the Cubs’ Vice President for Player Development Jason McLeod. Both McLeod and Gonzalez were teammates in 1991 on the Gulf Coast Astros before McLeod ended his playing career to pursue a front office position. Gonzalez was promoted to manager of the AZL Cubs of the Arizona Rookie League in 2014. Gonzalez worked with many of the players expected to be a part of the 2015 South Bend team, as well as top 20 prospects Eloy Jimenez, Carson Sands, and Jake Stinnett.
Gary Van Tol, Short Season-A Eugene
Returning for his third season as manager for the Cubs’ Short Season-a team, Gary Van Tol moves west to steer the Emeralds to hopefully a Northwest League playoff appearance.
A native of Alberta, Canada, Van Tol played third base for the Canadian National team in 1990-91. Van Tol then received an offer to play professionally with Neptunus in the Netherlands while also an assistant coach for his alma mater, Gonzaga University. In 1996, Van Tol coached for the Great Britain national team in the European championship. Van Tol has also been the head baseball coach at Centralia College (1994-95) and Treasure Valley Community College (1996-2002). From 2003 to 2005, Van Tol was an assistant baseball coach at the University of Portland before returning to Gonzaga as an assistant from 2006 to 2007.
In 2008, Van Tol was hired as an assistant coach for the Boise Hawks, serving as bench coach until being promoted to manager in 2013. Van Tol was able to guide the Hawks to the Northwest League Championship series while working with top 20 prospects Paul Blackburn, Kris Bryant, and Duane Underwood. Van Tol once again had to deal with the media circus that goes with a first round draft pick in 2014 and skippered Boise to another playoff appearance. Among players Van Tol worked with included top 20 prospects Kyle Schwarber, Jake Stinnett, Gleyber Torres, and Mark Zagunis.
Van Tol has been adept at keeping his teams focused despite outside distractions and roster that is always in flux due to promotions.
Carmelo Martinez, Arizona Rookie League Cubs
Carmelo Martinez enters his 18th season in the organization, and begins his second stint as manager with Mesa after serving in the role from 1999-2003, and again in 2006. Among some of the Major League players Martinez helped to develop include Al Alburquerque, Welington Castillo, Ronny Cedeno, Marwin Gonzalez, Carlos Marmol, Geovany Soto, and Dontrelle Willis.
Martinez was signed by the Cubs in 1979 and had an eight year minor league career as an outfielder, first baseman, and third baseman batting a total of .276 with 98 home runs and 385 RBI. The Cubs promoted Martinez to the majors in 1983 to begin a nine-year career. Martinez was traded by the Cubs to San Diego in late 1983, and also played for the Phillies, Pirates, Royals, and Reds. The Major League totals for Martinez are a .245 batting average with 108 home runs and 424 RBI.
Martinez has a career record of 159-185 (.462) as Mesa’s manager. Martinez previously served as the Cubs Latin America field coordinator for six seasons, and was Minor League Hitting Coordinator for Short Season-A, Rookie and DSL prior to this assignment.
Minor League Previews
Five Minor League Players to Watch
- Rookie and Short Season-A Ball – Down on the Farm Report – 02/23/15
- Low-A South Bend and High-A Myrtle Beach – Down on the Farm Report – 03/02/15
- Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa – Down on the Farm Report – 03/09/15