CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs today announced their minor league coordinators for the 2020 season.
Chris Valaika returns for his second season as minor league hitting coordinator after serving as Triple-A Iowa’s assistant hitting coach in 2018. Now in his fourth year as a coach or coordinator in the Cubs system, Valaika had a 10-year playing career, including parts of four seasons in the majors with the Reds (2010-11), Marlins (2013) and the Cubs (2014). Valaika was selected by Cincinnati in the third round of the 2006 Draft out of the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Casey Jacobson is the organization’s coordinator of pitching development. He is an instructor at Driveline Baseball in Kent, Wash., and in 2019 was an assistant coach at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, S.D., following five seasons as the pitching coach for Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. The former pitcher began his collegiate playing career at St. Mary’s in Winona, Minn., before he transferred to Augustana for two seasons and then pitched for Roswell in the independent Pecos League in 2013. He graduated from Augustana University with a B.S. in Physics.
James Ogden joins the organization as coordinator of pitching performance following seven seasons as pitching coach for Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., where he helped the team to the 2015 Atlantic Sun championship. He graduated from Lipscomb with a B.A. in Oral Communications with a minor in Health in 2008, and earned his Master’s in Education with an emphasis on Instructional Leadership in 2010.
Mark Johnson enters his 10th year in the Cubs system, and his second as catching coordinator, after eight seasons as a minor league manager that included a Midwest League title with Single-A Kane County in 2014 and a Carolina League title with Single-A Myrtle Beach in 2015. Johnson played 17 seasons (1994-2010), including 332 major league games with the White Sox (1998-2002), Oakland (2003), Milwaukee (2004) and St. Louis (2008).
Doug Dascenzo is in his sixth year as the organization’s minor league outfield and baserunning coordinator, bringing with 21 years of coaching experience. He played parts of seven seasons in the majors, including five with the Cubs (1988-92). He coached in the Padres system from 1999-2011, including six seasons as a minor league manager, before coaching in the Braves system from 2012-14, including third base coach for the big league team in 2014.
Jonathan Mota starts his second year as minor league infield coordinator, and his fifth season as a coach or coordinator with the organization. He in 2018 managed the Rookie League Mesa 2 squad following coaching duties with Single-A South Bend in 2017. Mota played in the Cubs system from 2004-15 after he was originally signed by the club in August of 2003.
Dave Keller begins his 17th year in the organization and his sixth as minor league Latin America field coordinator. He brings with 35 years of minor league coaching and managerial experience, and managed three clubs to championship series appearances, including a Florida State League title with Single-A Daytona in 2013. The former first baseman played in the Reds chain for three seasons (1982-84) after Cincinnati selected him in the 28th round of the 1982 Draft.
Tom Beyers starts his 21st season in the Cubs organization and his sixth as assistant coordinator, hitting development. He joined Chicago in 2000 following 21 seasons in the Dodgers minor league system as a player, coach and manager. Beyers managed nine seasons in the Dodgers and Cubs chains, and he led Single-A Boise to a Northwest League title in 2004. Beyers, a former outfielder, was selected by the Dodgers in the 15th round of the 1979 Draft.
Steven Pollakov is in his first season as Dominican hitting analytics coordinator. He most recently served as a hitting apprentice in the Houston Astros farm system in 2019, integrating technology and biometrics into hitting programs. In 2018, he served as catching coordinator in the Boston Red Sox Dominican Republic Academy. Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2016 by the Chicago White Sox, Pollakov is a graduate of Buffalo Grove High School in Illinois.
Mike Mason is in his 13th year in the system and his first as assistant coordinator, pitching performance, bringing with over 25 years of coaching experience. He served as Triple-A Iowa’s pitching coach from 2008-13 after serving four seasons as the Royals minor league pitching coordinator from 2004-07. Mason played seven major league seasons with Texas (1982-87), the Cubs (1987) and Minnesota (1988), posting a 29-39 record with a 4.53 ERA.
Carlos Chantres is in his second season with the organization, and his first as assistant coordinator, pitching development after spending 2019 as assistant pitching coordinator. The 2020 season will be his 15th as a coach, coordinator or special assistant. He spent two years with Atlanta, including as a special assistant to player development in 2018, after stints coaching in the Tigers (2015) and Mariners (2016) chains. Chantres spent nine seasons coaching in the Yankees system (2006-14) after 12 minor league seasons (1994-2005) pitching with the White Sox (1994-2000), Brewers (2001), Devil Rays (2002) and Phillies (2004-05) organizations.
Josh Zeid is in his second season as rehab pitching coordinator following a nine-year pitching career that included 48 major league relief appearances with Houston in 2013-14. Originally selected by the Phillies in the 10th round of the 2009 Draft out of Tulane University, the righthander went 46-29 with a 4.39 ERA (317 ER/650.0 IP) in 291 career minor league contests (70 starts) in the Philadelphia (2009-11), Houston (2012-14), Detroit (2015), Mets (2016) and St. Louis (2017) farm systems.
David Da Silva starts his third year as coordinator, mental skills after nine years as a mental conditioning consultant for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from New Hampshire College/Southern New Hampshire University in 2000 and earned a Master of Science in Movement Science from Barry University in 2003.
Javier Guerrero is in his first season as coordinator, mental skills and his sixth season in the organization. He spent 2018-19 as a minor league mental skills assistant following three seasons as a Dominican Republic video operations assistant. He graduated with a B.S. in Clinical Psychology from the Universidad Iberoamericana in 2006 and earned his graduate certificate in International Family & Community Studies from Clemson University in 2007.
Cory Kennedy joins the organization as head of strength and conditioning and performance science. He earned his degree in Physical Education and Health at the University of Toronto. He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and completed his Master of Science of Exercise Science with a focus on strength and conditioning from Edith Cowan University in Australia.
Doug Jarrow is in his 13th season in the organization and his first as rehabilitation strength and conditioning coordinator following 12 seasons as minor league strength and conditioning coordinator. He worked in the Dodgers system from 2003-07, including 2006-07 as the major league strength coach. Jarrow began his career as a minor league strength and conditioning coach with Tampa Bay in 1998 and Pittsburgh in 1999.
Mike McNulty is in his seventh year with the Cubs and his first as minor league training coordinator after two seasons as assistant athletic trainer for Triple-A Iowa. He graduated with a B.S. in Athletic Training from Illinois State University and a M.S. in Athletic Training from the University of Kentucky.
Jon Fierro is in his ninth year with the organization and his second as the club’s assistant training coordinator. From 2012-17 he was an athletic trainer in the system, including 2017 with Triple-A Iowa.