BayBears manager, David Newhan
Photo | Lagniappe
One season after being formed, the Mobile BayBears made their presence known in 1998 by winning the first of four Southern League titles. That squad was named Minor League Team of the Year by Baseball America magazine.
A key member of the squad has been called upon to lead the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels into its final season at Hank Aaron Stadium. Former BayBears infielder David Newhan will serve as the team’s manager.
“I’m happy to be here,” Newhan said during the preseason media luncheon. “It is hard to believe it was 21 years ago when we won the title. Time goes by fast.”
This is Newhan’s first managerial position. He spent the last two years as a minor league infield coordinator for the Angels and the two years prior to that as an assistant hitting coach for the Detroit Tigers. The Southern California native had an eight-year Major League career with five different teams.
Newhan spent the entire 1998 season with the BayBears, playing in 121 games. He made his Major League debut for the San Diego Padres the following year.
“The BayBears won 86 games during the regular season in 1998,” said Newhan, whose father, Ross, is a Hall of Fame baseball writer. “I put the challenge for this year’s team to win 90 games.”
Six players on the BayBears’ initial roster are Top 30 prospects in the Angels organization, according to MLB Pipeline. These include outfielder Brandon Marsh (3), infielder Jahmai Jones (4), left-handed pitcher Patrick Sandoval (12), right-handed pitcher Jesus Castillo (23), catcher Jack Kruger (24) and right-handed pitcher Jeremy Beasley (25).
“Some on this club will be in the majors this year,” Newhan said. “My goal is for all of them to move on to [Class AAA] Salt Lake and eventually to Anaheim.”
In a two-year span, 12 former BayBears have made Major League debuts with the Angels. There are also 12 former BayBears on the Angels’ 40-man roster, including former Arizona Diamondbacks prospects Justin Upton and Tyler Skaggs. It was announced at the luncheon that 175 former BayBears have advanced to the big leagues.
The initial 2019 roster also includes the following players: pitchers Jason Alexander, Adrian Almeida, Matt Ball, Dario Beltre, Ryan Clark, Adrian De Horta, Joe Gatto, Max Herrmann, Adam Hofacket, Zack Kelly, Jose Rodriguez, Zac Ryan and Michael Santos; catchers Julian Leon and Roberto Pena; infielders Roberto Baldoquin, Zach Houchins, Connor Justus and Erick Salcedo; and outfielders Brandon Sandoval, Brendon Sanger and Jhoan Urena.
“These guys have been in Arizona for two months,” Newhan said. “They are chomping at the bit to play some games.”
Twenty-one of the players spent time with the BayBears last season. Sanger played in 93 games, more than any returning player. Almeida was second on the 2017 pitching staff with 33 relief appearances, and Rodriguez made a team-high 23 starts.
The BayBears also welcome a new hitting coach in Matt Spring, who had a 12-year professional baseball career. Spring was a fourth-round draft pick by the Tampa Bay Rays and played in 186 Southern League games with Montgomery from 2007-10.
Jairo Cuevas will be the pitching coach. Cuevas played six seasons of affiliated baseball in the Atlanta Braves and Kansas City Royals farm systems, including a short stint in the Southern League with Mississippi in 2008. He has been a pitching coach in the Angels organization since 2015.
Dylan Mazzo is a new member of the Angels organization and will be the BayBears defensive coach. Mazzo has been a college baseball assistant.
Athletic trainer Matt Morrell returns for his third season with the BayBears and fourth with the Angels Double-A affiliate, previously the Arkansas Travelers. Jon Hill will serve as the team’s strength and conditioning coach. Jamie Fox returns as the clubhouse manager.
BallCorps, LLC, the new ownership group that will move the franchise to Huntsville next season, hired Ken Clary as the team’s general manager. He replaces Chris Morgan, who resigned after serving four seasons to pursue other interests. In 2018, Morgan was voted the Southern League’s Executive of the Year.
Clary has spent more than 25 years working in minor league baseball at both the Triple-A and Single-A levels. His most recent position was as a senior vice president for the Bowling Green Hot Rods of the Midwest League.
The BayBears will give away five bobbleheads this season. The list includes former BayBears and current or former Major League players Jake Peavy, Paul Goldschmidt, Justin Upton and Max Scherzer. The fifth bobblehead giveaway will be of the popular mascot Bay B. Bear wearing Mardi Gras attire.
Dates for the bobblehead giveaways are” Goldschmidt on May 11, sponsored by Burger King; Scherzer on May 25, also sponsored by Burger King; Upton on June 8; Peavy on June 22; and Bay B. Bear on July 27.
A special offer this season is the BayBears Pass, a monthly membership ticket plan. For $19.97 per month, fans will receive a general admission ticket to every BayBears game at Hank Aaron Stadium during the month, averaging just $1.43 per game over the 70-game home schedule.
Fans may purchase the BayBears pass by calling 251-572-BEAR (2327) or visiting the Hank Aaron Stadium box office. Print-at-home and mobile ticketing options will be available online through TicketReturn at a later date.
The plan will automatically renew on the first day of every month during the season. Fans may cancel at any time and receive no further charges by contacting the BayBears front office before the next month’s charge is applied. BayBears Pass tickets are only valid for the individual game listed and cannot be exchanged for additional tickets to future games.
The BayBears will host 70 home dates through Labor Day, Sept. 2. In addition to the BayBears Pass, season ticket packages and partial plans are available now, featuring a 7-game plan and a 12-game option that includes tickets to Opening Day, July 4, select fireworks nights and bobblehead giveaway nights.
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