USA Baseball names 2021 Professional National Team Staff

Jerry Weinstein, Dave Wallace, Ernie Young, Darren Fenster, and Roly de Armas complete the Olympic qualifying staff

CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball Professional National Team Manager Mike Scioscia finalized the coaching staff for the 2021 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Baseball Americas Qualification Event for the Games of the XXXII Olympiad Tokyo 2020, the organization announced today. Coaching alongside Scioscia will be Jerry Weinstein (Bench Coach), Dave Wallace (Pitching Coach), Ernie Young (Hitting Coach/First Base), Darren Fenster (Third Base), and Roly de Armas (Bullpen).

Combined, the 2021 staff brings 19 years of playing and coaching experience with Team USA to this year’s Professional National Team, having won five gold medals and five silver medals in their time representing the U.S. Additionally, Young was a member of the gold medal-winning team at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

“I am pleased to welcome Roly de Armas, Darren Fenster, Dave Wallace, Jerry Weinstein, and Ernie Young to the Team USA coaching staff,” said Scioscia, USA Baseball Professional National Team Manager. “The value experience brings to a team cannot be overstated and we have assembled a coaching staff laden with it. Olympic qualifying is unique, so to have two coaches on staff who have been through this process before in Ernie, Jerry, and Roly is invaluable. With that said, the entire coaching staff collectively brings over 100 years of coaching practice to the table and I am thrilled to work with them as we set our sights on the Tokyo Olympic Games.”

Weinstein will serve as the Professional National Team’s bench coach in 2021, marking his fifth time on a Team USA staff in a coaching career that has spanned more than five decades at every level of the game. The American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Famer began his time in the red, white, and blue by helping to guide the 1987 Collegiate National Team to silver medals in the X Pan American Games and the VIII Intercontinental Cup before serving as an assistant coach for the 1992 Olympic Team, the 1995 Collegiate National Team, and the 1996 Olympic Team. As part of those staffs, Weinstein helped lead Team USA to an Olympic bronze medal at the Atlanta 1996 Games and a National Baseball Congress World Series gold medal in 1995. Weinstein also managed Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic (WBC) qualifier, leading the team to its first WBC appearance after finishing the qualifier with a perfect 3-0 record.

He began his coaching career in 1966 and took over as the Sacramento City College manager in 1974, where he led the program to a National Community College Championship in 1998, 16 league championships, two state titles (1988 & 1998), and compiled a 831-208 record in 23 years at the helm. Weinstein then moved to professional baseball where he managed teams in the Washington Expos and Chicago Cubs organizations before serving as the Director of Player Development for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2000-2001 and working as an assistant coach at Cal Poly from 2001-2005. In 2007, he joined the Colorado Rockies organization where he served in many roles at various levels of the organization until 2018, including catching coach and offensive coordinator for the major league club from 2012-2014, as well as manager of the Modesto Nuts (2007-2011) and the Hartford Yard Goats (2017). He then served as the Rockies’ Player Development and Scouting Special Assistant in 2018 and earned the Baseball America Tony Gwynn Lifetime Achievement Award the same year.

Weinstein was inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame in 2009 and received the ABCA/Wilson Lefty Gomez Award in 2020 for contributions to the game locally, nationally, and internationally. He is also a member of the Sacramento City College Athletics Hall of Fame, the California Community College Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, and the Sacramento Baseball Hall of Fame. 

Wallace will make his Team USA debut as the pitching coach for the Professional National Team this summer. Wallace has spent 47 years in professional baseball, spanning nine professional franchises in various positions among the minor and major league levels. After a Hall of Fame career at the University of New Haven, he spent nine years as a pitcher in the professional ranks, playing for both the Philadelphia Phillies and the Toronto Blue Jays until 1978. Wallace began his coaching career in 1981 with the Vero Beach Dodgers and spent the next 14 years coaching in the minor leagues before being named the pitching coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1995.

Wallace went on to be the pitching coach for the New York Mets (1999-2000), Boston Red Sox (2003-2006), Houston Astros (2007), and the Baltimore Orioles (2014-2016), working with pitchers such as Pedro Martinez and Hideo Nomo, among others. He also held numerous executive positions within professional baseball throughout his career with the Atlanta Braves, Dodgers, Mets, and Seattle Mariners. Wallace most recently spent four years with the Braves as a special assistant to pitching (2016) and the director of pitching for Atlanta’s farm system (2017-2020). 

