Coaching Staff Announced for 2020 Loons
Jan. 29, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Matt DeVries
Coaching Staff Announced for 2020 Loons
One returnee, two newcomers bring wealth of baseball experience to Midland
MIDLAND, Mich. – John Shoemaker is set to return for his fifth season as manager of the Great Lakes Loons in 2020. In conjunction with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Loons announce the following coaches will be joining him in the dugout for the upcoming season: Seth Conner as Hitting Coach; Stephanos Stroop as Pitching Coach; Elian Herrera as Bench Coach.
‘Shoe’ is entering his 44th season in the Los Angeles Dodger organization and 27th season as a minor league manager. This summer will be his third consecutive year in the Loons dugout after leading Great Lakes to back-to-back playoff appearances in 2018 and 2019. He previously spent the 2011-12 seasons as Loons manager.
Most recently, Shoe guided the Loons to one of their best seasons in franchise history in 2019, compiling an 81-55 record in the regular season, as well as winning the first half Eastern Division Championship to clinch the Loons’ seventh postseason appearance. He has compiled a 282-277 record in 559 games over four seasons as Loons manager and is the winningest manager in team history. Shoe also became the second manager in franchise history to win Midwest League Manager of the Year in 2019.
SETH CONNER, HITTING COACH
Conner, who turns 28 today, returns to Great Lakes after spending last year as the hitting coach for the Rookie-level Ogden Raptors. The Missouri native got his start in coaching with the Loons in 2018 after playing five minor league seasons in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. He was drafted out of high school in the 41st round of the 2010 MLB Draft and spent 2013 and 2014 in the Midwest League, as a player, as a member of the Lansing Lugnuts. Conner played third base, first base and catcher while posting a .244 batting average with six home runs and 76 RBI in 187 career games.
STEPHANOS STROOP, PITCHING COACH
A relative newcomer to the Dodger organization, Stroop spent last season as the pitching coach with the Arizona League Dodgers and will spend his second season in the minor leagues with the Loons. After getting his master’s degree in sports industry management from Georgetown University, Stroop spent seven years involved in baseball with a variety of organizations. He was an assistant coach with George Washington University (2012-14), an associate scout with the Washington Nationals (2014) and Atlanta Braves (2015-16), as well as a pitching coach with St. Petersburg College (2016-17) and Southern University (2018-19).
ELIAN HERRERA, BENCH COACH
Herrera, 34, returns for his second season with the Dodger organization and his first with Great Lakes. The former infielder played in parts of four Major League seasons from 2012-15, including two seasons with the Dodgers in 2011-12. He hit .253 with eight homers and 55 RBI in 223 big league games.
The support staff that will be traveling to Midland for the season from the Dodgers includes: Daniel Hayes (Performance Coach), Chelsea Willette (Athletic Trainer), Mac Lozer (Development Coach), James McIntyre (Video Associate).
There are a number of former Loons managers and coaches who will work with other Dodgers minor league affiliates during the upcoming season: Jason Bourgeois, 2019 (Single-A Rancho, Hitting Coach); Jair Fernandez, 2017-18 (Rookie AZL, Manager); Jeremy Rodriguez, 2017 (Double-A Tulsa, Assistant Coach); Fumi Ishibashi, 2015-17 (Dominican Summer League, Manager); Bill Simas, 2013-14 (Triple-A Oklahoma City, Pitching Coach).
Some familiar names from recent years have made the jump to Major League Baseball, as well. Most recently, last year’s hitting coach Justin Viele has joined former Dodgers front office member Gabe Kapler as a hitting coach with the San Francisco Giants. Connor McGuinness, who was our pitching coach just three years ago, has joined Dave Roberts in L.A. as the team’s assistant pitching coach. And one name that many fans remember from the 2016 MWL Championship team, Aaron Bates is entering his second season as the Dodgers assistant hitting coach.
The Great Lakes Loons have been the Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers since the team’s inception in 2007. Dow Diamond serves as the team’s home and also houses the Michigan Baseball Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, and ESPN 100.9-FM. For tickets or information about the Loons, call 989-837-BALL or visit Loons.com.