AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! That’s the philosophy Amarillo Sod Poodles President and General Manager Tony Ensor used to guide him as he decided to bring back the coaching staff that helped make the Sod Poodles Texas League Champions in their first ever year of existence.
The decision is headlined by bringing back the 2019 Texas League Manager of the Year Phillip Wellman to be at the helm of what can easily be considered an equally talented team as last year’s, if not more so.
Joining Wellman will be Pitching Coach Jimmy Jones and Hitting Coach Raul Padron, who both return to the Sod Poodles organization after a successful 2019 campaign.
“The Padres are ecstatic to return Texas League manager of the year, Phillip Wellman, to HODGETOWN in 2020,” said San Diego Padres Director of Player Development, Sam Geaney in a Sod Poodles press release. “Phillip will lead an exciting team on the field as we look forward to another successful season.”
Wellman led Amarillo with a 72-66 record last year, clinching the third consecutive playoff appearance for a Padres Double-A team. He was aided in his journey with excellent pitching and hitting, featuring numerous top prospects from around Major League Baseball.
Jones enters his 12th season with the Padres this year after leading the Sod Poodles to a 4.45 ERA over 1,216.1 innings pitched. The year includes two league top-10 starters such as Lake Bachar and Jesse Scholtens, as well as rising stars in Major League Baseball such as MacKenzie Gore (named No. 1 in MLB Pipeline’s Top-10 LHP prospects)m Luis Patiño, Ronald Bolaños, and Adrian Morejon.
On the hitting side, Amarillo looks to continue pumping out run production with the help of Padron. The 35-year old returns for his fifth season with the organization and third with the Sod Poodles after the team batted .262 last year (second in the Texas League). The squad produced 664 total runs last year (tied for first in the Texas League) off 139 home runs (third in the Texas League) and 613 RBI (third in the Texas League). The team produced 390 extra-base hits which helped supply plenty of run support and cushion for starting pitchers and the Amarillo bullpen.
The rest of the coaching staff includes Fielding Coach Freddy Flores, Athletic Trainers Drew Garner and Allyse Kramer, and Strength and Conditioning Coach Sam Hoffman.
The Sod Poodles open the 2020 season Thursday, April 9, at Dickey-Stephens Park in Little Rock against the Arkansas Travelers.