Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Joel Skinner back, as Charlotte Knights' coaching staff remains largely intact

The Chicago White Sox announced their 2015 player development staff on Wednesday afternoon and although several lower-level farm teams will be getting used to new faces, the Charlotte Knights’ staff from 2014 will remain largely intact. 

Joel Skinner will return for a fourth consecutive season as the Knights’ manager, along with Richard Dotson (pitching coach), Andy Tomberlin (hitting coach), Ryan Newman (bench coach) and Chad Efron (strength and conditioning).

Skinner is the winningest manager in Knights’ franchise history (211) and his four-year run at the helm will also make him the lonest tenured skipper in team history.  

The lone new face in the clubhouse – Scott Johnson (athletic trainer) -- should actually look familiar to long-time Knights’ fans. Johnson spent the past two seasons (2013-14) with Double-A Birmingham, but previously spent 12 seasons with Charlotte from 1999-2010.

“We are very pleased to embark on our second season at BB&T Ballpark in Uptown Charlotte with Joel Skinner returning as our field manager,” Knights Chief Operating Officer Dan Rajkowski said via press release. “Joel’s leadership, experience, and ability to develop future Major League talent have been evident over the past three seasons. We also welcome Richard, Ryan, Andy, Chad, and Scott back to the Knights staff this year.”

The Knights – who had 19 players promoted to the White Sox during 2014 -- finished 63-81 in their return to Charlotte under Skinner’s guidance.

In Skinner’s first season as manager of the Knights, he led the club to an International League Southern Division title (2012). That season, the Knights posted a 83-61 mark -- the club's second highest single season win total in franchise history

Dotson will enter his eighth season as the teams’ pitching coach.

Tomberlin, an alumnus of Piedmont High School, is back for a second consecutive with the club (The Monroe, NC native also spent 2012 as Charlotte’s hitting coach in Fort Mill, SC). Under Tomberlin’s guidance last season, the Knights slugged 176 home runs, which tied with High Desert (California League) for the most in Minor League Baseball.

The likely first chance for Knights’ fans to catch Skinner and company in person will come on Friday, April 3 when the White Sox and Knights will collaborate on a “Leadoff Luncheon” at the Charlotte Convention Center.

Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura, along with Rick Hahn (White Sox Senior Vice President/General Manager), Buddy Bell, (Chicago White Sox Vice President/Assistant General Manager), and members of the 2015 Knights will be on hand to answer questions and sign autographs.

Later on April 3, the White Sox and Knights will play a charity exhibition game at BB&T Ballpark, beginning at 6 p.m.

For a full list of the White Sox 2015 player development staff, click here.  

Note: Former Knights catcher Cole Armstrong will manage the Great Falls Voyagers (the White Sox Advanced rookie affiliate in MT) this year. He hit 10 home runs for Charlotte in 2009.