When the Arizona Fall League announced its team structure and staffs for the 2013 season on Tuesday, a very familiar name was listed as the manager of the Salt River Rafters – Springfield Cardinals skipper Mike Shildt.
With Shildt nominated by the St. Louis Cardinals organization, they are understandably pleased with the choice.
“We’re excited that Shildty is getting this well-deserved opportunity,” said Cardinals director of minor league operations John Vuch. “He’s done a tremendous job working with our players during his time with us."
Shildt has led his Cardinals charges to three league titles in the last three years, including the Cardinals’ first-ever Texas League championship in 2012. The 44-year-old’s Johnson City Cardinals won back-to-back Appalachian League crowns in 2010 and 2011. Those clubs tied and set regular-season win records and brought home the first titles to the Tennessee town since 1976.
Teaching remains a key element of the DNA of The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com’s Cardinals Minor League Manager of the Year for 2012. Shildt had previously served as Cardinals minor league spring training and extended spring training coordinator. He was also named the 2010 winner of the George Kissell Award, voted upon by his peers among the Cardinals minor league field staff for excellence in player development.
"We know he’ll represent the Cardinals extremely well in this role, as he is entrusted with working with the prospects from several different organizations," Vuch said. "It will be a great experience for Mike, and the players will benefit from getting the chance to work with him in the AFL."
Along with St. Louis Cardinals prospects in the 2013 AFL, Shildt will lead young players from four other organizations - the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays. The Rafters hitting coach will be Ozzie Timmons of Montgomery (Double-A, Rays), with Darryl Scott of Tulsa (Double-A, Rockies) serving as pitching coach.
The annual prospect showcase is scheduled to get underway on Tuesday, October 8 with six teams playing at five MLB spring training sites in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The Rafters will play their home games at the Diamondbacks’ and Rockies’ spring base, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. That state-of-the-art facility opened in 2011.
The league's daily schedule should be released in early August, followed by rosters later in the month. The annual Fall Stars Game will be played Saturday, November 2 with the league championship contest scheduled Saturday, November 16.
As always, The Cardinal Nation and Scout.com will provide full coverage of the 2013 AFL to subscribers, including eyewitness reports, interviews, photo and video.
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Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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