STATE COLLEGE - Former St. Louis Cardinals farmhand and second-year minor league manager Oliver Marmol will lead the State College Spikes 2013 coaching staff, Cardinals Farm Director John Vuch announced today. Marmol will be joined on the Spikes' bench by pitching coach Dernier Orozco, hitting coach Ramon Ortiz and head athletic trainer Dan Martin.
Marmol, 26, made his professional managerial debut in 2012 with the rookie-level Johnson City (TN) Cardinals and led the club to the Appalachian League playoffs, one of three St. Louis affiliates to reach post-season play last season. His debut as a skipper in the Cards' farm system came just one year removed from his first coaching job, working as the hitting coach with the rookie Gulf Coast League Cardinals in 2011.
A former middle infielder in the Cardinals minor league system, Marmol was drafted in the sixth round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft out of the College of Charleston in South Carolina. He made his professional playing debut with the New York-Penn League's Batavia Muckdogs in 2007.Among his 33 games with Batavia that summer included two at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park against the Spikes, making him the first manager in State College history to have appeared in a game at the Spikes home ballpark. Marmol went on to play four seasons in the Cardinals player development system, reaching High Class-A Palm Beach in 2010 before transitioning to a minor league instructor.
“We made an effort in the last few years to identify Cardinals players who we felt would make good coaches or managers, and Oli is a perfect example of what we wanted to accomplish," said Vuch. "In a very short period of time, he has displayed tremendous baseball knowledge and expertise, but equally important is the leadership that he exhibits. We’re excited to have Oli managing the Spikes and know that he’ll do an outstanding job representing the Cardinals and leading our young players.”
Orozco returns to the New York-Penn League after spending last summer as pitching coach at Batavia, the Cardinals' previous Short-Season Class-A affiliate. The Muckdogs pitching staff posted a solid 3.08 ERA under Orozco's watch, and issued a league-low 143 walks in 76 games. The 30-year old native of Venezuela is entering his eighth season as a pitching coach in the St. Louis farm system, having spent four of those years mentoring pitchers at the Cardinals' Venezuelan Summer League entry. Orozco played six professional seasons in the Boston Red Sox organization as a right-handed pitcher from 1998-03.
Ortiz, like Marmol, spent the 2012 campaign with the Johnson City Cardinals of the rookie Appalachian League, serving as hitting coach. A veteran hitting instructor, the Venezuela native has spent each of the past 23 seasons as a minor league coach, including 14 with St. Louis over two separate stints (2008-present and 1987-95). He has also coached in the New York Yankees (1996-98), Tampa Bay Rays (1999-04) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2005-07) player development systems. An outfield during his playing days, he played five seasons of professional baseball in the Expos and Twins systems.
2013 will mark the first season of a new two-year Player Development Contract (PDC) between the Spikes and Cardinals, which was announced in September. St. Louis served as the Spikes major league affiliate during the club's inaugural 2006 season and that team, managed by current Cardinals minor league roving instructor Mark DeJohn, posted the best single-season record in team history at 39-36. The Spikes spent the past six seasons (2007-12) affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Spikes will open the club's 2013 New York-Penn League schedule on Monday, June 17 with a 7:05 p.m. game against the Williamsport Crosscutters (Philadelphia Phillies) at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. The Spikes will host 38 nights of fun, affordable family entertainment and future Major League Baseball stars in action between June 17 and August 30. Season Tickets, Mini-Plans, Flex Books and a variety of group and hospitality options are currently available for the 2013 season and can be purchased by calling (814) 272-1711 . Additional club ticket information, game schedules and team news can be viewed at www.statecollegespikes.com.