Olympic gold medalist Young will serve as the hitting and first base coach for the 2021 Professional National Team following an accomplished playing and coaching career with Team USA spanning 22 years. A member of the gold medal-winning Sydney 2000 Olympic Games team, he also played on the Professional National Team again in 2003. Young spent eight years playing in the major leagues for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, and Oakland Athletics between 1994 and 2004. He remained involved with Team USA after the Sydney Olympic Games by joining its Board of Directors in 2003 and eventually serving as a hitting coach for three national teams and managing the 2010 and 2011 Professional National Teams. With Young on the staff, Team USA amassed an overall record of 47-15-2 and won a world championship in 2009.

Fenster will make his Team USA debut in 2021 as the third base coach for the Professional National Team. He is currently in his third season as the Minor League Outfield and Baserunning Coordinator for the Boston Red Sox and his tenth season overall with the organization, having started as the hitting coach for the Greenville Drive in 2012. He was named manager of Greenville in 2014 and guided the Drive to its first South Atlantic League championship in team history in 2017 before being named the Portland Sea Dogs manager in 2018. Prior to joining the Red Sox, Fenster spent six seasons at his alma mater, Rutgers University, as Director of Operations, Assistant Coach, and Recruiting Coordinator. Additionally, he helped lead the St. Cloud River Bats to the Northwoods League title in 2007 and helped guide the Cape Cod Baseball League’s Orleans Cardinals to a league-best 25-17-2 regular season record in 2008.

As a player at Rutgers, Fenster was a two-time All-American and was named Big East Player of the Year in 2000 before being selected by the Kansas City Royals in the 2000 MLB Draft. He spent five seasons in the Royals minor league system, where he hit .267 with 63 doubles, 179 RBIs, and 215 walks in 438 games, and was named a Carolina League All-Star in 2002 and 2004. In 2008, Fenster was elected to the Rutgers Olympic Sports Hall of Fame. Drawing upon his baseball experiences as both a player and a coach, Fenster provides unique and insightful educational content as a contributor for the USA Baseball Develops Blog. He was named the first-ever USA Baseball Coach Educator of the Year in 2019 for his contributions that assist coaches, parents, and leagues in developing young players and improving their experience within the game of baseball. 

Returning as an assistant coach for the 11th time, de Armas will once again serve as the bullpen coach for Team USA. His first experience with Team USA came in 2006 as an assistant coach for the Olympic Qualifying Team that finished its tournament with a 6-1 overall record and secured Team USA a spot in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. de Armas would return as a coach with USA Baseball in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015, and 2019, winning two World Cup gold medals (2007, 2009), two Pan-American Games silver medals (2011, 2015), one Premier12TM silver medal (2015), and an Olympic bronze medal (2008).

de Armas also spent time as a coach in the Major Leagues with the Chicago White Sox (1995-96) and the Toronto Blue Jays (2000). In total, he has spent 33 seasons as a coach for several Major League Baseball organizations, including the Philadelphia Phillies, where he is currently the manager of the Gulf Coast League Phillies.

Team USA heads into the 2021 WBSC Baseball Americas Qualifier as the top ranked country in the event. The group play-formatted tournament will take place from May 31-June 5 in The Palm Beaches and St. Lucie County, Florida. The U.S. will be joined in Group A by the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Nicaragua, while Group B will consist of Cuba, Venezuela, Canada, and Colombia.

Following group play, the top two finishers from each group will each play two games in the Super Round. Records from the opening round will carry over and the team with the best record will be declared the winner, earning the fifth berth to the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games and joining Japan, Korea, Mexico, and Israel in the event.

The second and third place finishers will qualify for the WBSC Baseball Final Qualifier which is set to take place in June.

The 2021 Olympic Games will mark the first time baseball has been featured in the Games since 2008 in Beijing. Team USA won the bronze medal in that event after defeating Japan, 8-4, and finishing the tournament with a 6-3 overall record.

For more information on USA Baseball and the 2021 Professional National Team, follow @USABaseball on social media or visit USABaseball.com.

COURTESY USA BASEBALL COMMUNICATIONS

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